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Rebel coming…?

by David Zatz on

Jim Choate, in his regular review of Chrysler trademarks, pointed out that the company has applied for a trademark on the name “Rebel.”

While there were Chrysler Rebels sold in South Africa through 1978, most Americans associate the name (if they remember it at all) with AMC. That company started using the name in 1957 with the Rambler Rebel, billed as “the first American factory hot rod.” It ran the quarter in 17.0 seconds, and was advertised as the fastest four door car in America from 0-60 mph.

The name was applied to all V8 Ramblers in 1958; that use continued through 1960. It was brought back in 1965, as a two-door coupe derivative of the Rambler Classic, carrying a four-barrel 327 with four speed manual and dual exhaust. Then, in 1967, the Rebel name was shifted to all mid-size Ramblers, through 1970. The “hot” Rebel for 1970 was “The Machine,” with 390 V8 and dual exhaust. The Rebel name continued for AMC in New Zealand and likely other export markets, but was replaced by Matador for 1971 North American cars.

Along another track, the DeSoto Rebel was originally a rebadged 1961 Dodge Lancer (Plymouth Valiant clone) sold only in South Africa. Rambler appears to have sold their own Rebel in the same country, at the same time.

With all this history, one may wonder what sports car will get the Rebel name — will it be a compact sedan like the planned 2005 Dodge Rebel? The Dodge version of FCA’s upcoming rear wheel drive midsize cars, ejecting the Avenger name? Or a trim package on Charger or Dart?

According to Erik Latranyi, the Rebel name will not be applied to a car at all — it will be a lowering kit sold for the Renegade (or, presumably, a Renegade with a lowered suspension and other on-road handling paraphernalia). Forum member “Jeepnut” bolstered Erik’s argument, pointing out that the name of the lowered Renegade shown in China was … translated from the Chinese … “Rebel.”

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