Why do some iconic cars become imprinted in our psyche for years to come? Are we infatuated with performance models that we are willing to erase or alter our car’s true identity?

BMW may have started this trend. In other words, they might have unofficially endorsed the re-badging of some of their cars. The other day, I was making my way out of this narrow but long parking lot after having lunch with one of my friends. Suddenly I found my self doing a double take on a tastefully modified Alpine White BMW 135i parked on my right hand side. Quickly stopped, backed up my car, grabbed the camera and leaped towards the parked car. From the excitement, I even left my door open. I know, a stupid move.

Anyhow, this car’s visible mods included: VMR V718 Gunmetal wheels, lowered suspension, carbon fiber trunk lip spoiler, after market exhaust with a carbon fiber rear valence, and a carbon fiber roof wrap job with blacked out roof fin contrasting that classic white paint. Heck, even mud flaps behind all four tires, a mod I couldn’t justify for anything but keeping debris off the paint on track and autocross days.

Great looking car, albeit the rubber mudflaps. But what truely caught my attention is the blacked-out 2002 badge in place of the original 135i badge. In reality we all know that BMW paid a tribute to that iconic name in the Concept 1 Series tii. Which was a marketing stunt after all, paving the road for the BMW M Performance Parts line up as well as the 1 Series M Coupe, and the 135is that should be coming to a show room near you shortly.

To the real question, is a rebadge or debadge of your BMW justified in this case? This is a trend not unique to BMW alone. Search a major BMW forum, a Nissan/Infiniti forum, or a Toyota/Lexus forum, you will see tons of rebadged / debadged cars. Let’s be honest here, one must admit that the 2002 badge on the 1 Series is very adequate and reasonable. At least the car is not destroyed with a fake ///M badge.


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