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Hooniverse Asks- Historically, What Cross-Brand Component – or Car – Sharing Have You Found the Most Appalling?

Robert Emslie February 1, 2013 Hooniverse Asks

saab_lancia_600

One of the things that we are all taught – usually as early as pre-school – is that sharing is a good thing. I mean, it is when it’s tasty cookies or perhaps a scrap of wreckage floating in the icy North Atlantic – THERE WAS ROOM FOR TWO, ROSE! – and not necessarily when it’s bad news, or a case of the crabs.

When it comes to the auto industry, that lesson about sharing is one many of its members have well learned, both for better and for worse. Sometimes sharing – such as Ferrari offering up versions of its amazing V8 to both Maserati and Alfa Romeo – ends up a win-win-win. Other times, like in the instance of the wildly unfortunate Toyota Cavalier, which was foisted upon Japan by the partnership of that company and an obviously Nihon-antagonistic (and possibly drunk) General Motors, it couldn’t have turned out worse. Well, I guess it could have, Rodan could have emerged from a volcano and vaporized all other transportation options with his supersonic speed, forcing the nation into the US-built cross-dressers. That would have been worse.

Yeah, so sometimes it doesn’t work out so well, and it’s those low points in the history of sharing that I want to discuss today. It may not even be an entire car either, it could be a part – like the VW (which to many is code for nazi) engines in that most American of cars, the Gremlin, an act that made a lie of the Kenosha-based company’s very name- American Motors, my ass! What do you think, is that sharing taken to a new low, or do you have an example of auto makers going Dutch that you find even more appalling?

Image source: [DRIVR]

Currently there are "136 comments" on this Article:

  1. I Think Not says:

    I'll lead off with some low-hanging fruit:

    The Caddy Cimmaron.
    The 80's Pontiac LeMans — by Daewoo

    My favorite/least favorite:
    Honda J35/Isuzu Circle L swap — Honda gives GM a more advanced engine than they are capable of building at the time to stuff into a milquetoast CUV. In exchange, they get a small oil burner to wedge between the uprights of their Euro Civic because Honda couldn't be bothered to engineer a diesel at the time.

  2. HSA says:

    Alfa Romeo Arna. At 1982, if you are could take anything from both Alfa Romeo and Nissan, what are your picks? Of course Alfa's rock solid boxer engine and excellent build quality put together with the stylish body and great handling of a Nissan Pulsar (Cherry) N12. What could go wrong?
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/99/2011_NEC_Classic_Car_Show_Alfa_Romeo_Arna_DSC_2210.jpg/300px-2011_NEC_Classic_Car_Show_Alfa_Romeo_Arna_DSC_2210.jpg"&gt;

  3. Vavon says:

    Can it get any worse than this? The Alfa Romeo Arna: design of an 80's Nissan with the quality of a 70's Alfa…

    <img src="http://pub.tv2.no/multimedia/TV2/archive/01021/Alfa-Romeo-Arna-5-_1021221i.jpg&quot; width="660/">

  4. Garland says:

    It was very nice of Ford to share with the Italians.
    <img src="http://www.hemmings.com/story_image/186871-1000-0.jpg?rev=3&quot; width="600">

    • I Think Not says:

      You say appalling; I say brilliant!

      For what other supercar can you find spare engine parts on rusted out F-150?

      • HSA says:

        Agree. It happened a number of times that an Italian sports car manufacturer put an American V8 in their car. At least spare and tuning parts are available everywhere.

        • AJKH says:

          this apply only in america, since american cars weren't (and aren't) officialy sold in the rest of the world. mantaining an iso, a de tomaso or a bizzarrini in italy would be more expensive than mantaining a ferrari.

      • BlackIce_GTS says:

        Well, strictly speaking parts commonality is probably zero, but the Ford Modular V8 has been used by a variety of super-ish cars. MG X-power SV, Qvale Mangusta, Panoz Esperante and Roadster. And the genuinely super Koenigsegg CC_/Agera, although with likely even less (than zero) parts shared with anything in an F-150, rusty or otherwise.

        • I Think Not says:

          Weren't the aluminum ford mod blocks cast in Italy, or was that only a brief production run while the Romeo plant was converted? Either way, if the Italian foundry kept the molds, that could explain why so many exotics choose to use that engine. Or it could be that it's an inexpensive way to get stupid power.

