By on March 16, 2017

Peril Chica checks out a Chevrolet SS, Image: © 2017 Jack Baruth

Today’s Ask Jack, just like the calls in those old teen horror movies, is coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE.

Hey Jack,

I’m a woman in her 30s with four cars — Chevrolet Tahoe Z71, Ford Fiesta ST, Chevrolet C5 Corvette with 421 rwhp and coilovers, as well as an MX-5 Cup race car. The Fiesta was a great car to get started in this automotive hobby but I’m no longer very excited by its performance on or off the racetrack. So I’m looking for a faster, more interesting, more capable car for those off-the-cuff track days where it’s too much hassle to trailer the Cup car or deal with the Corvette’s voracious appetite for tires and brakes.

I’ve been thinking about one of the last six-speed Chevrolet SS sedans. I can get one pretty easily for $38,000 against a sticker of $48,900. But I’ve also been thinking about a Civic Type R. It looks like they will be priced around $35k. I’d get similar performance, although delivered in a very different fashion. But which one is really faster around a track? Which one is more fun to drive? Less hassle to own? A smarter financial proposition? Also, would you mind getting all your BMX bike stuff off the dining room table? Three weeks ago you said you’d have that done by Sunday. Sincerely … the anonymous reader who wishes to be known as, um, “Peril Chica”.

Well, Peril Chica, I’m glad you asked this question! The answer is … Buy a lightly-used Snakeskin Viper ACR. What? You’re not happy with that answer? Alright. Let’s take a serious look at this, and then let’s get the readers involved.


Let’s start by considering the absurdity, and hilarity, of the way these two cars are currently priced. The SS is still taking up room on dealer lots even with a sub-$40k out-the-door cost. The Civic Type R, when it arrives, is likely to cost at least $35,000 and there will be a solid year or so where the additional-dealer-markup stickers to the right of the Monroney have five-figure (on the coasts) or four-figure (in the Midwest) numbers on them. But let’s compress time here and say that you’re looking at $35-40k either way, just to get the purchase price out of the way.

Next, let’s consider performance. The nice people at C/D have the six-speed SS running a 13.0 @ 111 mph. The new Civic Type R will be a 306-horsepower car, and will likely benchmark the Ford Focus RS and Golf R, both of which turn a quarter-mile of about 13.5 @ 105 mph. There’s more gap between these cars and a properly launched Chevrolet SS than the numbers seem to indicate. There truly is no replacement for displacement — not even boost — and the Aussie Chevy has three times as much of it.

Peril Chica isn’t necessarily obsessed with quarter-mile times, however — and either of these cars will seem downright sluggish next to her Corvette. What she wants is a car she can fully exploit on a racetrack like Watkins Glen or Mid-Ohio. And here is where I think the Type ARRRRRRRRRR Pirate Edition will shine. It’s going to have all the proper suspension credentials, to say nothing of a curb weight more than half a ton below that of the SS. It should also be easier to drive hard, since the power goes to the front wheels instead of the rear.

What about running costs and resale value? I think the SS is going to be one of the all-time great residual-value champs, particularly if you’re starting $10,000 below MSRP. But it’s almost impossible to overestimate what the secondary-market interest will be in the Civic Type R. I think either one will be an easy sell 5 or 10 years after the original purchase date, but I’d give the nod to the Civic for absolute value retention. I also think the Civic will be far cheaper to own, operate, and repair.

Let’s talk daily driving. The Civic will be easier to operate in bad weather, and easier to park. It will have more usable cargo space, at the expense of rear-seat room. The SS will be quieter, more relaxing, more of a grown-up’s car. Either one is going to give you plenty of chances to interact with the local street racers and/or the hometown police. Build quality is surely going to be on the side of the Honda, even though it’s assembling the thing in the God-forsaken hamlet of Swindon instead of the tidy, fully-robotized facility at East Liberty, Ohio, where you can eat a hot meal off the floor with no concern and IQS numbers are off the charts in the right direction.

In the end, this has to boil down to what’s a more stirring proposition. Do you want a big, rip-roaring V8 sedan that feels like a rocket-powered locomotive, or do you want a hot hatch with a massive aerokit and a teenaged attitude? If you had to pick one to be your only car, I think I’d have to recommend the SS, no questions asked. Every serious enthusiast who fails to buy one in the next three months or so will come to regret his (or her!) decision.

For Peril Chica, however, the SS will be a watered-down set of thrills compared to her tinnitus-inducing road racer of a ‘Vette. There’s no situation where you would voluntarily drive the SS over the C5, unless you wanted to put people in the back seat. So why not get the car with lower costs and better all-weather, all-around usability? I’m putting in my vote for the Civic Type R. But we run a liberated household around here, and Peril Chica is free to listen to other opinions. What say you?

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118 Comments on “Ask Jack: The Waffen or the Pirate?...”


  • avatar
    ThirdPedal

    If you liked the Fiesta ST, consider the Focus RS. If you like the Corvette, consider a 370Z. Think of it as an 80% Corvette, easier on tires and gas, but powerful and nimble.

