1) Citroen CX wing mirrors on the TVR Griffith, Mk2 Lotus Esprit, and Jaguar XJ220
The faster a car is, the less likely someone is to overtake you. This is eminently sensible logic, and going by that logic, it means that you won’t need to use your wing mirrors as much. You may as well throw on any old thing.
Yet somehow, every shed-based British carmaker of the ’80s and ’90s saw fit to glue on the mirrors that originally saw service on the humble but attractive Citroen CX. Seriously, these things got everywhere, it’s like they were falling from the sky. The Aston Martin Virage, the McLaren F1, and any number of TVR, Venturi, and Marcos models.
2) Maestro Van rear lights on the Land Rover Discovery
Land Rover is a successful brand now, but it was touch and go for a while there in the ’80s. The Range Rover was an early glimmer of diversification, but it was the Discovery that started to move the firm within reach of families who wanted something premium and robust.
The ladder chassis, the doors, and the windshield were carried over from the original Range Rover to save money, while the rear lights were yanked out of the Austin-Rover parts bin straight off the Maestro Van, the sensible option for many small traders in the ’80s.
3) Bova Futura coach rear lights on the McLaren F1
The McLaren F1 is one of the coolest cars on the planet—it broke records when it was launched and regularly hits millions at auctions. But don’t tell your passengers that it shares its rear lights with the wheels of the German schoolkids you just smoked away from the lights.
In fact, just picture the scene in an immaculate office in Woking when someone had to tell Ron Dennis that the indicators and the brake lights at the back of the then-fastest car in the world were in fact from the Dutch-built 1982 Bova Futura coach.
4) Morris Marina door handles on the Range Rover
The Morris Marina was the beigest of beige ’70s family cars, it brought nothing to the table beyond a sensible shoes approach and keen pricing. Put it this way—this was the car that British Leyland put up against the Volkswagen Golf.
The door handles were arguably the Morris Marina’s best feature, but that’s like having nice elbows. Taken out of the Marina context, they are actually quite nice as handles go—rectangular in shape and flush with the bodywork in execution. Smart.
And they turned up all over the place—the Land Rover Discovery and the Lotus Esprit used the Marina handles. But put them on a Range Rover and they become instantly fancy, inspiring a wave of copycats across the globe.
5) Mazda 323F rear lights on the Aston Martin DB7
The slightly anonymous 1989-94 Mazda 323F hatchback had it all on paper—decent drive, pop-up lights, Japanese reliability...but it never quite took off. By far the best thing to come out of the 323F’s noble existence was the donation of its rear dazzlers to the new Aston Martin DB7 in 1994.
The DB7 was actually a quick facelift job on an aborted F-Type project at Jaguar that parent company Ford wasn’t keen on spending into production. Blue Oval bosses were keen on getting a new entry-level GT in the Aston lineup, but the thrifty budget meant tipping the parts bin onto the floor.
It’s a veritable who’s who of other people’s stuff—Citroen CX mirrors, Ford Scorpio wing mirror switches, Mazda MX-5 door handles. And of course, those rear lights that look much better on the Aston than they ever did on the 323F.
NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.