Open mic

Open mic: What’s the oddest badge-engineered classic car/truck?

I’ve always been strangely fascinated by badge-engineered cars. Badge engineering can undeniably dilute a brand’s image, but in certain cases it also leads to obscure cars that only the geekiest car enthusiasts still remember. The Kia Elan that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago is a good example of that, so is the Honda Crossroad, the Volkswagen Taro and the Alfa Romeo A15n. Did you know the Mercedes G was sold as a Panhard?


We’ve veered a little off topic because the VPS isn’t a classic by any means, it was introduced a decade ago. What do you think is the oddest, most off-beat badge-engineered classic car and/or truck?

One that future generations will write about is the Lancia Thema that was phased out recently. The heritage-laced nameplate doesn’t fool anyone, the Thema is a re-badged Chrysler 300. However, the 300 rides on the LX platform that uses a number of Mercedes w211- and w220-sourced components because it was developed in the Daimler-Chrysler era.

11 thoughts on “Open mic: What’s the oddest badge-engineered classic car/truck?

  1. Not a classic but: GAZ Volga Siber (2007-2010) which was essentially a Chrysler Sebring.
    or something older: Eagle Medallion (80’s) which was a re-badged Renault 21.

  2. The oldest and oddest thing I can think of is known as the Lone Star. It’s got a very convoluted history, and it’s in a car museum in San Marcos, Texas. Word has it that it was badge engineered from something else but advertised as being built in Texas.

  3. There are quite a few odd Honda/Rover confections such as the first gen Land Rover Discovery sold as a Honda Crossroad in Japan, but the oddest, because it was sold alongside ‘real’ Honda Concertos in some European markets, is the Honda Concerto Diesel which was a Rover 218 with Honda badges and wheel trims. Of course the 200/Concerto had the same core but visually there was quite a lot of difference.

  4. The alfa romeo ar6 was only sold on the italian market and is a rebadged version of the 1980’s peugeot j5 van, while the ar8 is derived from the 1980’s iveco van

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