By on April 9, 2018

We’ve already seen this happen. A manufacturer discontinues a model, but can’t help but feel the nameplate deserved a longer life. So, it keeps it around, waiting to affix it to the exterior of a new model — even if it’s in a different segment than before. Even if it’s a different bodystyle. Yes, we remember the old Chrysler Pacifica crossover. We also remember when the Aspen was a sedan with rust-prone fenders. Hey, how ’bout that Taurus X?

Mitsubishi recently got in on the name game with its Eclipse Cross crossover. Why not grab a handful of a defunct model’s hard-earned cachet and sprinkle it over something new and altogether different? It’s an automaker’s prerogative, but our eyes couldn’t have rolled back further into our heads when we heard the news. Yes, one day we’ll all be driving crossovers (or trucks, but nothing else), but really? Eclipse?

Clearly, automakers are willing to make this controversial plunge. Which begs the question: what nameplate’s next for a utility vehicle resurrection?

By all accounts, the Ford Fusion midsize sedan is not long for this world, but that doesn’t mean its name can’t live on. Ford hasn’t officially revealed the model’s future (or lack thereof), but it wouldn’t be odd to see the Blue Oval reuse the name on a new model.

Hell, maybe we’ll one day see a two-box Chevrolet with “Impala” on it.

As the flood of crossovers seems unending, there’ll be plenty of opportunities. Many run the risk of offending. While the Mach 1 wasn’t a model in its own right, it was a very particular Ford Mustang — one many feel should not return as an electric SUV. Heritage is sometimes sacred. Still, who among us would be surprised to see the Dart nameplate return on, say, a small Dodge crossover? What about Intrepid? Avenger?

Ford’s Galaxie and Galaxie XL sounds ripe for reuse on a large (and larger, extended wheelbase) SUV. It’s a good thing Ford already has product in that space.

All right, B&B, let’s toss some names in the ring. What nameplates of the past do you feel will one day grace the exterior of a new utility vehicle? And, will it make you upset?

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80 Comments on “QOTD: Drop the Body, Save the Name?...”

  • avatar

    This is fish in a barrel: Ford Crown Victoria and Lincoln Continental.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    All vehicles should have names rather than emulating the Teutonic use of letters/numbers that in a great many cases no longer even attempt to make sense.

    Wildcat, Riviera, Thunderbird, Meteor, Crown Victoria, Javelin, Corvair, Road Runner, Super Bee, Monaco, Cutlass, Bel Air, Firebird (TransAm), Roadmaster, Nomad, Le Mans, de Ville. All past North American vehicle/model names that should be back in use.

    • 0 avatar

      Corvair is still remembered as the car that was unsafe at any speed so I can’t ever see GM bringing that name plate back. What would be cool to see is them using sub models like the Greenbrier (on a hybrid or all electric Express/Savana) or Rampside on an Express/Savana with a cutaway rear section and fold up ramp instead of the side doors. Lakewood would also work on an SUV offering.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Think of the ironic hipster demographic. The very ones that would generally dismiss GM.

        • 0 avatar

          I would eagerly by a Corvair! But I wonder how many hipsters know anything about it, unless GM starts an Instagram account in its name.

          I was watching a Doug Demaro video the other day about the old Cherokee, and he was acting like he discovered penicillin when he found out that the old pull style headlight switch could also turn on the dome light when twisted. If a car nut like Doug doesn’t know about a feature that was around for decades, what is the car literacy of the average joe?

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            DeMaro did not know about that??????????
            Sort of strains his credibility doesn’t it?

            And if I concede that Corvair will not be resurrected (and I still believe that the urban ironic/hipster demographic would love it as it is probably one car that they have heard/read about) then what about all the other listed names.

            And why did the Buick division have some many good names.

            And forgot the Allante. Just so that Kelly Bundy could promote it.

          • 0 avatar

            I can’t decide if DeMuro is a genuine idiot or he merely plays the fool very well.

            Leaning toward genuine.

        • 0 avatar
          The ultimate family-friendly hybrid vehicle is finally here.


      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        I always had the impression as someone with friends and family who owned them that the air in Corvair meant air cooled.
        It’s doubtful we’ll ever see another air cooled vehicle though a air cooled gas-electric hybrid world be interesting.

    • 0 avatar

      “All vehicles should have names rather than emulating the Teutonic use of letters/numbers that in a great many cases no longer even attempt to make sense.”