          As an example, my brother-in-law's whipplecharger-upgraded Terminator is making something like 650hp at the wheels on pump gas these days. I believe the larger supercharger is his only upgrade, apart from a freer flowing exhaust. The long block has not been opened since the car left the factory. He took it to Naples when he got stationed over there for a couple of years, and had a great time taking it out on weekends and surprising the exotics.

    • Irishzombieman says:

      Probably worked out better than Chrysler hooking up with the Brits.

      <img src="http://www.britishv8.org/other/JohnTargett2/JohnTargett2-B.jpg&quot; width="400/">

  5. Jeb says:

    I never cared for the GM Geo versions of…anything, really.

    • I Think Not says:

      I had a 1996 Prizm. Previously owned by my best friend's grandmother, so just about perfect at 62k miles, and cheap because of the connection. My folks bought it for me to drive in HS because we lived in a rural area and they were sick of shuttling me around or letting me borrow their cars.

      It was a great teenager car, being appallingly slow (105hp 1.6/3spd auto), reliable as the sunrise, and supposedly safe with airbags. I drove it until my sophomore year of college, even ran my first autocross ever in it (talk about "run what you brung", eh?), but I finally got bored with the 3spd auto and traded it for another boring car, a 1998 Saturn SL. The Saturn was slightly more hoonable with a manual, no power steering, and despite the SOHC's dearth of power, quick enough because 2340lbs (measured on the scale at Silver Dollar Raceway in Reynolds, GA, where I took it because I wanted to actually have numbers to tell me how slow it was. 16.8@82mph, btw).

    • Hatchtopia says:

      People like Jeb are what made the Prizm one of the greatest cars of it's contemporary price point. You got a spectacularly-reliable Corolla at rock bottom prices. Before GM beancounters got to it, the first generation Prizm featured long-lasting and fairly luxurious upholstery, decent power for the weight (don't get the auto though), and a hatchback that would swallow vast quantities of stuff. The second generation started down the long beige road of boredom – though that was a very good car too.

    • Irishzombieman says:

      I'm a long time Metro lover. But I'd love it just as much were it a Suzuki.

      As it is, Geo was an interesting experiment in completely badge-engineering an entire brand for marketing purposes. Everything came from someone else–several someone elses, actually–and while they managed to put together a decent lineup, they never quite got the brand identity right.

      • I Think Not says:

        Yup — they pulled from Toyota, Isuzu, and Suzuki for the Geo lineup. Not a single original vehicle among them.

  6. I Think Not says:

    To add to previous Daewoo-dislike: every Suzuki-branded car sold in America that was engineered and built by Daewoo.

    The SX4 wasn't awful, as such, but phoned-in sedans like the Forenza were damned near insultingly boring. Meanwhile, the rest of the world and the twowheelsgood contingency get to experience what Suzuki puts out when it bothers to do the engineering itself!

    <img src="http://images.thecarconnection.com/lrg/2004_suzuki_forenza_100007315_l.jpg"&gt;

  7. OA5599 says:

    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/ba/Sunbeam_Tiger(3).jpg" width="500">

    Sunbeam Tiger. Not that there was anything in particular wrong with the engine except its origin. After Chrysler purchased Rootes in 1967, they didn't have their own V8 that would fit the dimensions of the engine bay, and they didn't want to sell a car with ties to the Blue Oval, so they killed the model.

  8. Maymar says:

    More fruit so low-hanging it's probably lying rotten on the ground – the Aston Martin Cygnet.

    I mean, I get the business model behind it on some level. But Toyota and Aston Martin are about as opposite as you can get, and until I drive one (as Toyota hasn't seen fit in following in smart's path of doing all but yelling at passersby to get people to drive the fortwo), I'm convinced the iQ is a cheap, hateful little thing. You know, a small Toyota.

    I could see a lightly restyled Scion tC with the powertrain from a Lexus HS (since they"re both Avensis-related) as serving a similar purpose without seeming so horrid. I have to assume Aston was dead-set on a city car, and Toyota was the only one willing to play ball.

    • I Think Not says:

      If I am ever unlucky enough to come into possession of this particular generation Cavalier, I will rebadge it as a Toyota and attempt to get a custom plate of the "JDM YO" variety.

      Also, the Cavaliers in the ad above have California plates. Someone from marketing didn't do their homework. At all. And came in hungover that day.

