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Is it legal to change a Toyota emblem to a BMW emblem? Ethical?

“You really think someone would believe a Corolla is a BMW?”

I still can’t quite figure out the OP’s statement about Corollas looking like Mercedes or BMW models. I just don’t see the resemblance–other than the fact that they all have 4 wheels.

But–then again–for decades we had people who bought Mercurys because they “wanted something better than a Ford”, or a Dodge because they “wanted something better than a Plymouth”, despite the fact that the higher-priced model was mechanically identical to the cheaper marque.

We had people who believed that a Pontiac was different from a Chevy, simply because the Pontiac had 8 tiny AC vents on the dashboard, instead of the Chevy’s 4 vents. The heavy lower-body cladding on the Pontiac apparently fooled some folks into not observing that the body was, in many cases, the same one as a Chevy. Yes, I know that there were engine and transmission differences between the two marques at one time, but that difference disappeared over 20 years ago, and the two marques were poorly disguised clones of each other. And yet, many folks seemed to think that these were distinctly different makes of cars.

But–a Corolla looking like a Benz or a Beemer?

This goes a little beyond changing emblems but my brother solved a problem 10 years ago which has turned into a fad in my part of the country. He was in the process of restoring a 1966 Chevy pickup (I dragged it out of a Kansas wheatfield for $300 in 1990) that I sold him. He had it apart and someone took the bed while he was at work.

We looked for weeks for a suitable bed but none were available. A friend of his gave him the bed from a 2001 Silverado stepside. The friend runs a company that installs custom work beds for pickups so he always has plenty of discarded factory beds. He put the bed on the 66’ and really liked the look. It looks new from the rear and looks like a stock 66 Chevy from the front. He had it painted a dark burgundy wine color and the effect looks far better than you would imagine. The friend with the discarded factory beds now sells them almost exclusively to older pickup owners in the area since he deals in Chevy, Dodge and Ford trucks. They are everywhere now but my brother had one of the firsts.

I even had a customer who put 5.0 badges on his Mustang.
Looked good, wide tires , spoiler, ground effects, and a…
4 CYLINDER under the hood !
How’s that for an alphfa-male show off ? ( but anyone could clearly hear the truth. )

As long as you don’t misrepresent it at selling time you can put any manner of names. badges, labels, stripes, mouldings, lights, bumper stickers, bird poo…
anything on your car you want.

If you wanna show off that bad be sure to change the emblems inside too.
and paint it, ‘‘HEY, LOOK AT ME’’, canary yellow.

Factories do it too - I had a '72 Duster with factory stripes and hood scoops…and a 198 cid slant six. At least it had a Hurst shift knob on the 3-on-the-floor…

But–then again–for decades we had people who bought Mercurys because they “wanted something better than a Ford”, or a Dodge because they “wanted something better than a Plymouth”, despite the fact that the higher-priced model was mechanically identical to the cheaper marque.

Or the Cadillac Cimarron…Based on the J-Body. And cost about 30% more then the comparable Chevy. Even Cadillac lovers cringe when they hear the word Cimarron

As long as you own the car, you can legally change the emblems to whatever you choose.
You won’t fool anybody, but if this is what you want to do, by all means do it. Good luck getting the old one off withuot damaging the paint.

Is your plan for attracting ladies really to deceive them and prey on their ignorance? It sounds like the start of a great series of short-lived non-relationships.

Beats the heck out of NO relationships!

It is obvious that no certified geezers have responded to this post, so I guess I will have to do that. Back in the early 1950s, there were “fishtail” lights available for 1949-50 Chevrolets that went on the rear fenders so that your Chevrolet could become a Cadillac. These were mounted on the rear quarter panels. You could convert almost any car to a Packard by purchasing a swan hood ornament. You could go upscale with any car by buying a set of bold-on port holes so that your car wold resemble the Buicks of that era. If you had a little extra change, you could get the swan hood ornament with lighted lucite wings. These accessories were available in the Montgomery Ward catalog of that era.
Salvage yards had no problem selling the center grille bar from the 1954 Pontiacs. These were fitted to 1949-1951 Mercurys. If you had an Oldsmobile back then with the Fiesta “spinner type” wheel covers, you probably wanted to stowe them in the trunk when you parked the car. These wheel covers were hot items that graced a lot of cars that weren’t Oldsmobiles.
By the late 1950s and early 1960s, the trend went the other way and the cool group removed the chrome and ornaments from the cars. Apparently, these people really wanted their cars to resemble the Studebaker Scotsman.

