• Nov 15, 2006
In his article entitled "Car owners can fake it with add-on luxury emblems," USA Today's Chris Woodyard tells us all about how people will buy items like AMG or M badges to try and pass off their cars as something they're not. Now, before jumping all over Chris for reporting news that we already know, keep in mind that the average USA Today reader sitting down with his complimentary paper as he digs into the free continental breakfast at the Day's Inn is probably not as attuned to the trends as we enthusiast-types are.

Sadly, this business of highlighting your inferiority complex by trying to pimp your vehicle as a better model than it is is really nothing new. Over the years, I'm certain that I've seen more standard-issue BMW's wearing the M badge than actual bona-fide M cars. And it's not just BMW. It happens with everything -- AMG badges on stock Benzes, 5.0 badges on 4-banger Mustangs -- the list goes on (and on and on). I've even seen a GT-R badge off a Skyline on a 1st-gen Altima. it was very jarring.

One of my favorite repositories for this kind of thing is the BMW Nightmare page, where the host, Jimmy540i, captures some particularly horrifying examples of rebadging and posts them for the world to see.

I always had more respect for the debadgers, myself. These are the people who would (usually) buy a lower-end version of a car -- a 320SL, for example -- and then remove the identifying badges completely, eliminating their identity concerns without sacrificing the classiness of the vehicle itself.

As for those who try to transform their car into a completely different vehicle, well, you ought to be ashamed of yourselves.

{Source: Chris Woodyard, USA Today via Luxist]


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  • 49 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      I drive an unbadged M5. And I have a buddy with an M5 that put a 520d badge on it. Hmmm...what does that say about us?
      Dick Handler
      • 8 Years Ago
      This is so retro-stupid. It's much more fun to run an Blown TLS and leave 'em wondering how in the world they just got dusted by a luxury car.
      • 8 Years Ago
      This is done with old cars too.
      My dad has a 1953 Chevrolet "Impala". I don't even know much about the car, but IIRC, the Impala model did not come out until later, so his car is a stylistic interpretation of what a 53 Impala would look like if such a thing exisited (paint scheme, badges, other things).

      This type of thing can go two ways. Either a "tribute", or a "mockery".
      • 8 Years Ago
      I've always prefered the de-badging, myself. But it's not just the average idiot on the street puffing up his ego. Dinan won't give you a badge until you buy enough "points" worth of stuff to qualify. On it's face this sounds great - You have to buy enough real performance parts to earn it, the guy with just the aftermarket windshield wipers doesn't get a badge. But dig a little closer and the biggest points earner isn't a supercharger or autocross-spec suspension upgrade - it's a set of rims. Bling your car, get a badge that suggests you can actually drive.
      Michael Nomura
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ever since school prayers were eliminated, our kids have no direction in life. With no God to guide them, they look towards a car for answers to life.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm a big fan of "down badging". I like making my car look slower or less luxo than it really is.

      But if others want to "up badge" I have no problem with it. After all the world is full of posers in all aspects of life, not just cars. When I find a poser, I laugh to myself and go about my day.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The general public (outside the automotive scene) really will find this interesting. Most folks don't really care what a car is aside from the manufacturer and maybe a well known variable, like AMG or //M. If I had thrown some Mercedes badges on my Subaru I guarantee my neighbor (mid 30's woman) wouldn't have known the difference and would have been more impressed when I brought it home. Her husband might have caught the prank but even then I think he'd have to research it.

      Eh, I guess my point is that while stunts like this are almost always blatantly obvious to us car folks they are easily passed off on most of our friends/family.

      The best rebadging I've seen is a ISUZU Vehicross in Louisville KY with Maserati badges. The guy did it as a joke but had some of us wondering about it for a bit since the Vehicross was already kind of oddball. Well look at the time, I gotta run out to the mailbox and see if the Lotus' new Ferrari badge has shown up yet ;)
      • 8 Years Ago
      The best was the episode of Entourage where Ari changes his wife's Merc from a 500 to an 600... classy, gotta love that guy!
      • 8 Years Ago
      What ever happned to a sleep get a nice Z06 and de bage it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "In other news I see alot of screwball mustangs around. the highlight was.

      Saleen stickers
      Bullet badge and gas cap
      cobra bumpers and rims
      roush plaque
      and a single tailpipe"


      oohhh... bullet hole stickers and fake tailpipes are my favorite....nothing better than an old busted civic with a dozen fake bullet hole stickers and a second tailpipe that's not even linked to the engine (no smoke coming out) so it's like the dope glued a plumbing pipe under the car
      • 8 Years Ago
      In socal there is an amazing number of s600's. Since the badging is cheap and the externally the lower end s classes are identical. The way to spot a true mercedes 600. Look at the steering wheel. On a S or SL and I think CL's only the 600 will have a partial wood steering wheel.


      In other news I see alot of screwball mustangs around. the highlight was.

      Saleen stickers
      Bullet badge and gas cap
      cobra bumpers and rims
      roush plaque
      and a single tailpipe
      • 8 Years Ago
      At least this isn't as bad as the VW Golf with "A4" and "Type R" badges on plastic spinners I saw. I hope the Gods blew up that car and had no mercy on the poor persons soul who crafted the beast.
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