Welcome to Ridiculous Rebadges, a series of articles in which I go through and examine the details and circumstances surrounding some of the more infamous and some of the more esoteric vehicular rebadges throughout automotive history.


As a sort of fitting final to the Australian month that Ridiculous Rebadges has had, I decided to go with perhaps one of the oddest products of badge engineering in history, courtesy of ly2v8-Brian‘s suggestion a few weeks ago. The car in question is the Mazda Roadpacer AP (Anti Pollution, not Advanced Placement) and was built in the mid 1970s as a competitor to the contemporary Toyota Century and Nissan President market. Lacking a properly large sedan to call their own, Mazda rang up Holden and asked for several HJ Premier sedans to be shipped up to Japan, sans engine. There they were fitted with Mazda’s venerable 13B rotary engine, more known in later applications with the RX-7. Despite being more powerful than Holden’s standard straight six engines, the rotary produced nearly no torque, resulting in an astounding 103 mph top speed and 9 miles to the gallon (in the middle of the ‘70s oil crisis). Extra luxury features such as “a central locking system that activated when the car hit 10 km/h (6.2 mph), a chime system that activated at 90 km/h (56 mph), a dictation system and a stereo able to be controlled from both front and back seats” (Wikipedia) were added to cater to Japanese buyers, but unsurprisingly, only 800 models sold, mostly to government agencies. Later, many of these were crushed, so if you find a Roadpacer on the roads someday, you may be looking at one of the last.


Holden HJ Premier

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[First two images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons]

[Third image courtesy of flickr.com user HJ75]


Mazda Roadpacer AP

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[First two images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons]

[Third image courtesy of flickr.com user History of Japanese Cars in New Zealand]

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Sources:

[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mazda_Roa…]

[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holden_HJ]