2014 Chevrolet SS Pace Car

When the checkered flag finally fell at the 2014 Daytona 500 late Sunday night, it was over Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Chevrolet SS -inspired Sprint Cup race car . Earnhardt’s win came after a long day of racing and waiting with several multi-car pile-ups and an excruciating six hour rain delay.

While Earnhardt’s Chevy SS took much of the spotlight, it wasn’t the only SS circling the steep banks at the Great American Race; not considering the other tube-frame SS-look-a-likes trailing behind Jr.’s number 88 car. Pacing the race was the real deal, a 2014 Chevrolet SS modified only with safety strobe lights and Daytona 500 decals.

The SS is powered by GM’s 6.2-liter LS3 V-8 making 415 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of rear-wheel-spinning torque. A six-speed automatic with paddle shifters sends power to the rear differential sporting a 3.27:1 final drive ratio. Unfortunately, this four-door Camaro isn’t offered with a clutch pedal, but the automatic does allow for fairly quick shifts.

Inside the SS is a cabin showcasing GM’s new-found efforts in interior quality with materials and fit and finish on par with offerings from Cadillac and Buick . Heavily bolstered leather seats, a leather-covered steering wheel, and suede-like material give the car an upscale feel while buttons and controls have a weighted, rich feel to them.

For pacing duties, the SS is fitted with an aerodynamic light bar up top and strobes in the head and taillights. Daytona 500 decals and stripes are stuck to the SS’ Red Hot 2 paint color. Lower profile tires and optional chrome wheels further separate the car from regular production units.

Click past the jump to watch the video of the burning SS and read more about the standard Chevrolet SS.

Chevy SS Pace Car Catches Fire

The red example pacing the Daytona 500 wasn’t the only SS in Daytona last week. This blue SS pacing the Sprint Unlimited exhibition race made quite a scene when wiring rigged for its external safety lights caught fire as it rounded turn 4 while setting the pace for the race pack. Fire crews were able to extinguish the flames without losing the entire car. Fortunately, no one was injured in the debacle, except for maybe Chevrolet’s pride.

Chevrolet SS

Chevrolet SS Performance

Coincidentally making its debut at the 2013 Daytona Speed Week, the Chevrolet SS is still in its first year of production – at least as a Chevy SS. The car itself, save for the reworked grille and bowtie badging, is a Holden Commodore. The four-door, rear-drive, V-8-powered sedan has been around for quite some time. In fact, it first invaded the U.S. as the Pontiac G8 GXP .

In current form, the SS produces a respectable 415 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque from its 6.2-liter LS3 V-8. Power is routed through an old-school six-speed transmission that does feature paddle shifters. Unfortunately, no manual is offered.

Starting price for an SS begins at $43,475 and rises to roughly $47,110 with options – although only two exist: a $900 moonroof and $500 full-size spare tire. GM is only importing a limited number, so if the SS is your idea of an American sedan with real muscle, you’d better act fast.

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