Wolseley "Beetle" (1904), a racing car by Gordon Bennett of the UK. Note: the "Wolseley" brand name (dormant) is now owned by SAIC of China, a major joint venture partner of Volkswagen AG of Germany. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. (1875-1951) began building his first Beetle prototypes in 1931, with the first official German government-sponsored car made in 1935 (chassis used in continuous production until 2003 in Puebla, Mexico). Brand new Beetles continue in limited production by two independent firms in southern Germany today - one in Bavaria (Memminger Feine Cabrios & Stahlbau GmbH in Reichertshofen, Bavaria) and a VW-sponsored firm in Baden-Württemberg (the Volkswagen electric e-Beetle made by e-Classics). The English language nickname "Beelte" was used by the public at least going back to the 1950s, but only appeared in official Volkswagen sales literature for the car in the 1969 model year.
Great idea for an article How about Pontiac and Ferrari GTO. Morgan Plus 4 and current Morgan-Hino (I don't think they will get confused) Pontiac and Triumph Bonneville (bike) And the winner for ubiquitous- GT used by upteen brands deservedly and not so.
You mentioned the Rambler/AMC Ambassador, but forgot the Nash Ambassador. The Nash/Rambler/AMC "Ambassador" is one of the longest running names continuously used by the same company. It started in 1927 with a specially trimmed four-door, five-passenger club sedan version of the "Nash Advanced Six". It was the top of the line Nash model from 1932 through the last Nash made in 1957. Nash and Hudson merged in 1954 forming AMC. The Rambler models were the hottest selling AMC, and AMC used "Rambler" as the car line name starting in 1958 after the Nash and Hudson nameplates were dropped. For 58 and 59 the Ambassador was soled almost as it's own nameplate, being billed as "Ambassador by Rambler" rather than "Rambler Ambassador", which it became in 1960. AMC started phasing out "Rambler" as the car line name in 1966, with the Ambassador sold as the "AMC Ambassador" with the Rambler nameplate removed. After 68 AMC replaced Rambler as the line name on all cars, with the Rambler name staying on only the smallest car -- reverting to a model name. The 69 Rambler American was renamed AMC Rambler.
If you guys want to check with your brethren in the Hagerty Marine unit, they'll gladly explain to you my 1955 Chris-Craft Continental, or the sporty Capri, or the Century Coronado, and then later, there were others (Corvette, etc.) in finned fiberglass boats. Throughout, I wondered if marine manufacturers had to seek a license to use those names on boats? Might make an interesting story for both Hagerty units.
GMC Sierra, Ford Cosworth Sierra RS, Pontiac Grand Prix Model J, Duesenberg Model J (DeLorean was rumored to have done that on purpose;) Mercury Capri, Lincoln Capri. The first Corvair was a 1953 Corvette styling study. And that wildly popular 2.2 Charger that still gives me nightmares.
How about Banshee? Used by Fiberfab in 1966 to build 12 kit cars- the name was changed to Carribee after Fiberfab sold the rights to the name to GM, then used on the Pontiac Banshee. In the 1970`s it was used by the French maker, Matra. I believe at least one other maker used the Banshee name.
Pontiac”Super Duty” was used of Catalinas with a souped up 421 V8 that won lots of NASCAR races but now is used of Ford trucks (hardly a race machine!). “The ultimate driving machine” was first used to describe a 67 GTO in a video ad. It was not a name designation & was not copyrighted. BMW later stole the phrase & copyrighted it for their cars.