By Colin Date

When it comes right down to it, Chevrolet’s storied performance history can be summed up in two simple letters — “SS”. Sure, names like Chevelle, Camaro and Nova conjure up visions of tire-smoking prowess. And of course, cubic-inch call-outs such as “396”, “427” and “454” all bring to mind big torque and power. But the “SS” moniker is the all-encompassing term that will forever symbolize not only power and performance, but a level of pure class as well.

Where did it all start? In 1961, with the introduction of the SS option on the full-size Impala. This was the year the legendary 409 cube V8 came into play as well. The SS/409 combination was Chevy’s response to Ford’s 390 powered Galaxie. You might say 1961 was the year that the serious horsepower wars began!

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