For decades, the letters SS on a vehicle from GM meant it was something special.

Short for Super Sport, the SS designation was first applied on a performance variant of the 1961 Chevrolet Impala and would eventually appear on a handful of the automaker’s other models, both here and overseas.

Now, a patent filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has revealed that GM has applied for a trademark for “SS”.

As Autoblog points out, using SS as a model variant or trim level doesn’t normally warrant trademark protection, so why has GM decided to do it now? It may have to do with the recent announcement of Chevrolet launching a new nameplate, which it will use on both a showroom model and its 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup race car.

This makes sense as it’s long been rumored that the Chevrolet brand would one day launch a new performance flagship sedan positioned above the Impala. This new sedan, which at one point was believed to be called an SS, is expected to be a version of Australia’s Holden Commodore, which was last sold in the U.S. as the Pontiac G8 and is still sold, albeit in long-wheelbase form, as the Chevrolet Caprice police cruiser.

To further fuel the speculation fire, Holden is currently working on a facelifted version of its Commodore due towards the end of the year and this car, code-named the VF, is expected to styled more like a Chevrolet.

Stay tuned for an update.

2011 Holden Commodore SSV

2011 Holden Commodore SSV