In 1957, GM introduced the world to the Chevy SS, a sports car based on the Corvette. Though the Chevy SS concept was never built, the SS moniker came to designate all performance Chevy’s, starting with the Impala. For over 50 years, the SS moniker has been a key component for Chevrolet’s performance vehicles, and nobody would associate it with any other brand.

So why now, all these decades later, has GM finally decided to trademark the SS moniker as Autoblog is reporting?

The trademark has Autoblog speculating (again) about a new model called the Chevy SS. Yet we’re less and less sure that is the case. More likely, GM will be making a SS “sub-brand” not unlike Ford’s SVT or Chrysler’s SRT groups. A new SS brand would allow GM to build themselves a new sort of halo car, without undercutting the Corvette.

Then again, it could be that new GM wants to simply protect its stake in the SS moniker. It’s really hard to tell, and while wishful thinking may lead us to believe that a civilian version the the Chevy Caprice PPV is on its way as the Chevy SS, the reality of harsh fuel economy standards makes it all the more uncertain.

What is GM up to? A new brand, a new car, or are they just covering their rear ends?