Rebadge Chaos: A Look Back

Today, we’re going to talk rebadges. I know what you’re thinking: a TTAC post about rebadges. Here comes an assault on General Motors. You can almost hear the GM PR department groaning, except for the recently departed Joel Ewanick, who doesn’t have time to groan because he’s too busy putting out a garage fire. But I’m going to leave GM out of this. Mostly. Instead, I’m going to focus on some of the more obscure rebadges from the last few decades. They were all badly conceived. Most were poorly executed. And none of them should’ve happened.

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Monday Mileage Champion: Lawdy! Lawdy!

Lawdy! Lawdy! Guess who’s 40!

Well, it happened. After a weekend where my daughter scores the game winning basket and the trade-ins numbered 6432, I hit the golden age of middle age.

As for the 1983 Jeep Grand Wagoneer in the picture, would you believe 403,224 miles? That little factoid was just the very tip of a long data drilldown.

Not to mention a few unusual future contests between the automakers in what will now be called the Trade-In Quality Index… or TIQI for short!

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Monday Mileage Champion: The Year In Review

It’s time to make a confession to the good folks at TTAC.

The mileage game is rigged.

How so? Well, approximately two-thirds of the vehicles that reach the 300k+ mark at an auction I attend will usually belong in one of four categories.

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Piston Slap: Modern Sleeper, Future Classic?
TTAC Commentator Halftruth writes:

Hey Sajeev,

While watching the Mecum auto auctions recently, a beautiful Plymouth GTX came thru on the auction block. It got me thinking about the rash of brand-icide we’ve seen these past ten or so years. As they pass, others come in.

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Piston Slap: Fix My Sunfire, Sanjeev!

TTAC Commentator Tankinbeans writes:

Hello Sanjeev –

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Junkyard Find: 2004 Pontiac Sunfire

Pontiac rolled with the Plastic Cladding Era about as far as it could, even as most other car manufacturers entered the 21st century in a de-cladifying mood. The Sunfire had cheerful molded plastic panels all over the place, but that isn’t enough to give this car the historical significance it needs to make it as a Junkyard Find. No, what made me pick up the camera when I saw this car is that the ’04 Sunfire is just about the last of the J Bodies, which makes it a close cousin to the Cadillac Cimarron d’Oro.

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Pontiac Grand Prix

When shopping for personal luxury coupes in the late 1970s, you might have bought the 1977 Mercury Cougar (seen in yesterday’s Junkyard Find), or maybe a Chrysler Cordoba, or perhaps even an AMC Matador Barcelona. If you wanted to go with a General Motors product for your long-hooded, big-on-the-outside/small-on-the-inside coupe, Pontiac had just the car: the Grand Prix!

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Junkyard Find: 1998 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP

The General produced quite a few not-so-quick front-drive cars with sporty-looking graphics and spoilers during the 1990s (e.g., the Beretta Z26), but the addition of an Eaton supercharger to the good old Buick V6 engine resulted in some fairly fast 90s machinery. Here’s a Grand Prix that had 240 horsepower at the front wheels during happier times.

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Junkyard Find: 1973 Pontiac Luxury LeMans

We’ll follow up yesterday’s ’73 VW Super Beetle Junkyard Find with another car from the same year. The Super Beetle listed at $2,499 and the Luxury LeMans four-door hardtop at $3,344… but now they are just so many tons of scrap metal.

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Junkyard Find: 1948 Pontiac Hearse

As I’ve mentioned before, Colorado is a hotbed of recreational hearse activity. This means that today’s Junkyard Find— spotted at the Brain Melting Colorado Junkyard— might be able to find someone willing to brave the rust and get this super-rare hearse back among the living.

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Junkyard Find: 1960 Pontiac Ventura

There’s a tendency to assume that a battered but reasonably solid Detroit car from the chrome-and-tailfins era is always going to be worth a bunch of money, but the real-world value of such cars turns out to be quite low in most cases. A ’57 Chevy coupe or ’59 Cadillac in fixer-upper condition, that’s real money, but a 1960 Pontiac sedan that’s been sitting for decades is lucky to fetch higher-than-scrap value. That’s a shame, because the ’60 Pontiac is a great-looking car.

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Piston Slap: To Test in 4WD…or Not?

