The Truth About Cars » SS The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:00:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » SS 2014 Chevrolet SS To Pace 20th Running Of Brickyard 400 Tue, 22 Jul 2014 10:00:46 +0000 Actor Chris Pratt To Drive Chevrolet SS Pace Car At Brickyard

Monday, we alerted you that the 2015 Chevrolet SS will come with a manual transmission and Magnetic Ride. Today, the current SS has thrown on some red and silver pace-car clothing to lead its tube-frame brethren over the strip of bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 20th running of the Brickyard 400.

Autoblog reports the driver behind the wheel of this SS will be none other than actor Chris Pratt, whose latest film, Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” will be in theaters August 1. Pratt said it was “a dream come true to drive the pace car” for the Brickyard 400, renamed the John Wayne Walding 400 by sponsor Crown Royal in honor of the Army veteran who lost part of his right leg during the Battle of Shok Valley in 2008.

The silhouette Sprint Cup version of the SS is doing well for itself since the start of its racing career in 2013, winning 16 out of 36 races in the previous season, and claiming nine of the first 10 events in 2014. Meanwhile, the Camaro and Corvette will take up pacing duties for the support events around the Brickyard 400.

Actor Chris Pratt To Drive Chevrolet SS Pace Car At Brickyard Actor Chris Pratt To Drive Chevrolet SS Pace Car At Brickyard Actor Chris Pratt To Drive Chevrolet SS Pace Car At Brickyard Actor Chris Pratt To Drive Chevrolet SS Pace Car At Brickyard ]]> 7
2015 Chevrolet SS Order Guide Confirms Manual Transmission, Magnetic Ride Mon, 21 Jul 2014 13:00:24 +0000 Chevrolet SS

Those who were waiting for the Chevrolet SS to have a manual transmission to go with its Australian power, they can now breathe: The order guide confirms the 2015 model will that, as well as the Magnetic Ride suspension.

Jalopnik reports one of their commentariat had looked through General Motors’ online Fleet Order guide when they came upon the revelations. In addition, more of the commentariat pointed out a number of new colors 2015 SS owners could drool over, including Regal Peacock Green and Alchemy Purple; Dodge and SRT may have to dust off a few oldies to keep up.

2015 Chevy SS Form A 2015 Chevy SS Form B ]]> 96
2015 Chevrolet SS To Gain Six-Speed Manual, Magnetic Suspension This Summer Mon, 28 Apr 2014 11:45:26 +0000 Chevrolet SS

Up until now, the Australian-turned-American Chevrolet SS checked off nearly all of the boxes for performance enthusiasts who sought a sedan that had a Corvette soul, but could take the family out to a weekend at the Circuit of the Americas. Only a six-speed automatic and old-school suspension kept it from matching up with the likes of the Cadillac CTS-V, Chrysler 300 SRT8 and other similar sedans.

That could all change this summer, however. Motor Trend reported that the 2015 SS will come with a six-speed manual and the magnetic ride control found on the Camaro ZL1, Cadillac CTS Vsport and Corvette Stingray, which should better apply the 6.2-liter V8′s 415 horses and matching torque to the pavement if sources are correct.

Though GM remains quiet on the potential upgrades (and how much they might add to or subtract from the current $45,770 base price tag),MT says to expect the first sighting of the new SS to come during the 2014 Woodward Dream Cruise this August.

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The Clones: Send Them In Or Send Them Out? Fri, 10 Jan 2014 20:00:03 +0000 Click here to view the embedded video.

Trent was a poser. He was the kind of guy who wore a fake Rolex, an imitation Italian suit and “alligator” shoes that were actually made out of vinyl. His $100 hair style cost $8 at Supercuts and his midwinter suntan, the one made him look like he had just returned from a lengthy South American stay, came from a spray can. Determined to climb from the bottom rung of society, he was forever trying to get over on people by manipulating his image and the truth is I really could have cared less. What really tore it for me, however, was the day he decided to put SS emblems on his tatty old Malibu.

Although the car magazines and collector sites would have us think that, once upon a time, top drawer muscle cars were in every American’s driveway the truth is somewhat different. Back in the day, most people purchased modest cars with sensible powertrains and surprisingly few luxury options. It took someone special to walk into a dealership and order something more exotic. It turns out that a lot of these special people were young men, and despite their best intentions, the sad truth is that young men are rough on fast cars.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

The result is that a great many of the fastest cars didn’t live to see old age and by the early 1990s the ones that were left were beginning to cost serious money. For a guy like Trent, a social climber who wanted the look of an expensive car without the associated costs, the obvious answer was to buy up some old parts and graft them on to his old dime-a-dozen daily driver. The result was, as he called it, “a clone.” I was incredulous at the concept. Trent was a phony.