  • avatar
    mcs

    I’d look at a Factory Five 818C. It’s beautiful, lightweight, and should be easier on the tires and brakes than the Corvette.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      How is that a replacement for a Fiesta, though? It’s a two seater that needs constant attention to keep running.

      • 0 avatar
        philadlj

        A gently-used Caparo T1, then!

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        @Jack. True. I suppose it isn’t a good replacement for a Fiesta. Actually, I didn’t realize it would require constant attention to keep running. I figured with the Subaru drivetrain it would be somewhat reliable.

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          For a kit car it’s pretty good, and it’s a lot of fun to drive — I actually drove an early production 818R four years ago. But it’s not anything like a real car in terms of how often you’ll be tightening bolts and checking for wear.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            Tightening bolts? That’s good to know. Hadn’t thought of that, but it makes sense. Not sure that’s something I’d want to deal with.

  • avatar

    I still can’t wrap my mind around paying that much for a car that small. Plus, no matter what you do to it under the hood, a Civic is a child’s car.

    SS all the way.

  • avatar
    DudeLebowski

    How does you being a woman have anything to do with the article? Why do you open with “Hi, I’m a woman” – how is the relevant? Are you seeking attention or advice. Either way, I think a european sedan is more your thing.

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      My take is that it’s because typically women don’t give a crap about cars. But Peril Chica is aka Danger Girl, so it’s Jack’s lady.

    • 0 avatar
      redliner

      Because it’s a badge of honor. It’s not enough to be better than other people at something (driving), you have to throw your perceived and real disadvantages in their face. Show them you fought and won! Only then will they recognize how superior you are to them as a human.

      …and because someone will take this WAY too serious… [sarc]

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      Personally, I’m outraged at that opening statement. A public protest is in order. We’ll meet in front of Jack’s house tomorrow. I’ll be the one wearing fishnet stockings.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I know I’ve mentioned wanting to buy one 100 times now, but this weekend I came so tremendously close to buying an SS. It is completely optionless but for the automatic trans. It’s grey and I would have gotten it for $37,300 plus my state taxes since I was out of state. And that was before I even tried to negotiate.

    I almost blurted out “Let’s do it!” but I stopped myself and said I would go grab some lunch and come back. I never went back after determining now’s not the time to be buying anything, despite how good of a deal it would be. So basically, I’m just torturing myself now.

  • avatar
    doublechili

    Can you really get a new SS with manual transmission for $36-38,000? I’m sure an auto can be had for that – there are a ton of autos out there but not that many manuals. Just curious.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      There are nine of them within an hour’s drive.

      • 0 avatar
        Car Ramrod

        Hmm, I see one in Salem WI when doing a 500 mile radius search from Nashville. This is important to me at the moment because you’ve got me thinking about one of these instead of a ridiculously cheap lease takeover on a 2016 M3 6spd comp package from a friend of mine. What would you guys rather put 25,000 miles on over the next 2 years?

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          Hmm. Looks like they’ve all sold in the past week. I spoke too soon.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Just like the G8 GXP. There was a brief window (when I bought mine) when dealers were panicking that they’d never sell them and they were available at “holy smokes!” discounts. Then, very suddenly in about July 2009, they got rare on the ground and very expensive.

          • 0 avatar
            johnny_5.0

            I chased 2 blue manuals then one black one locally. They all sold that day. They started drying up fast as word spread of the 20% discount being applicable (thanks Jalopnik). Picked up a green manual 90 minutes away about 2 weeks ago. I’d go for the SS as the last new NA V8 rwd manual sedan you can buy here. You will go through almost every day without seeing another one since it isn’t a high trim version of a volume car. It certainly isn’t perfect, but it does feel special.

          • 0 avatar
            doublechili

            Did Chevy have another of those 20% off deals going? I was seriously considering an SS w/MT last year and then saw a really nice Acura TL SH-AWD 6MT for a great price and got that instead. Like 2 weeks later Chevy announced a 20% off deal. I would have gotten the SS if they did that a bit sooner, or if I hadn’t gotten the Acura in the meantime. I love the Acura and it’s probably the smarter fit for me in the long run (snow + steep driveway, among other things), but the burble….

  • avatar
    ajla

    5 years from now you’ll be able to buy a Civic R (or at least something very close to it) but you’ll never be able to buy something like the SS sedan ever again.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      As much as you guys turn over cars, I think this is the right answer. The Civic will still be available when you’ve tired of the SS.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      That’s a good point, but I think this whole exercise is rather silly, although it does make for a fun discussion. These are very different cars, I can’t see how anyone can feel equally drawn to both of them. Since this is purely a “fun” car, the only criteria that matters is which car stirs your juices more? Sure, the Honda’s probably a bit more practical, but when your dropping upwards of 40 grand just for giggles, who cares?

      • 0 avatar
        John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

        Agreed, I mean its like saying, okay guys, Chevy Suburban or Ford Escape?
        LOL no wrong answer as to why each of them is a “better” choice than the other. They’re just too different to really compare fairly.

