Welcome to the Team Sid!
Most folks on this board hate clones. They are more frequently in facvor of a restoration or if modified keeping all original parts and limiting any cutting or permanent modifications to a reproduction parts where you save the original part you remove from the car and replace with a cheaper lower quality reopo part that no one cares if you carve it up.
As to the SS identity crisis the only thing a SS package bought you on a 1966 Impala was some cheap (well back when it was new the SS trim cost pocket change) pot metal trim and bucket seats. You can install bucket seats wiuth out the SS trim pieces without upsetting anyone except a true SS owner wanting to use the seats you found to install in your car.
In the 1966 Chevelle SS when you ordered the SS package in addition to bucket seats you got a limited production high horse engine, heavy duty cooling, heavy duty electrical, and a special heavy duty suspension package, plus those same pot metal SS badges. With the Camaro and Nova in following years the SS treatment was the same, an SS car really was different from the rest of the heard.
You can build a true SS without the trim by installing all of the police car parts that were used back in 1966 or newer more sophisticated modern replacements such as using QA-1 , Koni, or Bilstein shocks in place of the factory sourced Walker brand. Another example would be sourcing a Griffin HD aluminum radiator in place of the stock Harrison copper and brass unit. Paint covers a lot of restoration sins.
As to power I would go with a set of painted Orange aluminum heads on top of a 496 cubic inch or bigger big block Chevy engine with an appropriate 390 horse 427 decal. Sit your BBC in front of a 4L80e or even a newer double over drive 6L90e transmission to live behind the added torque and to mitigate on mileage. A 12 bolt rear end from Moser and it could cruise to any car show and look just as it does now only being able to kick gravel in the grill of most any other car on the road.
Now all you have to do is win the Power Ball lottery. Good Luck!
Thanks Dave and everyone, you guys hit the nail on the head with several comments.
To be honest, it doesn't matter that much to me if I toss SS badges all over the car, because I love it as and for what it is. A Damn nice looking car in exceptionally good condition, and I'm blessed to have it.
The reason for my question is, as you mentioned, it seems as though when most guys buy a Malibu, the first thing they do is toss on the SS hood, badges...etc, because in my neck of the woods, if you had a Malibu and didn't SS it, people would think you had a few screws a little loose.
I was just curious if this was, well, sort of "expected" with the Impala crowd.
It's nice to see that most of us take pride with what we have and stay true to the car.
Thanks for the replies that confirmed my desired intentions.
Sticking with the "building it as I want" stand, I would like to swap the 327 for a GM Performance crate 427, bucket seats, (Chevelle) type of center console and a, (as crazy as it sounds, a horseshoe/Staple) floor shifter. I've just always had a thing for those shifters.
This may be a topic for another forum but I'm not "extremely" mechanically inclined, so could someone direct me to some good threads on swapping SBC to BBC?
Thanks again for the replies,