Like the majority of classic car enthusiasts, Vince Tripoli fell in love with cars at…
As the last Chevy SS heads to the U.S., its collectability may rise
If you were hoping to score a new Chevrolet SS before production ended, that ship has sailed. Literally. Orders for the rear-wheel-drive V-8 sedan haven’t been accepted in months, and the last SS is now in a ship’s cargo hold somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.
General Motors, which had been talking about shutting down its Australian Holden operations for several years, confirmed in January that production would end sometime in 2017. “Sometime” is now for the Holden Commodore-based Chevy SS, as well as the Chevrolet Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle (PPV), both of which were built exclusively for the American market. Commodore production will continue into October, when Holden’s Adelaide plant is scheduled to close.
The last Chevy SS is black, and its 415-hp, 6.1-liter V-8 engine is mated to a six-speed manual transmission. According to Australia’s Motoring, Holden manufacturing employees signed the engine bay before shipping the SS to America. The car—the last of 4,008 Chevrolet SS sports sedans exported to the U.S. during its final 12 months of production (12,953 total)—has often been called “GM’s best-kept secret,” since it received no external marketing or advertising beyond being Team Chevy’s car of choice on the NASCAR circuit.
From a collectible standpoint, Hagerty Vehicle Data Specialist Chris Winslow says the SS “checks all the right boxes” as a modern classic. “It’s absolutely collectible. Values may spike briefly in the near future as anyone who realizes they want one now scrambles to secure the right example, but I would expect some depreciation over the next decade. Nearly 10-year-old Pontiac G8 GXPs with a manual transmission—very similar to the SS—depreciated very little and can still bring upwards of $40,000 with low miles and excellent care. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see the SS with 6-speed perform in a similar manner.”
When GM launched the SS in 2014, the car was available only with an automatic transmission. A manual transmission was added as no-cost option the following year, and Motoring reported that 32 percent of SS buyers checked that box.
After test-driving the 2016 SS, Road & Track called it “old-school as hell … there’s very little to help you be a better driver, or keep the car underneath you, if you don’t know what you’re doing… (It’s) big and soft and tuned like Detroit cars used to be… In other words, the SS somehow manages to capture the idea of the recent past without actually living in it.”
Joe Jacuzzi, executive director of Global Chevrolet and Brand Communications, said earlier this year that there were no plans to replace the SS with another performance sedan, and today Chevrolet Executive and GM Marketing Communications Manager Afaf Farah reiterated that.
“We have enjoyed great success with the Chevrolet SS on the track as our entry in the NASCAR Cup Series and on the road among performance enthusiasts,” Farah wrote in an email. “While we do not plan to replace the SS sedan, Chevrolet still does offer high levels of performance in both the Corvette and Camaro.”
That’s unfortunate news for enthusiasts like Hagerty’s Winslow. “This is an incredibly sad day. While the SS will never have the allure of a Dodge Charger or Chevrolet Chevelle two-door hardtop from the late ’60s, in many ways I think the SS is the spiritual descendant of those iconic cars—enough space for the family and enough power to plant a smile on drivers’ faces.”