If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Halloween is a holiday made for polishing apples as much as it is for bobbing for them. Every October, people everywhere travel door-to-door in a hunt for sugary treats while donning the look of their favorite monsters, memes, and superheroes with mass-marketing appeal.
While it’s technically true that a bucket load of candy is the end goal of a night of trick-or-treating, we need to be honest with ourselves. The candy is a red herring…a trick, so to speak. In reality, the “treat” that makes Halloween such a beloved holiday is the opportunity to dress up as someone—or something—else.
The success of Halloween as a holiday stems from the fact that it capitalizes on one universal truth: imaginative pretense is fun. Heck, even automobile manufacturers can attest to this. Just look at all the vehicles produced over the years that have dressed up as other vehicles, albeit in a more permanent kind of way.
The automotive industry is rife with “borrowed” design elements resulting in a multitude of unrelated cars, trucks, and SUVs ranging from vaguely similar in appearance to virtual copies of each other.
If you need a bit of costume inspiration this Halloween, here are a few of our favorite vehicles that did their level best (we think) to look like other vehicles.
What it dressed as: The Chrysler PT Cruiser
Automotive enthusiasts don’t usually point to the early 2000s as a golden age of vehicle design, and here are two reasons why. Launching during the 2001 model year, Chrysler’s PT Cruiser employed a retro high-roof design that took inspiration from 1930s era vehicles. The vehicle’s appearance was loved or loathed, depending on who you asked, but it certainly was unique for its time—that is until Chevrolet hired the same designer to create its own modern high-roof, the HHR. Both vehicles were out of production by 2011.
1970 Datsun 240Z
What it dressed as: A Jaguar E-Type/Ferrari 275 GTB/4 fever dream
Just look at that beautiful European sports caaa….wait, what? It’s not a Euro? You’d be forgiven for thinking so, but no. Like many Japanese makes at the time the 240Z leaned hard into derivative, but the vehicles themselves were known for excellent build quality and being incredibly fun to drive.
2013 Ford Fusion
What it dressed as: The Aston Martin DB9
Call it Fusion. Ford Fusion. When Ford’s second generation mid-sized sedan launched for the 2013 model year, a lot of us couldn’t help but feel a little shaken and stirred by how similar its grille and headlights appeared to a certain famous British spy car. The similarity ends there, but it’s still shocking. “Positively shocking.”
1973 Aston Martin V8 Saloon
What it dressed as: The 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1
Ford can feel a little better about the obvious inspiration for its Fusion sedan knowing that Aston Martin totally borrowed design elements from its Mustang first. From the silhouette, to the grille, to the headlights, the pony car influence is hard to miss.
2015 Chrysler 300
What it dressed as: The love child of a Bentley Flying Spur and Rolls-Royce Ghost
Of course, Aston Martin isn’t the only British luxury car brand that’s served as an inspiration for American automakers. The silhouette and design features of the Chrysler 300 have long drawn comparisons to Rolls-Royce vehicles, but Chrysler’s 2015 refresh blurred the line in favor of Bentley with the addition of a strikingly familiar factory mesh grille.
1962 Datsun Fairlady
What it dressed as: 1956 Chevrolet Corvette
And we’re back to Datsun again. The first vehicle that company imported to the U.S. took clear inspiration from one of the native classics: the ’56 Corvette. Minor similarities are apparent in the vehicle design, but the most obvious source of inspiration shows up in the side scoop.
1976 Toyota Celica GT Liftback
What it dressed as: 1974 Ford Mustang II
There’s a reason why the Toyota Celica was once derided as a Mustang imitator, and it’s because…well…look at it. The original Celica borrowed design details from the Camaro as well, but the GT models went the most overboard in taking inspiration from the competition. And by inspiration, we mean vents and scoops.
2003 Kia Amanti
What it dressed as: Mercedes E-Class W210
Just look at that front end. Do we really need to say more?
What it dressed as: Toyota FJ Cruiser
When Ford launched its Troller as a Jeep competitor for the Brazilian market, it integrated design elements that bring to mind other successful off-road SUVs. Perhaps the most apparent is the Toyota FJ Cruiser, with which it shares some especially noticeable similarities in the front-end bodywork. That said, you probably won’t notice this once its slathered in mud.