      I wouldn’t want BMW or Mercedes trying to affix names on their cars if VW is anything to go by, even if X3 Zsquaredtothe4thpowerDrive sounds stupid.

  • avatar

    Lacrosse completely new and different. tech, price.

    should be Roadmaster. few Lacrosse buyers are repeat. diff dem.

  • avatar

    I bought a Mitsubishi in October. I saw the manager who worker through the paperwork with me at the auto show. He asked me what I thought of the Eclipse Cross. I said “you mean the new Aztec?” (Check out the ridiculous split glass hatch with deep slope cutting into cargo space). He acted wounded but conceded the point.

    Calling it Eclipse wouldnt be so bad if it wasnt such a phoned in and cynical effort. Also the “cross” just seems even more cynical.

    I guess I’m ok with repurposing name plates as long as they put some effort in.

    • 0 avatar

      When I heard about the Eclipse Cross, I joked that Mitsubishi had “sullied the glorious history of the Eclipse forever”. I was quickly rebutted with the correct assertion that Mitsubishi had done as much with every Eclipse they sold from 2000 forward. Those were no less phoned in/cynical. This marque has not seen glory in nearly 20 years.

    • 0 avatar

      Sadly, BMW and Mercedes also have their versions of the Aztec.

    • 0 avatar

      I have no problem with the Eclipse Cross name, because my only memories were of my classmate’s janky ’01 with non-matching wheel covers, but I just don’t understand where it’s supposed to sit in the lineup. The Outlander Sport was already the compact CUV, and the Outlander was the mid-size, and neither of them have gone away.

  • avatar

    Bring back Le Baron, LTD, and Rnndezvous.

    • 0 avatar

      LTD: when you want to convey a model’s premium status, but don’t want to spend money on superfluous lettering.

      Beancounter: “Sorry, you can either get chrome trim OR the “I”s, “M” and “D”.”

  • avatar

    Valiant- perfect for a mid size CUV.

    Duster- perfect for the “sport” model of the above CUV

    Fury- perfect for the SPORT model of the above CUV with twin turbos.

  • avatar

    Electra, if GM doesn’t take the advice of the editorial staff here and kill off Buick.

  • avatar

    BMW and Mercedes have had some success with the sportier hatchback versions of their SUVs (i.e. X6, X4, GLE Coupe). I wonder how a “coupe” version of the next model Ford Explorer would work with the Thunderbird name.

    • 0 avatar

      “Explorer Sport” would fit better IMO, with Explorer ST replacing the current Sport.

      Besides, a “coupe” Edge would be more logical, even though I despise those hunchback monstrosities from zee Germans.

      Explorer Sport Trac = unibody pickup version (I’ve mentioned this before) to compete with Honda Ridgeline, VW Atlas Tanoak.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        Occasionally I’ll see an Explorer Sport Trac on the road. The proportions are just right with just enough of a bed. Plus the Adrenaline performance version with the 4.6 was a rarity.

  • avatar

    Ford Fusion was actually the name of a small MPV in Europe before it was hastily chosen for our sedan once Ford lost its legal battle with Pep Boys over the Futura name.

    As i mentioned the other day, Fairlane would be a good name for a large RWD Ford car (that’s admittedly never going to happen, even though it could share development costs with Mustang and the upcoming Explorer).

    I can’t believe no one has yet mentioned the revival of names in China. They have a Ford Escort battling a Chevy Cavalier, for crying out loud. And in Inida, there is a Ford Aspire (sedan version of the Figo hatch).

    I don’t want a Dodge Baracuda, I think it should be a Chrysler PLC. Chrysler Voyager seems ripe for use on a 7 seat crossover.

    I also don’t want to see the name Cutlass used on anything other than a revived Oldsmobile. Speaking of such, I think that car makers could get by with a single make+model revival, like an Oldsmobile Cutlass through Buick/GMC dealers (based off Camaro, with more luxury, interior room and so on), likewise, a larger and more refined Mustang sold as the Mercury Cougar.

    • 0 avatar

      I had an idea a few years ago for a new Toyota Tercel. RWD, basically a smaller version of the 86, more boxy/upright with more interior room. Hatchback, coupe, sedan. All three would share styling traits with their first-generation Tercel forefathers. I suppose the Starlet name would be more true to a RWD setup, but I liked the first generation Tercel a lot, and an economy-focused version of the Toyobaru would help pay for the development costs of the platform.

