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Imported Cars with Domestic Badging

1976 Plymouth Arrow

1976 Plymouth Arrow

While we love a great American car and nothing invokes patriotism like the idea that car is wearing a brand we are familiar with and know must be an American offering.  Much to your surprise several cars that actually wore names and brands that you are familiar with are not and were not made here in the US.  Some of these were not even build in North America, which would certainly include Canada and Mexico.  Let’s take a look at the vehicles that will certainly take you aback with surprise as you learn that some of your favorite American products were not actually built by hard working Americans.

Plymouth Laser/Eagle Talon 1989-1994 – In collaboration with Mitsubishi Chrysler showed up with the Diamond-Star Motors manufacturing alliance which actually produced three cars that had identical performance.  The Mitsubishi Eclipse, Eagle Talon and the less expensive Plymouth Laser were all technology passed and had enough performance to outmatch the Porsche 944 at the time.

Chrysler Conquest 1983-1989 – Because Chrysler seemed to just offer whatever, whenever it’s hard to understand what they were working on and where they were going with this model and some others.  The Conquest was offered with the Chrysler badge which certainly was not built here but instead by Mitsubishi and was offered with the Starion name on it.

Dodge Sprinter 2003-2010 – The Dodge Sprinter was a product of the DaimlerChrysler partnership that failed miserably.  Even though the partnership didn’t work this van was a great offering as a work van that could fulfill all needs for many small businesses and showed up with not only a Dodge plate on it but also the Mercedes-Benz logo to make it a van that was dually marketed.

Mercury Merkur XR4Ti 1985-1989 – Originally sold as the Ford Sierra which was a highly successful model the Merkur did not catch on.  This car was built by Karmann but low sales and poor brand recognition were more than enough to have Ford nix this project which meant the Ford Sierra went along with it to.  Too bad because it was a great car that could stand up to the BMW 3-Series.

Lincoln-Mercury Pantera 1971-1975 – As a build that came from Italy and was certainly inspired by the Ferrari and Lamborghini offerings this was the car that Lee Iacocca was trying to have create a great position in sports car history for Ford.  This car was expected to be engineered like the Italians but come in with an American V8 engine that offered 330 horsepower from the 351 ci engine.

Dodge Stealth 1991-1997 – Already you know Chrysler was partnered with Mitsubishi and the pair chose to offer a sports car that had the Japanese flair that was popular at the time.  The Dodge Stealth was a twin to the Mitsubishi 3000GT and together these two cars were more than the Nissan 30ZX could handle giving this partnership a huge leg up over the competition.

Shelby Cobra 1962-1967 – This was a gorgeous roadster and if you ever thought Carroll Shelby would allow a foreign model under his name you would be correct.  This car was an AC Ace that was modified to use Ford’s V8 and give it much more power than it previously had.  There is no doubt this car was one awesome build as Shelby himself set the specs.

Plymouth Arrow 1976-1980 – This car actually made its debut overseas as the Celeste who was built though the partnership Chrysler had with Mitsubishi.  Renamed the Arrow and placed under the Plymouth brand this car was a powerful and quick sports car that never got the Dodge name.  Because of this Plymouth made this car shine the entire time it was in production and even had the Fire Arrow for 1979.

Ford Cortina-Lotus 1963-1970 – This car was a partnership with Ford and Lotus in order to have a car that was amazing for the British world to love.  When it came across the pond this car was rebadged with the Ford name on it and became a car that many of us wanted because we didn’t have a lot of British cars to choose from.  Offered in a couple body styles this became a highly popular model during its time in production.

Mercury Capri 1971-1978 – Originally this car was to be the Mustang for the European market and was built there.  Starting in 1970 the car showed up in Lincoln-Mercury dealerships with the Capri name on it that offered excellent performance and some enjoyable power.  This car was the car to buy for some sport when you couldn’t buy the Mustang.

Pontiac G8 2007-2009 and Chevrolet SS 2013-present – These two cars came as a partnership with the Australian automaker Holden.  Even though the Pontiac is no longer around the SS is what we have here and is the Commodore for the Aussies.  The idea is to have power in a sedan and Holden certainly makes that happen although for some reason this is no longer being as well received as it once though it would be.

Whether you are surprised that we have so many cars for so long that have carried our American badges that have been built elsewhere or not it’s been a part of automotive history for several years.  These partnerships to bring about the different badging of the same cars lets you see how interchangeable some of our models may be.  What is going to be the next great collaboration for us to enjoy because we all know two heads are better than one.

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