Hooniverse Asks: What Was the Most Successful Automotive Repurposing?

Whether it was the AE86 tail lights that found a new home on the back end of the Lotus Esprit, or Henrik Fisker leveraging models from two different car makers for his short-lived coachbuilt Latigos, the repurposing of cars and parts is an endeavor as old as the biz.
What we want to talk about today is Scirocco tail lights on Aston Martins and Matrix instrument clusters on Pontiac Solsti. What do you think is history’s most successful automotive repurposing?
Image: Supercars.net 

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31 responses to “Hooniverse Asks: What Was the Most Successful Automotive Repurposing?”

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      Oooooooh! That’s not just any UPS truck (the one pictured, anyway), but the Hydraulic Hybrid. I’d love to see a Hooniverse article on that. Here’s a couple of links:

    1. Fuhrman16 Avatar

      The windshield was also a Ford part, it started out as the rear window on a Galaxie station wagon.

      1. outback_ute Avatar

        It looks like it is still in the hatch which might open!

          1. outback_ute Avatar

            Here I was assuming it had doors… maybe with microscopic shut lines?? D’oh!!
            I’ll add it to the Isettas and Heinkel Trojan as vehicles with a door at the front, all similarly vulnerable to front end damage!

    1. P161911 Avatar

      If I ever get stupid rich, Mega Millions Lottery Winner kind of money, I’m going to get a Barris Batmobile and convert it back to a Lincoln Futura.

      1. theskig Avatar

        Ahahahah 🙂

    1. 0A5599 Avatar

      Dodge used GM Turbo 400 transmissions for the Drag Pak Challenger.

      1. P161911 Avatar

        Did they wear out the tooling for the 727 transmission?

  1. 0A5599 Avatar

    The first Tuckers used Cord transmissions. Cord was long gone at the time, and Tucker imploded a short time after, but it did pioneer the practice of using FWD components to drive the proper pair of wheels.

  2. ptschett Avatar

    Since the anniversary of D-day was yesterday: the M4A4 variant of the Sherman tank, which used a 30-cylinder Chrysler engine built out of 5 straight-6’s.

    1. cap'n fast Avatar
      cap’n fast

      speaking of M4 shermans, the amphibious duplex drive version used an R-985 P&W radial engine as the air cooled engine worked well when a little wet and was a lot lighter making it easier to “float” a loaded for action tank ashore. curious looks when passing troops down the road when they saw the two propellers under the back of the shermans

  3. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

    The oval side marker on the first-gen Viper is actually a generic design that’s still used on thousands of small utility trailers.

    1. outback_ute Avatar

      Same for the McLaren F1 – tail lights were off the shelf parts. Another one just came to mind, that the GT40 that had Corvair tail lights.

  4. Maymar Avatar

    I’m sure points could easily be made for picking an SBC variant over the Buick 215 V8, but this managed to survive 50 years despite being cast off, and was integral to an entire nation’s motor industry.

    1. JayP Avatar

      My brother just had his ’77 MGB refreshed. He’d bought it with a ’62 (?) Buick 215 which needed attention. If it was a GT, I’d have it myself.

    2. outback_ute Avatar

      How about the Olds 215 blocks repurposed to form the basis for the Repco F1 V8’s?

      1. Ol' Shel' Avatar
        Ol’ Shel’

        There was also a beefed-up Can-Am version. I still kick myself for passing on one listed in Hemmings over 20 years ago.

        1. outback_ute Avatar

          Do you mean a Traco Olds? Or a Repco V8? I think those topped out at 5-litres for F5000, and there was a 4.3L version used in sports cars.

  5. 0A5599 Avatar

    Here’s a picture of 13 million bucks in low hanging fruit.

  6. crank_case Avatar

    Take Beetle components, make probably the worlds most successful single seater series:

  7. salguod Avatar

    Caravan taillights in the first generation Durango:

  8. NapoleonSolo Avatar

    Slightly off-topic for repurposing, but I once purchased a vanload of parts left behind when a Rover P4 fanatic passed on. I spent a lot of time cross-referencing a ton of NOS Lucas parts in little orange boxes. The old Rover parts all found good homes eventually, but I really cleaned up on a bunch of floor-mounted headlight dimmer switches. Many Rover people then operated on a budget and tended to barter as often as buy old parts, but these switches were apparently also used in Aston Martins and Austin-Healeys whose owners bid them up through the roof on eBay. I had driven 500 miles to salvage as many of these parts before they were trashed (there had been a house fire, and it was about to be rebuilt). Making some bucks on those headlight dimmers made it much easier to donate many of the remaining parts to good causes and sell more at very reasonable prices to Rover friends.

  9. Borkwagen Avatar

    The XK straight-6 engine from this:
    and this:
    eventually found a home in this:
    specifically a FV101 Scorpion. James Blunt drove one you know.