hen you’re one of the big names that rule the roost in the automotive manufacturing world, you can pretty much do whatever you damn well please. And whether it stems from lazy marketing ploys, or the desire to pool resources to make more cash, automakers have struck deals to share models/ technology with one another — and rebadge them as if they were their own — for many years. This weird practice has meant that many great cars could be sold in markets they would otherwise have never been seen in. But it didn’t always work out, and just as many were mashed into horrendous parts-bin creations.
Some of the better examples were the likes of the 4G63-equipped Mitsubishi Starion, sold as a Conquest under the Chrysler, Dodge, and Plymouth brands in the US, and the 13B-powered Holden HJ Premiers known as the Mazda Roadpacer in Japan (although this one is still under debate amongst the automaker’s fans, and has even been dubbed the worst car ever made). I rate it, even if they were severely underpowered for their weight, and cost a small fortune to acquire.
Then there were the fizzlers: Toyota got the short end of the stick in a deal with General Motors (GM) when it was burdened with rebadged righthand-drive Chevrolet Cavaliers to sell in Japan. The Saab 9-2X took a second-gen Subaru Impreza and did little more than slap a ‘facelift’ on it that I would liken to the original example being driven into a wall head on, and then bogged over to create a smooth finish.
There are thousands of the bastards out there. Hell, even my Commodore joins the list of rebadged specials. While it may look a fair sight different, the VN body is actually a re-engineered Opel Omega/ Senator, and perhaps as a clause within the aforementioned GM and Toyota deal, it went on to be rebadged as the Toyota Lexcen for the Australian market. I’m not too sure how that was received by the public back in 1989, an Australian-made car with ‘Jappa’ badges on it? Blasphemy.
Regardless, it was this unlikely pairing that cemented my decision — as I recently announced on Instagram (@jaden_nzpcmagazine) — to make my engine bay home to a 2JZ-GTE. The motor and box are already fitted, but there is still a fair way to go before it starts looking like a complete car again.
Keep an eye on the ’gram for regular progress updates.