Looking back over the years, I can say that my opinion of Trent has changed. Age and experience has taught me that the world really isn’t black and white and that if a young guy like Trent, a small town kid who wants to break out of his shell and appear more worldly than he really is, needs a knock-off Armani suit and plastic alligator shoes to feel better about himself then I’m OK with that. My feelings on what he tried to do to his car, however, remain split and that’s what I’d like to have a discussion on.

Original cars can be worth big money these days. Unless you are a millionaire with plenty of money burning a hole in your pocket, you are never going to own a real exotic. Original Yenko prepared cars, for example, are well into the six figure range and if a mortal man (or woman) is going to own anything like one, chances are they are going to end up with what is now being euphemistically called a “tribute.” Some tribute builds are quite authentic, and the people who build them provide rigorous documentation on the original “donor” car and how it was modified to match the collector car it is trying to emulate. So long as that car is sold as a tribute and never ends up being offered for sale as an original then I see nothing wrong.

photograph taken by Michael Chiolero Courtesy of Wikipedia

photograph taken by Michael Chiolero
Courtesy of Wikipedia

What I have a real issue with, however, are the down market, quick conversions of daily drivers into cheap knock-off SS cars which are then foisted off on unsuspecting buyers. Sure, there is a certain element of caveat emptor in every car purchase, but I don’t feel like someone should have to become an expert in decoding VIN numbers prior to purchasing a car on the used car market. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen cars on Craigslist that look like real SS cars that are obvious fakes. Here’s a hint kids, if you want to build a 73 or 74 SS Nova clone, start with a hatchback. The last thing I want to do is go out to your house and crawl around in the mud getting serial numbers from your old car because “You don’t know for sure if it’s an SS but the guy you bought it from said it was.”

That’s my take, anyhow, and now I’d like to hear your thoughts. Is this as big a deal as I think? Should it really fall to the buyer to check every piece of paper relating to an old car prior to making the transaction? Are clones or tributes something you would even want to own? It seems to me that if I owned a tribute car that I would get tired of forever telling people that it’s a knock-off, but that’s just me. Where do you stand?

Disclaimer: I just want to put on the record that all of the photos used to illustrate this article came from the internet and I have no way of knowing whether any of the vehicles are clones or original. By using the photos, I am not claiming that any of them are anything but what they appear to be, beautiful cars.

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Is Chevy Launching SS Sub-Brand?Does Autoblog Know that Trademarks and Patents are Two Different Things? Thu, 19 Apr 2012 19:16:27 +0000 Last week General Motors filed an application with United States Patent & Trademark Office to register SS as a trademark (search for 85597402 here). Though Chevrolet has used the SS designation since the early 1960s, first appearing on the ’61 Impala SS, it has apparently never before taken the steps to protect it as a trademark. Trademark registrations have to be for a specific use and in this case the use specified is “Motor land passenger vehicles, namely, automobiles.”

There’s been talk that GM will be reviving a storied nameplate for the civilian version of the RWD Caprice PPV cop cruiser, a name that will also grace Chevy’s forthcoming NASCAR “stock” cars. Some have suggested that the new model will be marketed simply as the Chevy SS. Chevrolet did use the SS name on a concept car for the 2003 show circuit. Using SS as a nameplate, though, might create confusion with how the SS brand has been applied to other Chevy models, and also how any SS would be distinguished from a supposed Impala SS model, seen testing in spy shots.

Actually, the trademark application cites the first use in commerce of the SS mark as March, 16, 2009, which happens to be when the revived Camaro, including its SS variant, went on sale. To me that means that Chevy will continue to use SS as a performance variant even if there is a specific SS model. More likely, though, I think that Chevy is just doing with the SS brand what other manufacturers have done with SVT and AMG nametags, creating a performance sub-brand. Perhaps they are following Chrysler’s example with the SRT brand, creating a SS halo vehicle (as the Viper is to be for SRT) that helps promote regular Chevy’s offered with the SS package.

Now that the factual reporting is out of the way, I have to say that Autoblog’s coverage of this topic is one example of how patents and trademarks are used as interchangable terms when they really aren’t. They repeatedly conflate patents and trademarks in ways that betray a near complete ignorance of the different kinds of intellectual property, what they cover or how rights are secured.