        I realize the suggestion is that the Type R and SS are priced similarly, but with likely dealer markup and limited supply, the SS will be cheaper to buy at this time I believe.

        But, its really about what you want. Which one gives you that tingly feeling and a smile that won’t go away? If its both, you are in trouble, girl, and my suggestion is to buy the new SS now while you can, and a new Type R later. These aren’t the kinds of cars you want used, after someone has had their way with them.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      Trump may yet save us from ourselves and keep V8s alive for another thirty years past when statists first thought they’d driven the final nail in their coffin.

    • 0 avatar
      A strolling player

      This is EXACTLY the reason I just bought an SS. My “shopping” started the moment the Focus RS was revealed and I decided I “had to have one”. Fast forward several months and I thought, well, there will be other hot hatches. There will never be anything like this again.

      Anyone who thinks different is fooling themselves. Believe what you want, the market for big V8 manual sedans is not big enough to justify development of one. Otherwise Dodge would have put a manual in the Charger years ago.

  • avatar
    smallblock

    Golf R. I just can’t see the point of a 300+ HP hot hatch without AWD. A coworker got rid of his G8 GT for a Golf R and loves it. It’s the best of both worlds – most of the civility of the SS sedan, yet it can hang with the Civic Type R / Focus RS / STI on track. If you want to go more extreme, there’s a great aftermarket.
    Or the slightly fancier sedan version – Audi S3.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      No more Volkswagens.

      Fool me nine times, shame on me.

      • 0 avatar
        smallblock

        Jack,
        I certainly know where you’re coming from on that, I still have a 2005 Touareg V8 with air suspension / locking rear diff / nav. I hate it so much. Every time I fix it and have it ready to sell, something else breaks.
        Mid-2000’s higher end VW’s are awful, but I’d say that the newer MQB car is entirely different, and is no more of a reliability risk than anything competitive. It’s still hard to get over the emotional hurdle of past VW experiences, which is specifically why I have a Focus ST instead of a GTI.

        • 0 avatar
          Ianw33

          “Mid-2000’s higher end VW’s are awful, but I’d say that the newer MQB car is entirely different, and is no more of a reliability risk than anything competitive.”

          Unfortunately, I don’t think I can agree with that statement. I still hear negative reliability stories from friends/co-workers with modern VW’s. They may not be as bad as they used to, but still pretty iffy.

          We enthusiasts can act like victims of abuse do when they keep trying to convince themselves that “this time will be different.”

          I went through the same thing with GM vehicles. I had different GM models ranging from 2006-2013. While the 2013 wasn’t as horrible as the 2006, it still had way too many issues. I have promised myself to not consider GM’s until they have a good 5-10 yr track record of great reliability.

          ….Of course that promise i made to myself gets tested any time something the a “V” gets released, ha

          • 0 avatar
            smallblock

            That’s the problem with reliability reputations. If someone has a problem with a Camry they assume it’s an isolated case. If they have a problem with a Passat then they must all be like that. It takes a long time to regain a good reputation.
            I think the nightmare VW’s were from the era where they were trying to prove to the world how nuts they could be – W8 Passat, V10 TDI Touareg, W12 Phaeton, etc. After that binge was the hangover of the American Jetta – beam axle and all. Overlooking the MK7 GTI /Golf R for decade old sins could cause one to miss out on great cars.
            Would I buy one with my money? No, I’d take the STI, with the bulletproof true AWD drivetrain. That’s where I’m likely headed after the Focus ST, especially if they bring back the hatch.

        • 0 avatar
          George B

          smallblock, the Volkswagen/Audi problem coworkers have had was more the annoyance/inconvenience due to the time the car was in the shop than truly reliability. VAG cars may be getting better, but the dealers appear to have the same old issues getting parts and performing repairs quickly.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        No kidding. Same here (although each but one of mine has been reliable).

  • avatar
    ...m...

    …consumables for the SS will be similar to a street corvette, but as a proper sedan it offers the most differentiation from your current fleet…the civic might come out ahead on short-term depreciation, but long-term, it’s no contest in the SS’s favor; truly the last of its breed…

  • avatar
    boost135

    Forgive the off-topic please, but what is the etymology or pop culture background to the phrase “give the nod” and why is it so prevelant in auto journalism?

    Do we see ourselves, armed with more knowledge than average, as characters with minions who bring us various subjects to undergo our scrutiny with our judgement rendered in nothing so vulgar as words, but non-verbal facial cues? This phrase needs to die, or at least be followed by a mother joke upon each usage.

    • 0 avatar
      ConBrio

      I am guessing baseball. When the manager pulls a pitcher in favor of a relief pitcher, he literally gives a nod (and a tug of the sleeve) towards the bullpen.

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      The cars *are* the minions.

      Now, if you carry this analogy out too far, it’s going to get real creepy real fast.

      So maybe let’s not anthropomorphize the vehicles too much.

  • avatar
    Pantherlove

    You should be looking for an SS of the Camaro variety methinks.