      • Preludacris says:

        From what little I know of Japanese car culture, they seem to be obsessed with all things American. Running Cali plates on these cars for the photo shoot was probably a way to underscore the USDM origin of the Cavalier.

      • OA5599 says:

        "It's now in Japan: a new form of luxury. An American package based on a new concept."

        I'm sure the Toyota Marketing department was just trying to demonstrate how all those rich Hollywood movie stars and jocks roll in their luxurious Cavaliers.

  9. quattrovalvole says:

    The Suzuki Aveo (Swift+)

    <img src="http://autotraderca.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/swift.jpeg"&gt;

    Why do we have to deal with this monstrosity when Suzuki has a perfectly good Swift sold elsewhere?

  10. Alff says:

    The Volkswagen Caravan. Why Chrysler would risk damage to their good name with a VW badge is beyond me. Same with the Acura SLX SUV. Why, Isuzu, why?

  11. Devin says:

    For a simple component, Aston's hidden Volvo key has to be the silliest.

    <img src="http://motorbeam.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/aston_martin_volvo_key.jpg"&gt;

    For an entire car, I'll nominate Graham Paige taking Cord bodies and then doing this to them:

    <img src="http://images.forum-auto.com/mesimages/197402/GrahamHollywood.jpg&quot; width="500">

  12. LTDScott says:

    Lots of Mustang owners like to forget that this:

    <img src="http://www.kzclassiccars.com/pictures/2003-Ford-Mustang-Cobra-1.jpg&quot; width=700>

    started out as this:

    <img src="http://media.caranddriver.com/images/09q4/311247/1978-ford-fairmont-sedan-photo-311271-s-1280×782.jpg&quot; width=700>

    Personally, I have used this to my advantage, as my LTD is a Fox Body mutt with pieces from several different models and nearly everything bolts on.

    • HSA says:

      Was it so bad? I think it was a win-win thing. The car you show was a record-breaker: no other car in the history of BL had caused so few warranty claims per units produced. So, BL got excellent engines and manufacturing know-how. Honda got in return know-how on styling that would appeal the European customers – the interiors of 80's Hondas resemble those of Rovers, and definitely not by coincidence. Honda also got some sales and marketing help, I assume.
      Then again, cross-dressing Civics as Rovers or Triumphs may look a bit silly, but that's only badge engineering as we know it.

      • JayP2112 says:

        Looking back at what Triumph had been before BL, then resorted to badge engineering a Honda.

        Had he new Spitfire been a rebadged S2000… I'd be on board!

  13. marmer01 says:

    Hemmings used to run a feature every week on Friday called "Six Degrees of Automotive Separation" where basically, you started out with two manufacturers of wheeled vehicles and tried to find connections in six steps or less. Parts sharing, rebadging, things like that. Usually things like "Ferrari and International Harvester." Anyway it was full of examples of what this thread was about. My favorites are:
    the BMW diesels used in a handful of '84 Lincoln Continentals,
    the German Ford V4's used in several 60's SAAB's (and a Matra),
    the whole JDM rebadging thing where pretty much every make has a car sourced from a competitor
    the Bentley/Rolls breakup which forced BMW to sell engines to VW for a few months, and
    of course, the 1976 Buick/Opel by Isuzu.

    • mdharrell says:

      The Ford Taunus V4 wasn't just used in '60s SAABs but also '70s and (by a thin margin) '80s Saabs, too.

    • JayP2112 says:

      Didn't Ford have to use BMW engines in the Range Rover until they were able to fit the Ford-Jag engines?

      Now the Evoque and XF are using the Ecoboost 4. That may last a while.

    • P161911 says:

      The Lincoln Mk VII also had a few miscellaneous components supplied by BMW. I remember my dad fixing the sunroof on his Mk VII, the part that came out was stamped BMW.

    • BlackIce_GTS says:

      "Ferrari and International Harvester"
      Ooooooh, this is fun.
      Probably not the best route, but: Ferrari is owned by FIAT, FIAT ~=owns Chrysler/Dodge, Dodge Stratus tooling was purchased by GAZ, GAZ was originally a joint venture with Ford, Ford has a truck manufacturing partnership with Navistar International, Navistar is descended from International Harvester.
      Using the Ford/SAAB connection, there's the SAAB/Lancia Delta, which is slightly less elaborate, but I wanted to see if I could do it without using your clues first.
      VAZ of course sold old Fiats for quite some time, and had a partnership with GM who owns Daewoo which used to sell Hyundai Accents in Russia. Hyundai used to use Mitsubishi motors, and Mitsubishi was partnered with Chrysler in the 80s and 90s, Chrysler is now owned by Fiat. Where was I going again?
      IH Scouts used AMC engines, AMC->Chrysler->Fiat. Also, Monteverdi made a version of both Scout and Volare ->Fiat->Ferrari.

