After years of the Impala being the standard-bearer for Chevrolet in NASCAR, the flag is passing to the new Chevrolet SS model with the 2013 racing season. And along with the change of the name affixed to the car comes some rule changes making the race cars a slightly more accurate depiction of the production models. To prove the bowtie brand hasn't gone completely soft on performance and personality aside from the Camaro and Corvette, the production version of the 2014 Chevrolet SS will be revealed exactly one week from today at the Mecca of all NASCAR races, the Daytona 500. And although few other motorsports series could be more all-American than NASCAR, the Chevrolet SS hails from down under, built on the same line as the Holden Commodore, and will be based on the new VF chassis of that sedan.
Sound familiar? It's a similar formula to the late, lamented Pontiac G8, which won great critical acclaim, just as the brand was being wound down, and GM was going into bankruptcy proceedings. What's different this time around? For one, the marketing muscle of the Chevrolet brand, which is by far General Motor's largest brand by volume worldwide. The car's exposure at NASCAR races is sure to help as well. And finally, rather than trying to position the SS as a mass-market proposition, the car will be packaged and positioned as a premium product, with GM ?? Mark Reuss describing it as a "four-door Corvette."
Although there are some definite differences between the race car and the production car, Hendrick Motorsports' Doug Duchardt explains how the styling details of the Chevy SS race car are more indicative of the production car's lines than in years' past. What can we make out from these videos? That the SS will have LED driving lights, a smaller upper, and larger lower grille opening, twin polished tailpipe tips, and Malibu-esque taillights. The sculpting of the hood and the front fenders are also a good indication of the production car's styling. The one area where the race car departs from the production model is in the roofline and cabin shape, which as Duchardt explains, is shared between the different manufacturers.
Like what you see so far? Come back on Saturday, or tune in to the Daytona 500 to see the production model in the sheetmetal.