Turns out, though, that General Motors just got around to patenting the designator SS on April 13, 2012.

No, that’s not correct. It turns out, though, that GM filed an application to register a trademark for SS on April 13, 2012. Trademarks are for words and symbols. Patents are for inventions and processes. Other than both being forms of intellectual property and both being managed by the same government agency (though completely different departments of that agency), patents and trademarks have nothing to do with each other. Furthermore, the phrase “patenting” wouldn’t have been applicable even if it was a patent. The application is just the first step in getting either a patent or a trademark.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can dig deeper at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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New or Used: Avoid “Titanium” Grade Depreciation Wed, 14 Dec 2011 16:37:28 +0000


Shawn writes:

Hey Sajeev and Steve,

I recently asked the Best and Brightest for help regarding my friend’s car buying dilema, but now I’m in one of my own! I am looking to get rid of my 2006 Mazda5 GT, which has been quite problematic. I can no longer tolerate the frequent trips to the shop. Its got about 125,000km on it, and I’ve been getting offers ranging from $6000-8000 for it on trade. The cars I am considering are in the compact to mid-size class, but there are benefits to each car, and I can’t seem to make up my mind. I am seeking a car with decent fuel economy that is fairly engaging to drive. However, I DO NOT want a harsh ride. The GTA is filled with pot holed roads, and I know the stiff ride would get tiresome. Manual transmission is preferred, but not necessary. I do carry four people occasionally, so cross out any coupes. On the Mazda I’ve taken quite a hit in the residual value, so this time around, I am looking to buy something that is a couple of years old. That way, someone else takes the largest depreciation hit. Here is the list so far:
  1. 2007 or 2008 Acura CSX w/premium package and manual tranny: Essentially a Civic with a nicer front and rear end, leather, a bit more sound deadening, and the motor from the RSX. Really fun to drive, but the manuals that I’m seeing in the GTA carry a price premium… The 2008 that I test drove with 58,000km is going for $18,900. At this point, does it not make sense to just buy a brand new one for $23,000?
  2. 2008 Honda Civic EX-L w/ manual: The CSX, while it only has 15 more hp, does feel noticeably more powerful than the Civic. My main problem with the Civic is that it feels a little gutless on the highway. However, it does deliver great fuel economy. Going in the $15-17,000 range.
  3. 2007 or 2008 VW Rabbit: These are surprisingly cheap in the GTA… There are quite a few 2007 and 2008s with low mileage going in the $12-15,000 range. I don’t find this car as engaging to drive as the Acura, and the VW shifter just doesn’t compare to the Honda’s. I do love the “solid” VW feel, but I am concerned about the reliability of the Volkswagen. Fuel mileage is also disappointing. Jettas carry a price premium and I prefer the hatch.
  4. 2007 or 2008 Ford Fusion SEL: This is the lazy commuter choice. It was surprisingly good to drive, but I am not a huge fan of the looks, which I find to be a little bland and cheap looking. I would be looking at a 4 banger with auto in this case, because the manuals are just about impossible to find. Quite cheap as well, with low mileage examples going in the $13-16,000 range. Not the greatest on gas either.
  5. 2007 or 2008 Honda CR-V: In Canada, only the LX was offered with front-wheel drive. If you step up to the EX, you need to get AWD, which I am hearing is a little problematic. Apparently, there is a grinding issue in reverse? Either way, I had this car as a rental for a week when the Mazda was in the shop and found it to be quite easy to live with. The steering and brakes were just right and the car was roomy. Downsides? LOUD on the highway, and the ride is a little harsh. Fuel mileage is so-so. Holds it’s value really well, so we’re talking $18-24,000.
Lastly, 2012 Ford Focus Titanium: Ford has really outdone themselves with this one. I found that the car felt like it was worth the admittedly steep price tag. The car has a refinement to it that is not matched in the compact class, and I found the MyFordTouch to be pretty easy to use. Downsides? Rear seat legroom is a joke. Also, I am assuming that this car is not going to hold it’s value well, since most Fords do not. Probably best to wait a couple of years for a lightly used one?
Well, Best and Brightest? What to do? Am I forgetting something that I should be driving? I have intentionally left out the TSX and GTI as I do not want to purchase a vehicle that takes premium when regular is already at $1.38/L.  Help Sajeev and Steve!

Steve Answers:

I used to live in upstate New York which also has rather nasty roads. So I can appreciate your desire to couple comfort with sportiness.

