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GM has no problem with that imitation Chinese C1 corvette

With auto shows delayed for the rest of the world, the 2020 edition of the Beijing Motor Show was a breath of fresh air for enthusiasts. For the purists, it was also a major dose of WTH thanks to a new model from Songsan Motors called the SS Dolphin.

Unveiled with a plug-in hybrid powertrain, the SS Dolphin seemed to replicate the look of the classic C1, but with a modern twist. You could call it a copy or some kind of weird tribute, but the two were clearly connected in some form, since the Chinese manufacturer also included old photos of celebrities driving the C1 on its official page, featuring the SS Dolphin unveiling.

Simply put, the SS Dolphin is to the Corvette C1

what the Inéos Grenadier is to the Land Rover Defender. The difference between the two is that while Land Rover took Ineos to court over the similar design (and ultimately lost), GM appears to have no problem with the Chinese imitation.

Kevin Kelly, Chevrolet’s senior automotive and crossover communications manager, told CarScoops that Songsan Motors has not asked for permission to copy the appearance of the iconic C1. That said, “They do not use any of our trademarked names or logos and the design is not identical to C1”, so it doesn’t appear that GM will take any kind of action against the Chinese automaker.

It could be argued that (some) Chinese companies are adept at copying famous and established brands to create cheap imitations, and not just in the auto industry. Whether that was the intent or not, Sonsang carefully applied the same rules to his SS Dolphin, creating a car that clearly resembled the original without using anything that could get it into legal trouble. You could tell it was meant as a C1 copy but, at the same time, I knew it wasn’t meant as a replica.

The SS Dolphin is powered by a 1.5 turbo petrol engine and an electric motor, with a 16 kWh battery pack that offers a range of 56-62 miles (90-100km) without having to rely on fuel. Total power of 315 hp and 535 Nm (395 lb. ft.) Takes it to 100 km / h (62 mph) in 4.9 seconds. The interior is in step with the times, with a floating touchscreen and fully digital dashboard.

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