Jonathon writes:

Hi Sajeev,

Long time reader, not a commenter though. I have simple situation, and a simple question. Last Friday my beloved, and owned from birth, 1995 Grand Prix GTP developed a head gasket leak. This is something I can, with father-in law help, tackle in the summer. However living in Northern Ontario, a driveway repair is just not an option right now. It’s time for a new ride.

Since all those years ago I did not give my wife (g.f. at the time) any option into the purchase, this time around it will be something we both are in love with. Sadly that leaves a V6 Mustang or the 2013 Genesis 3.8 out. Also we lost our niece at the beginning of the year in a highway car accident that killed three other teenagers (the quality of highway maintenance is now privatized and sub-par). Anyways, that has my wife eying a 4×4\awd even more then ever.

Top on her list is a 2012 Wrangler Sahara Unlimited (bare bones except auto & A\C). The mileage for this is 16\20. Our car, new, apparently was 16\24. From our sleepy little city to Toronto is ~360km. At the current 1.28\l, it would mean another $14 there and back for one of our escapes to the big city. So the question I have is, when the EPA tested the wrangler did they do it in 4wd, so that we could expect to see better mileage, or 2wd, and that is what we should expect?

Regards,

Jonathan

ps…anyone have any suggestions for a driveway mechanic preparing to replace a headgasket on a 1995 Pontiac 3.4 with DOHC?

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Pontiac Bonneville Brougham

Here’s a Junkyard Find that really takes me back. My dad bought a Bonneville new in 1979, and it seemed like a very nice car when I was 13 years old. A few years later, I borrowed the Bonneville to take my date to the high-school prom (in spite of this being the early 1980s, I did not wear a robin’s-egg-blue tuxedo, though now I wish I had), and I felt classier than Frank Sinatra in a brand-new ’61 Imperial. A few years after that, I was given the now-quite-worn-out Bonneville to make the drive between the San Francisco Bay Area and my new home in Southern California… and it crapped out every 100 yards while trying to climb the Grapevine. So, mixed feelings when I saw this very similar ’81 Bonneville Brougham in a Denver self-service yard.

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Junkyard Find: 1993 Pontiac Bonneville SSEi

Yesterday’s Junkyard Find from 1993 wasn’t the kind of car most of us would find interesting enough to seek out today (though I’m considering buying a Dynasty, caging it, and starting a new race series: Spec Dynasty). Today’s ’93 car is a different story. A Bonneville with 205 supercharged horses under the hood? I’ll take one!

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Junkyard Find: 1979 Pontiac Sunbird Safari Station Wagon

Until I spotted this 1979 Chevy Monza wagon in The Crusher’s waiting room last year, I had forgotten that GM slapped Monza and Sunbird badges on the (Monza ancestor) Chevy Vega wagon at the tail end of the 1970s. Then, last week, I discovered this Sunbird Safari at another Denver self-service yard. Such history to be uncovered in the junkyards of Denver!

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  • Ajla GM didn't do this even when Corvette sales and cocaine use were at their peak.
  • Dwford How many more wealthy performance car buyers does Chevy think they can drag into their showroom full of middle of the road crossovers? I guess they will find out
  • SCE to AUX It's been done before, with varied success:Ford --> LincolnHyundai --> GenesisGM --> XLR (Cadillac), ELR (Cadillac)VW Touareg --> Porsche CayenneI suspect GM is trying to avoid the Mustang fiasco (which is working for Ford, BTW), by not making the Corvette name a sub-brand - only its hardware.(In the Mustang's case, YTD 46% of "Mustang" branded vehicles are the Mach-E, but they share no hardware. GM's plan is much different and less controversial.)Back to the sub-brand: the XLR and ELR experiments were total duds, borrowing hardware from the Corvette and Volt respectively. Both sullied Cadillac's name - not Chevy's.
  • Art Vandelay I don’t care what they do with the brand. But I do want to see how a mid engined platform spawns a 4 door and a crossover
  • Varezhka If they’re going to do this, might as well go all the way and make it a standalone brand instead of a Chevy sub-brand. They already have a unique emblem, after all. Shouldn’t there be enough empty former Hummer, Saab, or Cadillac dealer showrooms to house them?