It’s amazing how two simple letters can pack so much meaning for car enthusiasts. Chevrolet and its “Super Sport” models, or SS for short, have been a truly dominating force in the auto world since the early 1960s. The SS series was one of the first “royal family” models in GM’s stable. Technically, the SS designation was introduced in the late 1950s for a special track-only Corvette.
But it became truly well-known when those two S were bolted on the fenders of the 1961 Impala. That was the exact moment when the SS moniker became legendary and set the path forth for many cars that followed. Muscle car fans remember these fire-breathing GM beasts as some of the finest muscle cars of Detroit’s Golden Age, and for good reason. Check out the greatest car that bore the coveted SS designation right here.
1961 Chevrolet Impala SS 409
The legendary 196q Impala SS (Super Sport) package has its place in muscle car history as a very important model that promoted performance to the general public. This was one of the first high-performance automobiles that were relatively affordable and fast. Everything started when Chevrolet decided to transform its 409 truck engine for use in passenger cars and found out it could outrun all other cars on the road. Just with mild modifications to the engine, it could produce up to 409 HP, enough to propel the Impala from 0 to 60 mph in just six seconds flat (via Motor Trend).
At the time that was Corvette territory. So as a mid-year introduction, Chevrolet presented the SS package. It featured bucket seats, sports trim, and other details. It came with a 348 V8 engine with 350 HP. However, the most interesting option was the 409 V8 with up to 409 HP if you opted for the dual quad intake system. Even though Chevrolet sold over a million of its full-size models, it only made 456 Impalas SS models that year. Out of those, only 142 Impalas came with the 409 engine. Interestingly, the 409 option was available for all Chevrolet full-size models in 1961. Hence, Chevrolet could make sedans and wagons with 409, but those cars have yet to surface. Today, the 1961 Impala SS 409 is one of the most valuable cars in Chevrolet’s storied muscle car history.