  • avatar
    Shortest Circuit

    As much as I want to say Chevy SS, *cut long rant about the Arrrrrrr having 306hp on the front wheels only, no AWD, and that I don’t know what/how DG likes to drive*
    Get the SS. It is a friggin’ Aussie sedan with a big honkin’ V8, and potential. The Civic is tuned to the limits with that engine and suspension and will be much more expensive to modify than that fat Aussie slacker.
    Get the SS. Slap a LASTV8 number plate on it, explain to anybody who asks that this car marks the end of an era for GM.
    Get the SS. Enjoy not looking like a 18-year old while driving, attract as much attention in the Chevy as your granny.
    Get the SS. Imagine fitting 5 people in it not complaining about headroom, legroom or general narrowness.
    Get the SS. There won’t be any more like it, while the next Civic is already on the drawing board.

    • 0 avatar
      trout

      I agree. I’ve been trolling the webs looking for SS(s) in my area.

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      I honestly don’t think the Type-R is very close to the limits of a turbocharged 2.0. People have made 300whp+ NA K-series engines , and the old B-series 1.6 can be streetdriven regularly with as much as 400 whp.
      Offcourse, maintenance will approach European car levels at that point.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    I can’t help but remember the, um, audacious? BMW dealer who put a forty thousand dollar markup on a 1M: bit.ly/2n2WAzM

    I makes me wonder if there’s a Honda dealer out there brazen enough to exploit pent-up Type-R demand to that extent.

    And while I make no apologies for my Civic love (just as one would make no apologies for steering clear of Panthers after almost being killed by one), I gotta go with the SS.

    I’d much rather picture the big lumbering Aussie, relic of a bygone era, raging against the dying of the light on a track, while blending right in on civilian roads.

    The Civic is a very nice toy. The SS is a time machine.

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    Which automobile in current fleet does Peril Chica drive the most on day-to-day basis? If its the C5, get the SS. If its the Fiesta ST, get the Honda. Upgrade the everyday experience.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    “There’s no situation where you would voluntarily drive the SS over the C5…”

    Jack, I don’t know how the track special Vette rides over rough Midwestern roads, but I often find myself reaching for my SS keys over my Viper keys for this reason. The SS rides NICE with the magnetic shocks. It’s not an old school big American car in that special cushy way, but it does save your back from getting beat up. For a spirited drive on a nice summer day, sports car all the way. For around town, or a drive into Chicago on those pothole filled highways, it’s nice to have a car that can swallow some of that roughness up, while still being able to dispatch teenagers in Civics etc, if the need arises.

    Just my 2c. As a satisfied owner I’ve been beating this drum for awhile but I don’t think you or Peril Chica would regret an SS for one second.

  • avatar

    SS. Just do it.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    Were it me, I would get the SS. Her race cars are RWD and this would help with the fundamentals there and the thing won’t beat you up on the commute.

    The Civic might be cheaper but I think the fact it is easier to drive hard will be a disadvantage after a short time.

  • avatar
    cartime

    As a Canadian who loved the G8 GT, I vote for the SS.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    BTW I support the purchase of an SS although it is anonymous in the same way a Corvette is attention seeking.

    “I’m a woman in her 30s with four cars — Chevrolet Tahoe Z71, Ford Fiesta ST, Chevrolet C5 Corvette with 421 rwhp and coilovers, as well as an MX-5 Cup race car.”

    Gosh Jack, your wife had to WRITE to ask you advice? This just seems like a question for the afterglow when you are very mellow and clear headed.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Test drive both.

  • avatar
    eugmoon

    As much as I’ve wanted an SS since it was reviewed on Top Gear as a Vauxhall [Monaro] VXR8, I’m going to have to side with Jack on this one. It’s likely that the Civic is going to be far more entertaining on a track like Mid-Ohio or Watkins Glen because of the lightness factor. And maybe I’m getting old, but the reduced cost of ownership is also appealing.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    SS is the obvious choice. Civic has too much overlap and is a complete joke appearance wise. And this is coming from a Honda fanboi (though I’m admittedly probably leaving the fold for good with my next purchase)

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    What will it be doing the 97% of the time it’s not on a track?

    If the car will be a commuter, highway or city?

    For superslab swallowing, I’d go SS all the way because the Vette and MX-5 could supplement any agility pangs caused by driving it. Also, the LS torque would mitigate a lot of shifting in stop-and-go traffic.

    If it will be a city commuter car, I’d do the Civic. Smaller, easier to park, and probably (without having driven one) better at mixing it up in heavy traffic.

    I went through something similar and was looking at a Golf R, Golf GTI, S3, A3, SS, and a 300 S (V8) to replace a 6MT Accord Sport. I ended up with none of the above and got a Charger R/T R&T. The Golfs just were not suited to long highway slogs and I had to admit to myself that the nearest curvy road is at least a 3 hour drive away. My commute is 65 miles round trip and things like radar cruise and lane keeping make life much better, and the Charger excels at relaxed cruising.