Back when I lived there in the early 90′s, the car to bridge both divides was a Volvo. 240, 740, 940, etc. All those bricks were underpowered. But they offered excellent durability in a nasty climate and a feel for the road that was unique unto anything short of a Mercedes W124.

So what up today? It depends on where your comfort and sportiness intersect. Everything you mentioned would be brutal for me after 50k miles. I would opt for a midsize vehicle that can offer a nice thrust of acceleration, a healthy level of comfort, and a good feel for the road.

My choice? 2007 Honda Accord EX with Leather, V6 and a five-speed. If you can’t find a good one (and yes, that is a tough find in this market), I would just enjoy a four-cylinder version. The Acura versions are overpriced and the price for Subaru Outbacks and Foresters in the northern country makes them poor values compared to a new purchase of the same model.

If you are willing to buy new… ask Sajeev. That’s his domain.

Sajeev Answers:

I can see why you’d want the Focus Titanium, but depreciation on a top drawer compact (just about ANY of them) will be worse than a middle of the road unit. So you should steer clear of Titanium, wait a couple of years for them to show up on the used car market. A new Focus SEL is a wiser move, and you should also test drive the Hyundai Elantra and Sonata…just for funzies!

More to the point, anything can be fun with a touch of aftermarket suspension bits. Sure, the last-gen Focus is fairly hideous, but all the SVT/aftermarket goodies just bolt right up! Ditto a non-SS Chevy Cobalt with all the suspension bits from that “Hot One.”Relatively speaking, of course: none of these modifications will hurt the ride enough to upset your commute to work. Probably.

Well, that’s only food for thought. Also consider the Mazda 6, last generation. They aren’t the best on gas, but I truly enjoy driving them. You might too.

Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to , and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder.

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Review: 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS Wed, 01 Sep 2010 19:23:05 +0000

The third-generation Camaro, so much swoopier than anything else on the road back in 1982, looked more like a concept car than a production car. The throaty V8, though pitifully weak by today’s standards, at the time was easily capable of getting a 14-year-old’s pulse racing. Some critics dinged the car for its impractical packaging, size, and weight, but I didn’t care. I wanted one, badly. Never did get one. By the time I could afford a Camaro, I agreed with the critics. From frenzied test drives in the Toyota Corolla GT-S and Honda CRX I learned the joys of high-revving multi-valve engines and agile handling. GM recently introduced a fifth-generation Camaro. What has it learned in the last 28 years?

In form and spirit, the 2010 car’s big, bold exterior is very much that of a Camaro. My 14-year-old self would have loved it. I thought my kids would love it, but instead they seemed puzzled that a car with such exaggerated styling could exist outside of a cartoon. Many people do clearly love the look of the new car, and virtually everyone has a strong opinion about it. GM deserves credit for crafting a shape that is at once current and readily identifiable with its ancestors. The lesson not learned: the racier the styling, the shorter the shelf life. Sales have been strong so far, but where will they be in 2012?

Size remains a big issue. Compared to previous generations, the new Camaro is about as long (190.4”), wider (75.5”) and heavier (3,860 lbs.). The original Camaro was based on a compact car platform. The new one is based on GM’s largest car platform. You’d never guess that gas prices reached record highs during the car’s gestation. Another lesson not learned.

Check out the 2010 Camaro’s back seat, preferably from a safe distance, and as with past iterations you’ll wonder where all of those exterior inches went. Adults who don’t regularly practice yoga simply don’t fit beneath the low roof. My skinny nine-year-old son complained about the lack of room and his inability to see out of the small, high-mounted windows. His comment on the car: “Everything is big except what you want to be big, and that’s small.”

Slide between the widely-spaced bolsters of the front seat, though, and you’ll wonder if the Camaro was designed for giants. You sit low behind a hulking instrument panel. Both the deeply dished steering wheel and shifter are super-sized: Camaro drivers best have big, manly hands. The retro-styled interior possesses some interesting elements, but it’s overly plasticky. The silver-painted trim bits are so thick they come across as clunky. The bulging center stack with its pair of oversized round HVAC controls (I’ll avoid references to the female anatomy) appears more 1990s GM than late 1960s. Sometimes there’s a fine line between retro and dated. The most attractive part of the interior: the door sill trim plates. Too bad they’re no longer visible once you clunk the door shut.

The windshield is much more upright than with the third-generation Camaro, and perhaps even the second—a retro touch I can definitely live with. Sitting low and gazing over a long hood as the V8 rumbles provides a badass feeling you just cannot get in a Mustang. Visibility? It’s as bad as everyone says, but still livable.