      • marmer01 says:

        You can get there with tractors, too. IH sold their ag division to Tenneco, who folded it into their J.I. Case division. Fiat Industrial bought most of New Holland from Ford and Case from Tenneco and created CNH Global. Fiat also owns Ferrari.
        There are also Ferrari tractors, but they are not related to the Ferrari automobiles. It's a different company, probably a different family. Other high-end auto names associated with tractors, of course, are Lamborghini and Mercedes-Benz. There are Porsche Diesel tractors, also, but they were manufactured by Allgaier using a Porsche-designed diesel engine under license. They don't come from the Porsche auto works. Yes, when you play around in the ag and heavy truck worlds, you often have different ownership than the car companies of the same name. For example, the Volvo Group owns Volvo Trucks, which owns the Renault, Mack, White, Autocar, GMC, and UD heavy truck brands. Volvo Cars belongs to Geely. (for the moment.)

        • marmer01 says:

          You can get straight from IH to Dodge with the Metropolitan Body Company, which before its purchase in 1948 by IH to build Metro Vans built bodies for Chevrolet, Ford, and Dodge chassis. Once you're at Dodge, you're at Fiat.

  14. jeepjeff says:

    I think the one that bothers me the most is the 2.8L GM V6 that AMC used in Jeeps in the early 80s. Also, AMC buying the Iron Duke for base CJs, Eagles, Spirits and Concords. Both turds of engines. I have seen one (one.) 2.8L Jeep Cherokee driving around. And no more. I was pretty impressed that it was still driving. Of course, it may not have had the original engine.

    • danleym says:

      Well, maybe if AMC hadn't blown so much development money on setting up the Pacer for the Wankel that never was they could have developed the 258 based 2.5 a little sooner and not been so behind the curve on 4 bangers that they had to use an Audi engine and the Iron Duke as stand ins until they got their own up and running. But, things like that are why AMC isn't around anymore. Sad, I would like to see what could have been if all of AMC's gambles paid off.

      Also, I never understood the reasoning for the V6. They never made a product that a 258 couldn't fit into, so why use a GM engine?

      • jeepjeff says:

        I have no idea why they didn't just put the 258 in the Cherokee to start with. They had enough space, since they were able to cram the 4.0 in later.

  15. marmer01 says:

    Hudson, Nash, Willys, Kaiser, (before Kaiser owned Willys), and Lincoln all bought Hydra-matics from GM until the Hydra-matic factory fire in 1953. Rolls-Royce built them under license until 1967.

  16. Tanshanomi says:

    '98-'06 MZ Mastiff: Yamaha's pleasant and reliable (though somewhat dated) XT600 carby motor, but in a chassis with all the stylish beauty and rock-solid reliability former Eastern Bloc designers were famous for.

    <img src="http://images.autoscout24.ch/custom/60/178/731178/big_MZ%20002.jpg&quot; width="512">

    • smalleyxb122 says:

      Couldn’t that be said of the entire MZ lineup from Baghira to Scorpion?

      (Okay, that could just as easily have read "Couldn't that be said of the Baghira and the Scorpion – the entire MZ lineup?")

    • Irishzombieman says:

      So I'm looking this thing over and thinking something along the lines of "At least it's not really terrible."

      And then, the front fender.

      Why on earth does it feel so horribly wrong? Too pointy when there aren't points anywhere else? Mounted a smidge too high? Gaaa.

  17. Devin says:

    I found one in China that's most unusual, and it's not even the continued production of Maestros.

    Beijing-Jeep made Jeeps. It was an officially sanctioned joint venture between BAW and Jeep. BAW still makes Cherokees, in fact. But one day, someone at BAW decided that the Cherokee didn't look enough like the Nissan XTrail, and this happened:
    <img src="http://www.carnewschina.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/beijing-auto-leichi-1-458×370.jpg&quot; width="500">
    <img src="http://www.carnewschina.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/beijing-auto-leichi-4-458×369.jpg&quot; width="500">
    The Beijing Auto Leichi.

