Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Thieving Foreign Parts Bins

Low-volume car models are somewhat notorious for raiding existing cars’ parts books for easily adaptable components. Rear light assemblies are a case in point. The De Tomaso sourced the Pantera’s tail lights from whatever designs Alfa had sitting around, and there was a downright incestuous level of British parts-bin raiding by Bristol. Lotus, however, endured an extra level of contempt for re-purposing Renault Alpine GTA rear lights on the Elan. As if FWD wasn’t bad enough, the indignity of French components on a British design was almost too much for some Lotus fans to bear.
Which brings us to our encyclopedia heading for today: car designs that raided neither their own maker’s parts bin nor their countrymen’s, but reused existing components from a manufacturer in (gasp!) a foreign nation.
The Caveats (there are always caveats):

  • This does NOT mean parts co-developed between two manufacturers as a technology-sharing partnership, or common parts used on sister brands as a result of intra-corporate cooperation, even if they’re located in different countries. The scenario we’re looking for is this: Company 1 in Nation A puts a part on its cars. At some later point, that part shows up on Company 2’s cars, manufactured in Nation B. Capisce?
  • Generic parts that are manufactured and sold with the intention of being used on multiple vehicles don’t count.
  • Likewise, components commonly sold to a variety of manufacturers by third party component builders don’t count. Allison, Getrag, Bilstein, Brembo and Dana have whored themsel— um, supplied just about everybody at one time or another.
  • Production road cars only. No customs, prototypes, concept cars, or works race vehicles. Which is, admittedly, kind of a shame.
  • No aircraft or marine craft, unless it’s because they stole parts from existing cars.

Difficulty: 2.9896 megapicas per microcentury.
How This Works: Read the comments first and don’t post duplicates! Bonus points for adding photos.
Image Sources: oppositelock.kinja.com & carphotographyplus.co.uk


      1. But there is a connection from TVR to outside the UK, later TVRs all had Saab 900 front suspension uprights.
        So Saab both gave and received with the UK.
        Previously it had licensed the Triumph slant four which it ended up making it’s own. ( And like Triumph, Saab put two of the fours together to make a V8.)

    1. That’s…actually pretty clever. Not a bad look, and I’d assume the parts must have been quite easy to come by.

    1. Again with the Lotus tail lights? I’m beginning to think the Lotus factory is just across the road from a junkyard.

        1. And F-150s – I’ve been nailed by one of those bags. They pack a wallop, and were popularized by a junkyard owner in Canada who used to do stuff like record them blowing up refrigerators, and post the videos on YouTube.

        2. It did skip one Ford product: Thunderbird/Cougar. They went straight from having motorized seatbelts and a carryover ’80’s wheel in ’93, to standard belts and the 2nd-generation Ford corporate airbag wheel in ’94.

        1. Going by memory, I think this was right before Ford took full control, and just continued after Ford took over.

  1. SSC Ultimate Aero uses Ford Focus headlights.
    It’s actually pretty common for low-volume producers to use headlight and taillight assemblies from volume cars. The biggest reason is the DOT/TUV/Whatever other government dictates there are concerning light assemblies. They avoid all those development costs. Plus, they get them for less than a custom assembly that will be made less than 500 times.

    1. Does that count as foreign parts bins though? Both American cars. But then again the Focus could be considered Ford of Europe.

      1. I’ll await a ruling from the judges (which I will promptly ignore), but I believe this to be in the spirit of the law.

    1. That’s a game we play when on the road.
      Sometimes the head lights and taillights match at least the manufacturer, sometimes the same car.

        1. One has to wonder whey they chose these lights, really – they are not particularly well-integrated.

          1. Most probably – but I figure square bus lights shouldn’t have been that much more expensive.

          2. You’d think not, but those can be difficult to source.
            I really want a set of LED lights which are seen on school buses, but I’ll be damned, can’t find ’em.

          3. So strange – who makes those busses? Who maintains them? Someone should know…

          4. I can even tell you who makes them!
            Used to have a part number and everything. Googling turned up nothing.

          5. A corner light shines both side and rear as the law says, a square light facing the rear only would mean another light on the side.

  2. I owned a 1969 Reliant Scimitar that was almost all borrowed parts.
    Tail lights from a Hillman Hunter
    Windshield from a Ford Capri Consul
    Front suspension from a Triumph TR-series
    Ford Essex V6 engine from various
    Rear diff from a Daimler
    etc, etc. There was even a cross reference book put out by the owner’s club.

      1. Alfa didn’t join Lancia under the Fiat umbrella until 1986, well after those taillights were retired.

  3. How about the BMW diesel engines in Lincoln Mk VIIs? And the Nissan diesel in the IH Scout? I know that my dad’s old Mk VII LSC had a sunroof control with a BMW roundel stamped on it.

  4. Skoda is the main reason why japanese cars are almost extinct in Germany. Some jap brands that I really liked (Daihatsu, Mitsubishi, Suzuki) have left. Toyota is down to ~1% market share I think. Some koreans are also gone. But these were borers anyway.

    1. That’s odd. I’ve never looked at a mirror and thought: That was expensive. Might be my shabby looks though.

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