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Top 10: Classic cars made from bits of other cars

Badge engineering and cost-reduction are rife within the car industry and have been for many years. Look closely, though, and there are certain models where you can see the external influences, or just the bits that were used in order to keep costs down.

Here are 10 of the more peculiar examples…

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Rover 400/45 saloon

Here’s a car that became a bit of a millstone for MG Rover in its ailing years. Codenamed HH-R, the second generation Rover 400 was a fruit of the massively successful Rover-Honda alliance. But by the time it went on sale, BMW Group had taken over at Longbridge and the waters between the two brands were sullied.

It was too late for either to pull out. But it’s clear to see who’d be working on which project by virtue of the fact that both brands got a best-selling five-door, but only Honda got an estate. Rover’s one-off was a four-door, to suit its more traditional buyers. But it was primarily a Honda bodyshell, so to buy in three quarters of an elderly Civic for each 400 saloon didn’t really work economically, especially as Honda marched on through three generations whilst MG Rover was still building it.


flying_porker    on 27 March 2017

Sounds typical of British Leyland. The wife of a teacher at school had one. She heard a funny noise and took it to the main dealer (the car was three months old). The engine had come from its mountings and was completely loose in the engine bay.

flying_porker    on 27 March 2017

And I thought the Sierra was ugly...

paul jenkins    on 27 March 2017

I wouldnt say the sierra was ugly i think it looked good and it was the family car that launched todays more rounded shapes

flying_porker    on 27 March 2017

Most of these lash-ups were British.

AQ    on 27 March 2017

The Honda and Rover alliance actually started some years earlier when an older generation Honda Ballade (a booted Civic) was marketed by BL with revisions as the Triumph Acclaim. It is said that the Acclaim was the most most reliable BL product ever and also the most profitable, presumably because BL wasn't crippled with warranty work on this model. Of course, all this happened before Honda moved into Swindon.

WilliamRead    on 27 March 2017

Motoring Which? invariably gave BL cars a (justified) poor rating for reliability, until the Triumph Acclaim came along; this was by far the most reliable BL car the magazine had tested. The reason? As you identify, it had a Honda Japanese manufactured engine.....

Edited by WilliamRead on 27/03/2017 at 23:46

Roarke    on 27 March 2017

My old dad once nearly bought a early Mk2 Maxi, but heard that the one he nearly went for was bought by a friend, who found the gearbox failed within weeks of purchase. Brilliant visionary design, like so many of BL's not matched by the engineering. The only competition at the time was the Renault 16, surely one of the greatest rotboxes of all time, and just a collection of parts roughly heading in the same direction albeit with very comfy seats.

Howard Buchanan    on 27 March 2017

Bought a Maxi 1750 new in the early 70s. Tank-like Volvos apart, it was the best car going for bulky load-carrying with the tailgate shut and comfortable saloon, all in the same package. We even camped and slept in it.
Sadly, though, it finished me for British cars: just after 10K miles and the expiration of the 1 year warranty, the front tyres had to be junked on account of uneven wear following the failure of metalastik suspension bushes. BL refused to cough up and their franchised dealer later showed me a bin filled with the duff bushes from other Maxis.As I put it in my letter to BL: "Can you imagine BMW and Mercedes fitting a part they knew was no good and then refusing to deal with the consequences?"
I couldn't, and still can't, which is why, despite being super-patriotic in every other respect, I've stuck with those two marques ever since.

   on 13 October 2017

the Ford tempo shared nothing with the Sierra except a vague side profile and it was front wheel drive where the Sierra was rear wheel drive. Engineering wise it was a stretched Ford escort

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