  • avatar
    omer333

    I’d go with the pirate car. Yeah, the Chevy’s got that yuuuge V8, etc. but I hear tell the availability of parts and the prices for them are not exactly cheap. The pirate caaaaaaaaaaar (matey) will probably still be running for long after we are all too old and decrepid to drive.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    12-to-2 SS is the tally so far…

  • avatar
    pb35

    I drove 230 mi to Grapevine last Friday to trade my black auto 2015 SS for a green 2017 with a proper 6 speed manual. It was worth it, especially at $39k. Do it, you won’t regret it. You can buy a Honda any time.

    The manuals are going quick though, and I don’t mean around a track.

  • avatar
    benders

    The SS is an old man car, made for old men who lament progress. The fact that it’s going away isn’t a reason by itself to buy one. You won’t regret not buying what you didn’t want anyway.

    Type R seats should be more supportive during track days. Light weight and lower power should keep brake and tire costs reasonable too (though not as low as the FiST). Also has more room for a spare set of wheels.

    Tahoe should do nicely anytime you want to travel long distance, more room and about the same fuel economy as the SS.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Progress to what exactly?

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Right? Not to mention they already have 2.5 track cars from what I remember- Miata, the Corvette somewhat, and Jack’s Boxster if he still has it. Do they really need a 4th?

        Also all “progress” isn’t good. Case in point, volume knob deletion. Not to mention I’m not sure how this thing moves the bar forward; it’s a combination of all old tech and a late entrant to a pretty mature and established market. SS is 1 of 1… a naturally aspirated V8 sedan with a stickshift.

    • 0 avatar
      DirtRoads

      Hey watch what you say about old men and their cars or I’ll eat your ricer with my old C4.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      If wanting a 400+HP V8 RWD sedan makes me an old man then sign me up for AARP and turn on Wheel of Fortune.

    • 0 avatar
      pb35

      Damn straight I’m old! Next month I’ll officially be leaving the 18-49 demo. Nielsen will no longer care what I’m watching on TV.

      I drove my share of compact cars in the 80s and 90s. I’m going out with a bang before it’s (Lexus) LS time. Until then, it’s LS3 for this old man. I think I’ll throw a couple baseball caps on the rear parcel shelf while I’m at it.

  • avatar
    01 Deville

    https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/inventorylisting/viewDetailsFilterViewInventoryListing.action?sourceContext=carGurusHomePage_false_0&formSourceTag=112&newSearchFromOverviewPage=true&inventorySearchWidgetType=AUTO&entitySelectingHelper.selectedEntity=d751&entitySelectingHelper.selectedEntity2=&zip=60123&distance=500&searchChanged=true&trimNames=CLS+63+AMG&showNegotiable=false&maxPrice=45000&minPrice=36000&maxMileage=54000&modelChanged=false&filtersModified=true#listing=162733351

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    I wish my future x-wife were that into cars.
    .
    .

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    Buy the SS. Why is this even a question?

    Six speed manual,four doors, V8.

    Just do it. I don’t care about parts availability or trunk space when the on ramp traffic light turns green,and neither will you.

  • avatar
    silentsod

    Charger Hellcat. Does it have an interior matching it’s $70k price tag? No. Is it liable to be a future classic due to its nutty stock power levels and rarity? Yes.

    More realistically is the FoST not enough of an upgrade over the FiST? Having test driven both for about an hour, I thought the FoST would make a very civilized daily (whereas the suspension work on the FiST was punch me in the kidneys levels) and not have run costs that were too large, plus it’s cheap with incentives and has a large aftermarket. Anodyne stock power delivery but that is possible fixable with aforementioned aftermarket.

    If she can wait it would be interesting to see how the next gen FoST ends up.

    If I had to choose between just the SS and the Type R the SS is probably the more livable daily driver.

  • avatar
    Der_Kommissar

    M240. I’ll take my answer off the air.

  • avatar
    OzCop

    Another off topic question…I have been looking for both specs and pricing on the new Camaro 4 turbo and Camaro V6 specs and pricing, both with manual trans. I can find pricing to an extent, but nothing that tells me much about tires and wheels, wheel widths in particular…plenty of info on the Camaro SS…How does one find such info? Edmunds has not been helpful, nor have a couple other “car spec” sites…

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    Focus RS. The car is a show stopper. Forget about the Civic.

  • avatar
    Johnnyangel

    I get that it was a feeble attempt at humor, but Swindon is a thriving town of more than 190,000 people, not a “God-forsaken hamlet.” It has been a transportation hub for centuries, and tourist attractions include one of the world’s biggest roundabouts!

  • avatar
    DirtRoads

    Mrs. Baruth, listen to the majority, and listen to your own desires of being pressed back into the seat with that V8 torque. You’ll never regret having it, but you’ll regret missing it.

    Get the SS.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    Get an SS, except get a Charger instead, cause mass production heavy duty cop car parts and cheaper. Use the rest to buy more motorcycles or Miatas or a bigger TV.

