By GLEN WERLING
While an inland tropical storm may have rained out the Antique and Classic Car Parade at Wednesday’s Bluffton Free Street Fair, it did not deter some hardy souls from bringing their prized possessions for the lineup.
A handful of heartier souls braved the wind-driven rain to view the few cars and trucks on South Main Street just south of Bluffton Regional Medical Center.
One of those cars they would have seen is a rare 2014 Chevrolet SS owned by Lloyd King of Fort Wayne.
“I was in a show in Ossian on the weekend. I decided to come down and check this out,” King said as the wind tore at and eventually folded his black umbrella.
Think of a Chevrolet Malibu on a Corvette chassis. This is no ho-hum family sedan but one that’s been pumping iron all of its life. It’s every inch of a muscle car.
The SS was built in Australia — emphasis on was because production ceased at the conclusion of the 2017 model year.
The SS is equipped with an LS-3 6.2 liter V-8 pumping out 415 horsepower developing 415 pound-feet of torque exclusively to the rear wheels. King had a cold air intake added to jack the hp to 430.
The LS-3 is the same engine that is in the C-6 Chevrolet Corvette, King added.
The SS has a zero to 60 time of a blazing 4.9 seconds and a quarter mile count at 13.3 seconds at 107.6 mph. The top end speed is 180 mph, but King believes that a limiter will keep any driver from topping 150 mph. He has not wound it up that high but he has had it to 85 and was impressed with the ease of reaching that speed.
There were 3,500 models of the SS built in 2014 and King was able to purchase one of two from Kelly Chevrolet. He purchased the car brand new and has put just 19,000 miles on it in seven years. It is absolutely immaculate inside and out and looks just like it had been driven by the showroom floor.
“The entire four years that they built them, they built just 13,000,” he said.
“For years there was a Monte Carlo SS, a Camaro SS, Nova SS (Super Sport package) but this is the actual model SS,” King said.
In 2013, King was looking for something new. “I wanted something that had some muscle. I looked at (Dodge) Chargers but I wasn’t too impressed,” King said.
He had always been a Chevy guy at heart he added.
A friend of his had seen the SS as a concept car in Detroit. The friend recommended the car and King started looking for one. He found it at Kelly’s.
“The first year they were all dealer allotments,” King said. Kelly’s received two. King’s is the second one. He looked at the first, but it was black and he didn’t want a black car.
The car is a “Red-Hot 2.” If the light is right it takes on an orange tinge. Even in Wednesday’s dreary light conditions, the car stood out in the line.
The car is one of the first GM cars to include park assist. It has front and rear sensors and blind side sensors. Although it’s a six-speed automatic it can be put into sport mode. It’s equipped with paddle shifters on the steering wheel to allow the driver to shift the gears.
The interior is leather and suede and features heated and cooled seats.
The wheels are chrome plated aluminum featuring 19-inch diameter tires — 8.5 inches wide on the front and 9 inches on the rear.
The car is equipped with 14-inch Brembo brakes on the front. “If you do get crazy and go really fast, it will slow you down in a hurry,” King said.
The tires on King’s SS are softer summer tires because this car hibernates in cold weather. King recalled trying to move it from one garage to another early one winter and nearly becoming stuck in a half inch of snow because the tires were simply not made to negotiate slippery conditions.
“If you look at it from the side, it looks like an Audi or a BMW,” King said.
Trim packages were limited on the SS, King said. You could get either a sunroof or a full-size spare tire. King picked the sunroof.
The original list price for an SS with a power sunroof in 2014 was nearly $46,000.
“It’s a true sport car that’s really well balanced. It handles like a Camaro or a Corvette,” King said.