While much of America buzzes over possible story lines for the next Star Wars movie or eagerly anticipates the next Metallica album, GM performance enthusiasts spend countless hours speculating on the next creation to emerge from Jon Moss' garage. Unknown to most of the general public, Jon has emerged as a cult hero among die-hard GM performance fans. Jon has achieved this status by heading a group within Chevrolet that makes the show cars we wish GM would put into regular production. Sometimes these concept vehicles, such as the Impala SS, do make it to the assembly line, while others, such as the fabled ZL1 Camaro, never make it beyond the drool-inducing prototype.
GMHTP had the opportunity to sit down with Jon at the All GM Nationals at Carlisle, Pennsylvania and ask him a few questions. We really wanted to know if his job was as cool as it seems. We were convinced however, that he would paint as boring and mundane a picture as he could (If we had the keys to the ZL1, we would too.) We did get a better understanding of who Jon is, what he does and how he ended up as GM's in-house performance guru. We also gained some insight on the future of performance in the General's lineup. With GM losing the F-Body platform and the SSR appearing to be the only new performance vehicle on the horizon, we asked Jon what GM had left to compete with Ford's impressive lineup. We also wondered if there were any attempts being made by GM to offer a legitimate contender in the exploding Sport Compact market.
Jon spoke very candidly about the competition from the blue oval crowd, as well as the game of catch-up GM is now playing in their attempt to break into a market segment dominated by the Japanese. While not all the news is good, Jon did seem confident that GM's future offerings would satisfy the demands of performance-oriented customers. Jon was reluctant to go into any detail regarding the Sigma platform, but we sensed this reluctance and the slight smirk on his face were both good indicators that the future looks brighter than he is letting on at this point.
GMHTP: What exactly is your title at General Motors and what does that mean?Moss: I am the manager of all of GM's special vehicles. What that means is I manage all the brand-driven concepts for all GM brands in North America.
GMHTP: You're credited with bringing us the Impala SS. Do you see your role as a person who brings performance cars to the masses or someone who focuses on building show cars?Moss: Let me go back a little bit. Do I push the envelope on a lot of these cars? That is true, but just to clarify; all of these projects are generated by the brands themselves. Once a year we go to them requesting projects and we take these projects and make them reality. The projects that brands give us fall in a variety of different categories, from the pace cars you see to performance vehicles, truck or car, to vehicles that are going to push the envelope and might pique customer interest to actually put them in production, like the Impala SS or the Xtreme S10 pickup truck. Those things started out as initial production-based concepts and with the response so huge from the dealer body as well as the customers, the brand teams than take it and move it forward to make it a reality. So, our role actually falls in many flavors, but our basic direction really does come from the brand team. Now we may have some influence on the design or the performance application or maybe push the envelope a little bit on a lot of these projects, but the initial thoughts come from the brand teams.
GMHTP: What can you tell us about the SSR regarding production information, engine, platform, etc.?Moss: Well I can't tell a whole lot to be honest with you. It is going to be a V8, rear-wheel drive and it is going to have the larger wheels and tires.