I remember the ad-ons for the old air-cooled VW Beetles that would make them look like Rolls Royces. A fella in Manchester NH has an old air-cooled with the front hood & grille and a cab rear and flatbed that makes it look like a late 1930’s ford truck. I looks really cool. He drives it everywhere in the summer.

Thanks to all for the good comments. I was thinking maybe the police would consider this illegal, as if you were trying to disguise the car or something. But apparently disguising the car’s make/model is ok legal-wise as long as you aren’t trying to sell it. Interesting.

I continue to think that the newer Corolla styling is very similar to one of the newer BMW models I see all the time. I’m not sure which BMW model it is though, haven’t paid attention to the model #. You may not have noticed, as there’s no particular reason to notice unless you were looking for it. But take a look next time on the road. There’s lots of Corollas and BMW’s on the road, at least in my area of the country, so it doesn’t take long to make a visual comparison.

I agree w/everybody, I don’t think anybody who knows anything about cars would confuse the two if they rode in a Corolla w BMW emblems. The interiors are very different, and the BMW is considerably more peppy than the Corolla, particularly if it an auto-trans Corolla. And you’d notice the difference when you filled up the gas tank and calculated the mpg. But, hey, not everybody knows about cars :wink:

Illegal? I highly doubt it.

Howard Cooper Honda/VW/Porsche/Audi in Ann Arbor, Michigan used to, and for all I know still does, use a Ford Econoline van as their courtesy vehicle. They removed or painted over every Ford emblem on that vehicle. Those emblems on the exterior of the vehicle were all repainted to have a Honda H logo on them. I’m not sure who they thought they were fooling. I also found it rather ironic considering that Varsity Ford was one of the largest Ford dealers in the world and they used a single Windstar as their courtesy vehicle, while Howard Cooper (a MUCH smaller dealership) was bragging about the reliability of their Hondas while using a much larger courtesy vehicle, even though a comparable vehicle to the Windstar (the Honda Odyssey) was available on their own lot.

In any case, I doubt they would have done something illegal.

So illegal? No. Dumb? Yes.

If a cop pulls you over , she’s going to match the license tag to the vin.
Albeit unneccessary extra work due to the red flag of the wrong labels.
The vin is the Toyota the tag was issued to so she’ll have a good laugh at your expense and have a story to tell at the donut shop.

Back in 1950 when I was 9 years old, we took a trip to New York City. I thought they were using Cadillacs for taxi cabs. However, where the Cadillac emblem should have been, there was a Checker emblem. I reasoned that the cab company had removed the Cadillac emblem and replaced it with a Checker emblem since this was the Checker Cab company. Much later I found out that there was a Checker vehicle that resembled the 1946-47 Cadillac cars. The next version of the Checker that came out about 1956 could not be mistaken for anything else on the road.
Back in 1950, Desotos and Packards were also used in cab fleets, so it seemed logical to me that upscale Cadillacs should be used as well.

For those (including me) who replied “you won’t fool anybody”, I should point out that you’lll be in good company. GM has a history of “rebadging” cars, including the Prizm (Toyota Corolla), and the Cadillac Cimmeron (a cheap Chevy with fancy upholstery). Ford did it many years ago with the Capri, and other manufacturers have done it as well.

There was also a thread here recently with photos of an old Toyota pickup restored with Ferrarri design cues and badges.

That’s why I find stuff like this pointless. The people that don’t know about cars have no idea what all the little badges and stickers and other fake stuff you put on your car means. The people that do know about cars, do know what they mean, and are laughing at you :wink:

“It’s a fugazi”

All this discussion about branding of an automobile reminds me of an experience a colleague had going to an independent battery shop. The shop determined that he needed a new battery and got one off the shelf. The battery had no brand name on it. When my colleague asked about the manufacturer of the battery, the proprietor opened his desk drawer and in the drawer were all kinds of labels from different brands of batteries. He looked at my friend and said “What kind of battery do you want it to be?”

I always thought that GM could have saved money by sending the cars to the dealers without any brand name. The dealer could then apply the correct insignia depending on what make the dealer sold.

That’s the truck! It isn’t something I’d do, but it looks well done and i appreciste good workmanship. It has a style all its own.

had my ol’ '89 Toyota pickup not gotten totalled, I would have liked to pull the body, bring the chassis up to snuff, and put on either a Phaeton body or perhaps an old '20s truck body. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

And VW-Audi increased the value of the A8 about 10 years ago when they rebadged it as the VW Phaeton…

well, maybe not. But you can get a Phaeton with the W12 for a great price now! The 2006 A8L W12 is $40,000 while the VW Phaeton W12 is $32,600 - almost 15% off just for the badge. And at 406 #-ft torque and 444 HP, it just screams.