Spannerhead Dot

In Favor of Debadging Your Car

May 6, 2013 by Matt

Debadged 1986 BMW 635CSi White E24

Debadged 1995 BMW 525i E34 Oxford Green

I was against it before I was for it.

The standard line of argument against debadging hinges on pride in a particular make and model. I’ve heard variations to the tune of “such-and-such car is one of the most prestigious and revered models to be made by this-and-that automaker; you should leave it on as a tribute to the car’s pedigree,” and so on.

I understand that; it used to be my very own line of thinking, but several years ago, during an online forum discussion about the subject, a contributor gave me a new perspective on debadging. He wrote:

Take it off.

I take any adhesive badges off my cars. If there weren’t holes/indents on some, I’d take them all off.

In general, I’m sick of corporatism and being constantly marketed to. Why should I carry and display a corporate logo wherever I go?

I like the cleaner look. I don’t know why I need to clutter up the rear, just to make sure everyone knows it is what it is. Who cares? It really is silly when you think about it.

I wouldn’t go as far as removing the actual brand logos like roundels and emblems—larger design elements of the car are often built around them and don’t work without them—but his overall point really struck a chord. After all, who are the model badges intended to inform? Those who don’t know what the car is; true enthusiasts are aware of what they’re looking at by the car’s lines and details alone. Why festoon my car’s decklid just to advertise what I have to those who aren’t interested in the first place? Like the contributor points out, from a certain perspective, it is a bit ridiculous. And, like him, I appreciate the cleaner no-badge look as well.

Needless to say, all my cars receive the dental-floss-and-adhesive-remover treatment soon after the title is signed over.

Filed under: Aesthetics, Miscellaneous


  1. John D says:

    For me it’s more car-specific. I don’t really have a firm stance on it one way or another, but I think, for instance, removing the badges on the green bimmer really enhances it’s look while I probably would have left them on the white one. I’m not really sure why. Have never stopped to analyze it before, but sometimes I see a car that has been de-badged and like it…other times not so much. I think for me it’s more model and style specific.

    • Matt says:

      I’m pretty firm on it, although it will be said the minivan still wears its “MPV” badge on the back… I try to visualize what I would do if my car were, say, an M5 instead of a lowly 525, and I really thing I would remove the badge even then. Those who know what it is will know without the badge, and conversely, it’s just an easy to slap an “M5” badge on the trunklid as it is to take it off, so it really doesn’t prove anything, if you think about it.

  2. Paul says:

    i did it with mine, just on a whim. my toyota has lexus rims however and I have hesitated on removing the center caps on the rims , I’m sure no one thinks its a lexus, but removing them would leave the wheels ugly. also left the “se v6” on the side. its not a brand but why i would or the car company would advertise anything less than a v8 seems weird. maybe that’s why i left them.

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