When paired with the six-speed manual, the 2010 Camaro’s 6.2-liter V8 puts out 426 horsepower at 5,900 rpm. Years ago GM claimed they could get pushrod engines to breathe well at high rpm, and they’re rightly proud of the peak output they’ve been able to wring from this one. But there are downsides to this approach. With only two valves per cylinder, breathing cannot be optimized separately for low and high rpm. So tune for high rpm breathing and the low end suffers. The 6.2’s torque peak is a fairly lofty 4,600 rpm, so there are only 1,300 rpm between the peaks.

Then there’s the way the Camaro’s engine sounds and feels when racing for the redline. Its raucous roar (with stray mechanical undertones) borders on violent, with much of this violence seemingly directed towards the engine’s own internals. Put another way, under hard acceleration at high rpm the big V8 sounds like it wants to tear itself apart. At the other end of the spectrum, the idle is a bit lumpy, which is typical of a cammy old-school V8.

Shift feel is similarly unrefined. Throws are moderate in length, but can feel clunky, and in casual driving it takes conscious effort to shift the car smoothly. Go too easy on the throttle in first and the shifter will take you straight to forth, an old GM trick to bump the EPA rating. The V8 is torquey, but shifting into fourth so early still lugs it. Even if this feature is avoided—and I didn’t encounter it at all the first few days I had the car—the gearing feels too tall. Fuel economy ranged from 13 in hard driving to low 20s on the highway. Figure 16 and change in moderately aggressive driving around town—nearly the same I observed in an Altima Coupe.

Then there’s the chassis, which seems to have received all of the refinement the rest of the car did not. The nicely weighted steering doesn’t communicate much, and the Camaro handles like the large, heavy car that it is. But body roll is restrained without killing the ride quality, and the precision with which the car can be steered with the right foot (a trait shared with the late, lamented Pontiac G8 and the Corvette) should serve as an example for other manufacturers. (Nissan, I’m talking to you.) Add in good balance and very grippy tires, and you’ll rarely come anywhere near the Camaro’s limits on public roads.

In the final analysis, outside of the chassis GM hasn’t learned much in the last 28 years. Some things they didn’t need to learn. The driving position might compromise visibility, but without it the Camaro wouldn’t be a Camaro. And a Camaro should be boldly styled and chock full of big, vocal V8. But the fifth-generation car is at least a half-size too large, a few hundred pounds too heavy, and far too unrefined. Sure, a Camaro should be raw, but not raw all over. Like hair that has been painstakingly styled to appear disheveled, rawness must be carefully distributed. The bits that enhance the driving experience should be retained, even amplified—as raw as it is, the Camaro could feel more visceral. But the other rough edges, that cheapen the car and disrupt the driving experience, should be excised. The good news: the chassis would be the hardest thing to fix with the refresh that needs to happen before the styling goes stale.

Chevrolet provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review.

Michael Karesh owns and operates TrueDelta, an online source of automotive reliability and pricing data.

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SS Is Alive. Should Anyone Care? Fri, 20 Nov 2009 15:43:38 +0000 HHR SS

Autoweek apparently got an interview with GM vice president of global vehicle engineering and former chairman of Holden, Mark Reuss. Apparently, because their write-up takes a light hand with the quotation marks, using them to fill in the gaps between the author’s breathless interpretations of the topic at hand: Chevrolet’s SS line.

From 1960s Chevelles to modern Camaros, speedy Chevrolets have always been indentified with two letters: SS. But does the tradition-laden performance designation have a future in the new General Motors, which is under pressure to cut costs, make money and meet stricter fuel-economy regulations? “Absolutely,” Mark Reuss, GM vice president of global engineering, told AutoWeek. In fact, the SS line could be better–or at least more clearly defined. Reuss envisions cars outfitted on a case-by-case basis, rather than somewhat generically adding horsepower and red-letter stitching to Chevys across the board. Or as he put it, “Not trying to peanut-butter SS for everything.”

And though the intent of Reuss’s proclamation was clearly to encourage, the SS brand may be one of GM’s most-damaged. Here, for your viewing pleasure, are a few of the reasons why.

Brazilian Meriva SS Brazilian Chevy Astra SS ss-hhr-thumb 101 year-old Virgil Coffman Buys a Bumblebee-Edition Camaro SS HHR SS Malibu Maxx SS Silverado SS Monte Carlo SS Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Impala SS Trailblazer SS

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