    It apparently didn't sell in big numbers.

  18. Mad_Science says:

    My '69 Wagoneer (from Kaiser) has a Buick 350 (from GM) that needs an adapter ring to bolt to a Turbo 400 (from GM), because the Turbo 400 is a Buick Nailhead pattern bellhousing. Oh, and another adapter to fit to the Dana20 transfer case.

    From the factory.

    So, It's got a Buick motor that needs an adapter to bolt to another Buick transmission, in a Jeep.

  19. POLAЯ says:

    Every car combo brings either a good product or a good lesson.

    I think there's something to love about every vehicle for the people,

    it's once you add the people that things go terribly wrong.

    <img src="http://img.xcitefun.net/users/2010/03/161460,xcitefun-driver-1.jpg"&gt;

  20. Sebastian says:

    I'm from Argentina and we have a few cars here that are amazing. In the 90s there was a joint venture between Ford and VW called Autolatina in Brazil and Argentina, That meant you could buy a "Ford" Galaxy that was a modified Passat B2 or you could buy a Ford Escort with a 1.8 Audi engine.
    In the 60s Renault tried to enter the Brazilian market and failed for some reason, Ford Brazil bought what was left and they made something called "Ford Corcel", it was a modified Renault R12, they continued to use the R12 engine well into the 90s in the Ford Escort and (because of Autolatina) in the VW Gol, so you could buy a VW with a Ford engine that in fact was a Renault engine from the 60s.
    A couple of years ago they decided to reduce costs in our local Touring Car Competition, the TC2000, by using the same engine in all the cars, so you had makers like Toyota, Ford, Peugeot, Honda and Chevrolet using a Ford based engine, a Chevrolet Astra racing with a Ford engine, that's quite appalling.

  21. I_Borgward says:

    1) The dreaded Volvo-Chrysler ignition in my '82 240. The bane of this particular vintage brick, which hasn't crapped out on me yet but likely will. While Iove me some Mopar, Volvo and Chrysler are two words that should never go together.

    2) AMC products. You never knew what you'd get under the hood. Sure, the sixes and V8s were Kenosha-made, but would it be Delco, Motorcraft or Mopar ignition, alternator, etc? This always made parts shopping a joy.

  22. I'm not sure this is exactly on target but I can't get the Delorean out of my head. I'm not saying it didn't have other issues but surely the pathetic PRV motor was the major dealbreaker.

    <img src="https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTf2yGh2zYbBv3wtMXUzMKMMARrLXPk6UYRG7oqGpGo8m5zHJTA&quot; width="400">

  23. marmer01 says:

    Yes, the PRV motor, the Type Four platform, and the Buick-Rover V8 were pretty good glue for making weird connections. That and Chrysler owning half of the British car industry in the 60s.

    Tritec engines for original new MINI's found their way into Neons and PT Cruisers outside the US. the next gen-Prince engines show up in a lot of Peugeots and Citroens as well as newer MINI's.

  24. mallthus says:

    There's a VW engine in the Porsche 914…
    <img src="http://www.1302super.com/914_4_75_2_0.jpg&quot; width=600>

  25. mallthus says:

    Or the VW engine in the Porsche 924…
    <img src="http://static.cargurus.com/images/site/2009/03/30/14/13/pic-12391.jpeg&quot; width=600>

    • wunno sev says:

      best thing that ever happened to the trabant

      too bad it was coupled with the worst thing that ever happened to the trabant, the fall of the berlin wall.

    • bhtooefr says:

      That looks like a 240, as the intake manifold doesn't look like it's taking air in from the turbo. Which is good, because it was the non-turbo ones that sucked ass, the turbo ones (240s got NA, 740s got turbo, and the turbo ones had much better cooling) were good.

      In Europe, 240s and 740s all got a choice between the 2.0 straight-5 meant for Audis and the 2.4 straight-6 meant for VW LTs (think Sprinter-class trucks).

      Which leads into a couple other things…

      The Volvo 850 TDI. Not actually appalling, just weird. 2.5 straight-5 TDI in the nose of a Volvo 850. I want the transmission, it's gotta be useful for a swap.

      The 2nd-gen VW LT. Again, not actually appalling – it's a Mercedes Sprinter with a MWM engine (and later the same 2.5 straight-5 TDI in the Volvo 850) and VW badges.

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