after senior editor joey capparella took last week off, the window shop regulars reassemble to take up a challenge from a viewer: find the best badge-engineered car for under $15,000. the objective turns out to be more difficult than expected, and we spend a fair amount of time arguing over the definition of "badge engineered."
contributing editor jonathon ramsey ventures to the land down under and returns with a pontiac g8 gt. in a textbook case of bringing a modified gun to a knife fight, he touts the aftermarket bits added to pontiac’s performance sports-sedan swan song—like six-piston calipers and a corvette badge—and then tries to sell the idea of an email tune for the automatic transmission. if you have never heard of an e-mail tune, consider yourself lucky.
fresh from his week off, capparella attempts to convince us that choosing a mercury mystique is a great idea because it's actually a badge-engineered car twice over, being a europe-market ford that became a u.s.-market ford that became a mercury. if that's confusing, watching the video isn't any better.
deputy testing director k.c. colwell finds a lincoln blackwood, which leads us to ask several questions: when is a lincoln not a ford? when is a suzuki a nissan? is that wood? and is it mr. vader or lord vader?
contributor john pearley huffman puts forth a legitimate example of badge engineering, but his internet skills yield two near-death project cars. huffman continues his fruitless search during the show until we finally force him to stop. finally, deputy editor and ringleader tony quiroga surprises the zoom room with yet another oldsmobile. his pick features deafening power locks, deer whistles that appear to have worked, and power locks that sound like a bolt-action rifle. in the end, we have some laughs, a winner is crowned, and we advance the culture.