  • avatar
    John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

    To the guy who said the SS looks like a Cavalier: I realize now you were meaning the 1st gen Cruze. I saw an SS across from me at a 4 way stop, I thought it was a Cruze until he took off and wound that baby out as he blew past me (going the opposite way obviously). Oh man did I love that sound. My friend got an ear full about the SS after that, LOL.

    I don’t for the life of me know why they didn’t just call it Chevelle (or even Caprice to tie in to the PPV). I would have made an ace of base Chevelle with the 3.6 “High Feature” engine, and a Chevelle SS with that glorious V-8. Build em at Oshawa instead of “final assembly” of pickups (eyeroll).

    Dodge figured out a mass produced muscle sedan can work as a range topper. Even when they aren’t all rumbling V-8s.

    I realize a V-6 model might take away Impala sales, but price it high enough that the “value shoppers” will choose Impala, and the Chevelle for those who want a bad ass RWD sedan, because their kids won’t fit in the Camaro or Mustang they really want.

    Right now, aside from Euro luxo barges, the only choice are dated FCA products.

    Then Ford comes out with a RWD Fairlaine…

    Okay I’ll stop now. Haha

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Maximum Bob Lutz wanted what we now call the SS to be the replacement for the W-Impala. Yes it would have been like the Commodore it is based on, V6 models, V8 models, etc – more like the G8.

      The GM Powers that Be nixed that idea. Personally I think it would have been awesome for the Charger to have some real competition across the model range.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        It was financial suicide. The Zeta platform is expensive to produce, especially in Australia, but really anywhere. The full-size sedan segment had already started its rapid decline. Pontiac lost money on all G8s but the GXP, which is why we only have loaded SSes. It was a good thing for GM that crazy old Bob didn’t win that fight.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          I’m not saying it wouldn’t have been financial insanity I’m just saying that it would have been AWESOME.

          But then I also wanted the RWD Chinese Park Avenue to be sitting on my local Buick dealer’s lot as a flagship.

          • 0 avatar
            John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

            You and me both Dan.

            Too much to wish for a new RWD Olds version with a split grille and a Rocket version of the current GM small block V-8.

        • 0 avatar
          John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

          Well, DiamlerChrysler made it viable. Do you honestly think Chrysler and Dodge would have ANY cars in their lineup today if the Intrepid and clones were redesigned on God-awful FWD stretched Mitsubishi and Hyundai related garbage platforms like the Avenger/Sebring, instead of the Charger and 300 on their RWD LX platform?

          I get the notion that full size sedans are in decline, but Dodge and Chrysler managed to stay relevant this long in the segment, and not by just fleets alone like the Panthers pretty much were. People want Chargers. Old and young alike say “that’s cool” when a V-8 black-on-black rumbles, by, looking all snaraly and sinister. They don’t even notice the Avalon in front of it, the Taurus behind it and the Impala parked in full view.

          American automobiles have a heritage, the more they play it up, the better differentiated they’ll be from their “import” rivals. Yes Ford needed the Fusion and GM needed the Malibu, don’t get me wrong.

          Right now, only Mustang/Camaro, the LX cars, and our pickups are taking advantage of it. It doesn’t matter if it came from Australia. They merely held on longer to what we almost completely abandoned, and now that they’re fashionable here again, that’s where they were sourced (in GM’s case). Now Australia is giving up, they’re buying Corollas instead.

          (Autocorrect tried to turn “Corollas” into “Gorillas” LMAO.)

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The LXes are far cheaper to produce than a Zeta. They’re also more primitive, as you find out the first time you drive a Hemi Charger and an SS back to back.

            And you can say “people want Chargers,” but their sales are declining just like everyone else’s in the segment.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “but their sales are declining just like everyone else’s in the segment.”

            The LX sedans haven’t done well so far this year, but otherwise have actually been pretty steady lately. They were only down .8% last year and were up .2% in 2015.

            Plus, from a raw sales volume standpoint they crush everything in the segment. The 300 has been over 53K units every year since 2011 and the Charger has only been under 70k units once on its life and has consistently been close to 100k the past 4 years.

            Add in the volume for the sort of platform-mate Challenger (which has been a consistent 50k – 60k seller since 2013) and the profitability of the platform and the LX cars are probably the only viable nonpremium big cars around.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “It was a good thing for GM that crazy old Bob didn’t win that fight.”

          F GM, given the ten billion lost on the free money BS the least they could have done was mainstream Zeta.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            Speaking of billions, I’m sure all the great Cadillacs we’re going to be getting from Johan will make up for the loss of loser prole-mobiles like the SS. Just imagine the luxury of 2 liters of turbocharged 4-cylinder power in your $80,000 flagship. That’s luxury no Chevy will ever touch, baby!

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    I know the reviews aren’t in yet, but my expectation is that Honda will have jumped the too much power in a FWD shark with the Civic. It’s just too much torque to route through the front wheels. If you want a hipo Honda, just stick with the more balanced Si. Otherwise, I would get either one of the competition (Focus RS, Golf R, STi), or try and split the difference between lightweight boy racer and American V8 sedan with an ATS or Carmax/CPO 135/M235/M240/335/340/M3

    • 0 avatar
      A strolling player

      ATS is VERY small inside, which I guess isn’t a problem coming from a Fiesta, but no hatch means less usable cargo space. ATS is smaller inside than my mk3 Focus was, and the Civic has a large interior for its class. SS is another world of course.