    • 0 avatar

      Ford was naming all their cars with “E”

      Escort, escape, explorer, edge, expedition, excursion

      Then “F”

      fiesta, Focus, fusion, flex

      What is going on?

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t think Escort was part of the “E” theme, that was just SUVs after the homerun Explorer (originally it was “Ex_” before Escape and then Edge). The Escort name came from Europe, decades before the SUVs were even on the drawing board.

        There was a misguided effort to name all cars with an F. Thankfully, Mustang didn’t bow to this, and Taurus soon returned to replace the forgettable Five Hundred.

  • avatar

    Vista Cruiser!

    I always thought it was silly that Oldsmobile called its minivan a Silhouette instead of using that classic name.

  • avatar

    Town Car…

  • avatar

    Cherokee is probably the best example of what not to do when brining a nameplate back from the grave. Do not lead your core customers to believe it is returning as a new improved version of the discontinued model.

    Names that need to return:

    Buick Electra – EV
    Buick Rainier – remain SUV
    Chevrolet Apache – Offroad
    Chevrolet Cheyenne – V6, 2wd, regular cab, long bed, stick shift, 1/2 ton (real half ton) Silverado
    Ford Galaxie – minivan

    I care most about the brand names for other components though, mostly transmissions. Where is my Powerglide 8 speed, and my FlightPitch CVT and so forth?

  • avatar

    If Honda ever puts the Integra or Prelude names on CUV’s I may have to be placed on suicide watch.

    • 0 avatar

      Don’t give Acura any ideas!

    • 0 avatar

      I still say with Accord coupe gone, Prelude (as a sporty two door) is ripe for a come-back.

    • 0 avatar

      I wouldn’t be too upset by a Legend CUV that was a stretched MDX with a detuned version of the NSX turbo V6. (And I’m an owner of a ’95 Legend.)

      That’s the segment that captures the same buyers that were buying original Legends back in the day, and with a turbo (and possibly also the MDX Sport Hybrid’s hybrid system), and ideally some interior material upgrades, it would be a legit competitor to cars like the GLS, Q7, and the upcoming X7.

      • 0 avatar

        Considering how poorly the Honda Legend/Acura RLX sells in basically its only two markets (US/Japan), replacing them with a large CUV seems like a good idea.

        In the larger US market the CUV, and the luxury MPV in the Japanese domestic market have already replaced large sedans, afterall.

        I know Legend/RLX is basically Honda’s vanity project, but when they’re so ugly, does it really matter?

        (Honda Inspire was the Japanese market name for the imported from Ohio USDM Honda Accord. I think a rebadged Acura TL had that name before that.)

  • avatar

    I see as possible CUV names:

    Chrysler Town and Country
    Buick Electra (as a electric CUV)
    Buick Roadmaster
    Ford Galaxie
    Dodge Monaco
    Jeep Jeepster/Gladiator

  • avatar

    Two old names Ford could dust off for that smaller-than-Bronco CUV they teased are Falcon and Maverick.

    • 0 avatar

      Maverick was a rebadged Escape in Europe I believe. I think it lends itself to a small SUV’s intentions. It might be seen as a counter to the Nissan Rogue in name only, though, however I think Ford could pull it off since this will be far more off-road focused than the Nissan.

  • avatar

    It seems like a good time for Studebaker to bring back the Dictator.

  • avatar

    there have been so many good names, hard to even think of all.

    Chrysler 300 could be Le Baron
    Honda could name HRV – Passport
    Mitsu better bring Evolution back only without Lancer
    Acura could not do wrong remaning all their lineup – Legend, Integra, Prelude – all can be used. As of now, I still don’t know the difference between TLX, TSX and whatever.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Chrysler Imperial the new large luxury suv. Midsize Chrysler 5th Avenue crossover with more luxury than a Buick Encore for less money. Both upscale but rugged for the suburban soccer mom.

  • avatar

    Aspen could definitely come back
    Subaru XT never gets old, no matter the model.
    The Chrysler (lease) Conquest could be an entry level CUV…

  • avatar

    The Pacifica move was a pretty dumb one. Everyone is adding more CUV/SUV to their line, and FCA wasted such a great name on a minivan which no one cares about anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      Trucky McTruckface

      I thought it was an incredibly dumb move, pretty much for the exact opposite reason you suggest. Why on earth would you take the name of a strong selling minivan, a name that’s one of the oldest in the industry and actually still retains a bit of credibility, and replace it with the name of a total flop of a crossover that no one remembers?

