Are you being productive today? If so, I have an idea: stop it. Why accomplish something of value when you can waste lots and lots of time looking at 3D models of generic cars and trying to figure out what real cars they’re based on? That’s a much better use of your time, so let’s have at it.
The history of turning real cars into generalized, unbranded doppelgängers goes back further than you may think, and there must be a real demand for these, judging by how many are available.
They’re generally based on familiar cars and modified just enough in crucial visual ways to keep hungry, circling car company lawyers at bay. Sometimes they’re completely unique designs inspired by real cars, sometimes they’re mash-ups of multiple real cars, and sometimes they’re just de-badged real cars that the creators are hoping you won’t recognize.
Let’s look at a few of these genericized wonders and see if we can figure out what cars they’re likely based on! It’ll be fun!
I like this “old generic hatchback” because it’s not actually a generic car, it’s just a car that is obscure in the West: it’s very clearly a Russian Lada Oka, and aside from a tweak to the badge design, it looks like a pretty exact copy of that car. This is a great starting point, but a pretty lazy genericizing effort.
This “classic SUV” shows a bit more effort, even though it’s quite clear what this was originally:
I mean, that’s pretty clearly a XJ Jeep Cherokee. Actually, the front end looks a bit more like the XJ Wagoneer, with the stacked quad headlights—but there are a number of other detail changes here to make this look more non-Jeepy: a center hood badge, different taillights and door handles, a tacked-on vent, and, uh, that’s about it.
The classic cars feel trickier to easily make generic, if you ask me. Here we see a generic American late ‘70s car and a generic ‘80s Japanese car. The American one looks like a cross between a Plymouth Volare and maybe a Dodge Diplomat—definitely some Mopar mashup, and the Japanese car is a dead ringer for a Nissan Maxima wearing a squashed Ford LTD mask.
Some of the more modern cars really bring the generalization of the car to an art form, making something that could blandly exist, almost forgotten, in a number of carmakers’s lineups, like this thing:
That’s a hell of a SparkVersaPriusMirageFiesta if I ever saw one.
Sometimes these get particularly inspired, like this one, which seems to be built relatively from scratch, and is a refugee from an alternate universe where the BMW i3 really caught on:
I like that it’s just badged as “G E N E R I C,” too.
Come on, I know a Mark 4 Volkswagen Jetta when I see one.
The Generic brand seems to be the one that really brings the most effort to these, I’m noticing. Look at this generic luxury Generic sedan:
That’s pretty striking-looking. Good job, Generic! Check out Generic’s SUV:
A two-door, even! Bold move!
Anyway, I highly recommend wasting some time looking at all the generic 3D cars on the internet, and if you find any particularly good or bad ones, stick them in the comments, so we can all be enriched.
(thanks again, Hans!)