Badge Engineered Cars That Actually Weren’t Bad

My last list of badge engineered cars, was comprised of cars that sucked. This list is almost the exact opposite. No long introduction is needed here, so here is the list of “Badge Engineered Cars That Actually Weren’t Bad.”


Holden Commodore (VE/VF)-Pontiac G8/Chevy SS/Caprice PPV- People who know me personally, know that the G8, SS and Caprice PPV are my favorite four door muscle cars. They are perfect for moving the family and leaving black lines all over the parking lot. The G8, SS and Caprice are based off of the Holden Commodore VE/VF platform which is known for large sedans, with great potential for power. Seeing as Holden is going away, another rendition using the same platform is as good as dead, which means the Chevy SS is probably the last you will see of the Holden Commodore’s family.


Holden Monaro-Pontiac GTO/Vauxhaull Monaro- Some of y’all would say that the 04-06 GTO was a fail. That’s preposterous! Granted the Aussie flavored GTO wasn’t true to the heritage and the styling was boring and conservative, the GTO still wasn’t a bad ride. The killer was the latter of the last senetance. During 2004-06, the muscle car wars had revived and with the Charger, 300, Mustang and Magnum swinging for the fences, the GTO had to carry the torch for GM as a whole. Had the GTO took on the styling that the concept did, Pontiac may have hung around a bit longer.


Toyota 86-Subaru BRZ- This one originally started as the Scion FRS and Subaru BRZ, but after the demise of the Scion brand, the Toyota 86 is the replacement. Regardless, none of the cars are bad in any way, shape or form. They have noted as slow, but the 86/BRZ have also seen 2JZ mods and more, making them worthwhile. Did I mention that the duo is one of the few, true sports cars left?


Honda NSX-Acura NSX- The irony is in the name. The Honda NSX and the Acura NSX are basically the exact same car. One has a Honda badge and the other has an Acura badge. Granted the Honda NSX was mainly sold in Japan and had a few more special editions, the Acura NSX did the same thing, thus both versions of the NSX were generally the same. They were both meant to bang with Ferrari’s in every category, with exception to the price.


Opel GT- Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Sky- These were the cars that aided Pontiac and Saturn’s relevancy. The Solstice was a bit more bulbous and the Sky was a lot sexier, but both were the sports cars the respective brands needed. Both were derived from the Opel GT, which design-wise favored the Sky. The Solstice saw a V8 swap and both received the Ecotec 2.0L Turbo four which cranked out 260 horses, in the GXP and Red Line trim. Had these cars actually came a little bit before the bailouts of 08, both brands may have hung around a bit longer.


Chevy Avalanche- Cadillac Escalade EXT- The Avalanche was fairly successful for Chevy. It offered the versatility of a truck, with the room of a SUV. So why not expand another popular ride in GM’s stable, the Cadillac Escalade, by offering an “Escalade truck.” The Escalade EXT was quite literally the Cadillac of trucks. It wasn’t a bad ride either, with it being fairly comfortable. Although sales towards the end of the Avalanche and Escalade EXT’s life cycle declined, the demand is still very much there. Some clean examples, still run near $20,000. 


Nissan Skyline- Infiniti G35/37/Q-The Skyline has a history. Most notorious is the R34, which turned everyone into import tuner fanatics. However, did you know that the Infiniti G35, G37 or Q-Series that we know and love, actually has the Skyline nameplate in Japan? Yes, the G35/G37/Q in America is a Skyline in Japan. I guess it works. With a fair bit of tuning, any of the American models can carry the name. The only difference between the American and Japanese models, besides drive configuration, is that the G/Q series from Inifiti is pushed more upmarket in America. 


Mitsubishi Eclipse-Eagle Talon/Plymouth Laser- I know that Chrysler and Mitsubishi teamed up to produce various cars back in the 90s. We have the Mitsubishi GTO (or 3000GT for those of stateside) which they used as the Dodge Stealth. We also have the Starion, which was known as the Conquest over here. The Eclipse and Talon/Laser was the genesis to the partnership. They both had turbo options, FWD or AWD, and the hood bulge that left clearance for the 4G63 engine’s cam sprockets. The DSM (Diamond Star Motors) partnership yielded these amazing rides, unfourtnatley, when Chrysler left, so did the amazing rides.


Lamborghini Gallardo/Huracan- Audi R8- Seeing as both Lamborghini and Audi are owned by Volkswagen, it doesn’t surprise me that the two brands would share a platform. The Gallardo and later, the Huracan share a platform with Audi’s R8. The Gallardo/Huracan and R8 both use the 5.2L V10, with exception to the first generation R8 which used a V8. The Gallardo was the first non-flagship model from Lamborghini that saw mass success and the same goes for the R8.

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