      The fact that the also-slated-to-die Caravan is not only now going to be sold through 2019, but is still outselling the Pacifica is proof of the stupidity.

      If Chrysler wanted to stop selling two minivans, the correct move would have been to keep the Caravan and move the T&C name onto a CUV.

  • avatar

    Someone mentioned Silverado. Silverado still exists… it’s the name of every full sized Chevy truck model since 1999. And it’ll soon include the big heavy duty ex-Kodiaks. Perhaps they could bring back Scottsdale. Or the Bonanza. Remember those? I don’t know why they don’t use Blazer or GMC Jimmy anymore.

    I like JohnTaurus’ idea about reviving brands for select models. Cutlass or Vista Cruiser won’t work on anything but an Oldsmobile. Pontiac could come back with (for this article’s purpose) a Safari or Catalina. Plymouth Voyager makes sense.

    I miss Mercury for the names alone, though I’m not sure Cyclone or Comet would work for a CUV. Montego or Monterey might work. High end models could get the Colony Park treatment.

  • avatar

    Buick Riviera. Go kind of retro, and recall the styling of the 2nd gen (with hidden headlamps somehow? Please?) in all black, or even the 3rd gen boat tails. Heck, maybe even recall its cousin of that era, the 66 Toronado. A long, full size, mean highway cruising machine. It would probably have to be sedan instead of a coupe, but who cares.

    Make a wagon version. Call it the Buick Roadmaster.

    Offer both in a ‘GS’ trim with one of the engines and magnetic suspension from the Corvette or a Cadillac ‘V’ trim, respectively

    I’d put my money where my mouth is and buy one.

    The Ford Galaxie as an SUV is a great idea.

    The Dodge Daytona. Dodge has crazy fast cars in the right trims. The Daytona could be for those who don’t want the size of the Challenger/Charger. Make it a GLH trim….American answer to the Civic Type R?

    Acura’s cars when they had names were memorable. Now, they are not. The Legend I guess should come back as….what…some sort of BMW 6 series like thing?

    Also, outside of the idea of this game, but a car that should be here (probably as a Lexus…in very limited numbers) – The Toyota Century. Buicks with that name were crap. The Toyota model is glorious, excessive, and is more like American luxury than Lincoln or Cadillac is right now.

  • avatar

    I’d like to see some of those big Detroit cars come back.

    Buick Electra 225, the deuce and a quarter. Make it some sort of decent looking crossover, electric, with a range of at least 225 miles. Bolt has a 238 mile range, but I think the big thing electric car makers are missing is what is the average or minimum range, yeah you can get 238 miles out of a Bolt, if you drive like granny at 55mph, at sea level, on the Florida turnpike in January when its 72 degrees outside. IMO marketing a minimum range in the worst conditions(ie -5 in rural Vermont going up a mountain in the winter) is the way to go.

    I’d also like to see some of those cool barge Detroit wagon names reappear on some big utility vehicles, maybe as a special trim line. Chevrolet Kingswood, Chevrolet Nomad, Pontiac Safari(lol never) Ford Country Squire, Buick Roadmaster(ie a fancy Chevy Suburban/Tahoe with Buick styling cues, maybe a different interior, would sell like gangbusters since people love different gingerbread on the same damn thing)

    I really think GM is losing out on some sales by not offering the decked out Buick Roadmaster SUV, same full size SUV as they always sell in two different lengths, but chrome laded styling, slightly different dash design.

    I mean come on why haven’t the bean counters figured this one out yet. They had the GMT 360(you know the 00’s Trailblazer) mid size SUV sold under Buick, Chevy, GMC, Isuzu, Oldsmobile and Saab. They had the Lambda SUV(Buick Enclave) sold under the Buick, GMC, Chevy and Saturn nameplates.

    GM is the best at making demand through 4 different channels for the same damn product, but at really different price points.

  • avatar

    sedan deville,fleetwood,seville and eldorado.

  • avatar

    yes electra 225,bonneville,monte carlo,riviera,98 anyone?

  • avatar

    BMW should use Bavaria on their largest SUV instead of X8 or whatever…

  • avatar

    *flips through his 1945-1980 VIN decoding book*

    * Chevelle
    * Nomad
    * Nova
    * Riviera
    * Skylark

    * Fairlane
    * Galaxie

    * Belvedere
    * Hornet
    * Gladiator
    * New Yorker
    * Valiant
    * Wayfairer

    Seriously, how has Nomad not been repurposed yet on some GM CUV?

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