  • avatar
    Frank Galvin

    I’m going to go out on a limb here:

    1) JB throws up another picture somewhere else of PC looking at orange (?) SS, identified as manual, and states he wants to do his own shifting.

    2) Today – throws up picture of PC looking at black SS – states that it is she who feels the need to row her own. Black SS not visible in first pic.

    3) JB dropping hints about letting go of certain possessions – wants to focus on JB Jr., and Jr.’s developing talents.

    4) Earlier post re: Honda Accord, that he could trade and not be underwater, and not happy with Honda’s wear. May need larger vehicle for transporting Jr. and accouterments.

    5) JB drops comment that within a week, they’ve all sold out.

    6) States that PC trailers the race car.

    7) Throws up a picture of car wheel against curb – no evidence of snow or ice despite Ohio getting quite a bit from the recent snowstorm.

    _______________________________________________________________

    A.) JB bought a Silverado to haul bikes, go-carts, trailer the racecar. PC bought the SS. FiSt, Yukon, and Accord traded in.

    Or,

    B.) JB and PC traded in the FiSt and Accord for both SSs – he’s done it before, and they’ll have the Yukon to “knock around” with.

    And C) I’m an idiot considering that Jack and Alex Roy took the time to concoct one of the better April 1 gags and they’re actually looking for a new ride.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      The orange SS is in the background… both of the photos were taken at the same time. We didn’t move quickly enough. Given the choice to go car shopping for real last weekend or take my kid to the skatepark, I chose the latter. oops.

  • avatar
    dangit56

    Didn’t spend my time reading the voluminous comments, simple and obvious answer is more Baruth “Humble-bragging”

  • avatar
    Boxerman

    If this car is really going to be used for “off the cuff track days” then its the honda no contest, the SS is big, will be big on track and big on consumables plus less fun to drive.. Additionaly, you already have a tahoe for large barge duties.

    If it were street all the time and you live in the midwest with flat straight roads the SS makes sense. The bigger problem with the SS is its not an occasion car, its actulay besides power pretty bland, there is no sense of real occasion in driving it.

    Latly if you ever want a cheapish large V8 rwd chrysler will still be making them for another decade or so. The appeal of the SS currently if you boil things down is its cheap power.

    If I wanted a sleeper car that didnt need to run in snow, and would be used for towing my race car or boat the SS fits the bill.

    That all being said, with rare exceptions street cars dont make good track cars, there is just too much setup compromise. Yes you could take your jack, track tires etc in the hatch and swap it all out, but by then you might as well have trailered.

    Still I would go for the Honda, you just know it can be more fun to drive. But then I dont know what your roads are like.

    So get the car you really want to be driving on street, because realisticaly as you own a trailer and tow vehicles youre going to quickly abandon the “off the cuff” track idea.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      I read “off the cuff track” days as a callback to some old JB stories that would have been better never written (although fun to read) about near psychopathic behaviors that took place on “off the cuff tracks”.

  • avatar
    Eddie_B

    I’m big on the “grown-up” factor, so I wish you buy the SS.

    Though still through Jack, happy to see DG get a voice of her own in this forum.

    Related – I want to ask a car-related question for the editors, but am not sure who would be the appropriate one, and how to reach them. Am i missing a TTAC page explaining this?

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    If your over 50, or want people to think you are over 50, get the SS, if not, consider the Focus RS, then decide getting all the aftermarket bits to make it stand out in your BIL’s driveway would be to expensive , and then buy the RRRRRRRRR anyway.

    People who really want the SS for it’s drivertrain would be better off having someone build them a proper LS powered Pro Touring classic anyway. People who want the SS for its looks should just get an eye-exam.
    I would rather build an LS-powered woodsided B-body Wagon over an SS anyday.

    Actually, ‘risque-femme’, ask your husband to have someone build you an LS-powered woodsided B-body with a manual. Sajeev alreay told us how to make it handle.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    “Peril Chica” — I see what you did there! 300 hp + lots of forced induction + front wheel drive = s__ts and giggles. The more power you get out of a small engine by increasing boost, the less linear the throttle response. Some people find that thrilling; other people find that annoying; and, after a while some of the people who found it thrilling, find it tiresome. Kind of like a booming, rumbling semi-straight pipe V-8 exhaust.

    My own experience is that the predictable, right now!, response of a big-displacement engine throttle opening never wears out its welcome.

    De gustibius non disputandum est.

  • avatar
    cognoscenti

    Option C: A 2011 E90 M3 6MT with Competition Package for LESS MONEY than either of these choices. A true driver’s car, and unlike the SS it will not become ridiculously difficult to find key parts for within 5 years. Just ask any G8 owner, while remembering that those cars were much higher volume than the SS. The Civic Type R will have too much of a markup, not be sufficiently faster than the Ford she is tired of, and then slap you in the face with depreciation driven by teenage ricer image.

