Fun fact.

As we all know, there is nothing 80s and 90s GM loved more than rebadging things in really weird ways. Here’s a great example!

Beginning in the seventies, Isuzu had a very close relationship with General Motors. Many many Isuzu cars and trucks made their way into foreign markets wearing the badges of more contemporary and “Western” brands.

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One of those brands was Bedford, shown above is the KB pickup, based on Isuzu’s venerable KB pickup which also formed the basis for the Chevy LUV. If you’re not familiar with Bedford, think GMC but British and you’re on the right track. Bedford made commercial vehicles and other work vehicles. Buses, semi trucks, pickups, vans, that sort of thing. And Isuzu has always been heavily focused on commercial vehicles, so naturally a lot of Isuzus became Bedfords.

Enter the Bedford Midi. Meant to replace the CF series van which had at that point been in production for almost 16 years, the Midi was based on the Isuzu Fargo mid size van and competed with the absolutely dominant Ford Transit and slightly less dominant vans that weren’t the Transit so who really cares. Bedford built these vans in their Luton plant, and as the UK was quite small they decided to export them as well. And what better market to export them to than the market right across the Channel?

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And that’s where shit gets weird. Enter the GME Midi. No, not GMC, GME. For some reason, instead of using the Opel brand which had been used for vans previously (including the Midi’s predecessor, the also Bedford-based Opel Blitz), GM decided to say fuck it and called it a GME for some reason. Like GMC, but European. They even used an extremely similar badge that I’m not quite certain isn’t GMC’s logo with a line drawn on the C to make it look like an E.

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Now, this strategy might have made sense if the Midi wasn’t GME’s only product, but no. GME was never a fleshed out brand. Just one van, that’s it. It would’ve made perfect sense to create a continental European equivalent to Bedford in the UK or GMC in North America, a brand dedicated to selling commercial vehicles in Europe, but nope. After the Midi was killed off in the early nineties, it was replaced by the Opel/Vauxhall Arena, a rebadged Renault Trafic. And that was the end of that. Bedford itself was killed off around the same time as GME was, and Bedford’s vehicles simply became Vauxhalls instead, including the Midi which lived on for a few years after Bedford’s death.

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GM in the 80s and 90s was a wild ride.

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