    You know, you can find a slicktop, no-iDrive, M3 with manual cloth seats, right? There is one for sale on M3Post.com right now that just requires negotiation. 3570 pounds with a full tank makes the SS look pretty porky in comparison.

  • avatar
    Driver8

    Penny pincher in me would ask (cost of new vehicle, maintainence + insurance) vs. ( cost pads and tires for vette x #track days).

    Otherwise, since race car and vette are both RWD, I vote RWD for FiST replacement. No need to confuse the cerebellum.

  • avatar
    ltskinol

    Chica will not get satisfaction out of either of your choices. With the way that the Fiesta is modified, it’ll be at least as fast around the track as the Honda. The SS will be great for the dragstrip, but I’m guessing it’ll be a mess on a road course with its 4000 lb curb weight. Also, FYI, the SS’s I’ve seen are 106 MPH cars, not 111 MPH; again, because of the pork. Do a search to see what real people run.

    Conclusion: Chica should keep the ST for those non-C5 track days and put the money saved (we’re talking a $25k loan here, right?) into the stock market so that she can eventually get something more modern when she gets tired of the oldness of the C5.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Without upsetting the readers who hate my guts and interpret anything I say as humble-bragging, Chica is not bound by the same financial constraints that trouble me. If she wanted a new Vette, or a Viper, or a Huracan, she’d have it.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I know the resale won’t be the same as an SS, but I tend to think the answer is Mustang or Camaro with options selected for track use. I think the R will be fun at first but will get old quickly, and the SS is just not quite tracky enough.

  • avatar
    SixspeedSi

    HELLCAT. IT WILL DESTROY (bold) THE SS!!

    Okay sorry, I kid and miss BTSR. I do love the SS, especially at 38k. However, you make a good case for the Type R. Especially with the tracks you know DG will be driving on. I’m inclined to believe it may be the better option here. Personally too, I enjoy going between FWD and RWD cars.

    Better question, how much you want for that FIST now ;)

  • avatar

    May I offer an alternative? Maybe a better blend of luxury, fit/finish, and performance. $1000-1500 will get a lot more power out of it, too, if it’s desired…
    CPO BMW M235i?
    http://cpo.bmwusa.com/certified/BMW/2014-BMW-M235i+Coupe-3f98ffa20a0e0ae8490a3e221ee2d31f.htm?geoZip=48130

    I’d recommend an M2 if you could actually get one, as I believe the values of them used will remain at MSRP for some time, making cost of ownership relatively small. But you still need to be able to afford to make the purchase in the first place.

  • avatar
    MercerTransit

    I bought an orange SS with the manual outside of San Francisco last weekend from a Corvette dealer in a tiny town. I drove it back to Seattle the same day (and was reminded I’m really to old for that kind of thing now.) I didn’t get as good a price as the others here are seeing, but did get $11k off of MSRP, which was good enough for me, because it had to be orange so my options out west were neigh zero. I’m movin’ on up from an ’11 STI and for me, the SS is glorious. It’s the absolute last of its kind. Big engine, four doors, rwd, manual. I bought the extended factory warranty. I plan to keep it many years. The sound alone is worth the $44k.

    Now to offload the black sleeper STI (no wing) with 45k on the clock to some 25 year old with a younger man’s back. To him I’ll bequeath the distressingly loud factory cat-back, the $2500 i just spent on pads and discs on all four corners, and the punishing suspension.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    I have a mean streak and a brother, so this is predictable: Get a used Boss and torture the autocross tutor with it. Unless the off the cuff track days need a more sedate apearance, then go SS FTW. The arrrr will get bent over the jail cell sink by the FoRS, lacks stealth, attracts stupid thieves, and if you still want to defend it you know it’s what you want.

  • avatar
    xflowgolf

    The logic to use it as “off the cuff” track days seems like an excuse. She already has two track cars. The concept of spending $35K+ on a new car to avoid the cost of consumables on a C5 is laughable. An SS will eat more brakes and tires than any C5 could dream of. Plus, since the C5 isn’t a full blown trailer only caged racecar, I don’t see why you couldn’t grab the keys on any days notice and just drive that.

    It sounds like you just want an excuse to update the daily driver. In that case, the SS would be a blast. As would the Civic.

    No wrong answer, just don’t pretend it’s being done for cost savings. Either car would pay for LOTS of track time, tires, brakes, consumables, etc. on the cars she already owns. So just buy the car she WANTS to drive every day.

  • avatar
    Click REPLY to reload page

    Caterham 7. Affordable in kit form, and will have her enjoying some quality wrench time getting to know it inside and out.

  • avatar
    runs_on_h8raide

    “Hey Jack,

    I’m a woman in her 30s with four cars — Chevrolet Tahoe Z71, Ford Fiesta ST, Chevrolet C5 Corvette with 421 rwhp and coilovers, as well as an MX-5 Cup race car.”

    Did anyone else read this and think “fake news” ??? Nudes or didn’t happen, Jack.


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