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Chrysler trademarks ‘Rebel’ nameplate, stirring the ghost of AMC

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Long before the official announcements and appearance of shiny concept cars, carmakers sometimes drop hints about their future product plans.

According to Ignitionist Chrysler has trademarked the name Rebel, meaning this name from the U.S. auto industry’s distant past could grace a new car (or truck) once again.

The Rebel was most notably used by American Motors Corporation (AMC) on its mainstream midsize model from 1967 to 1970. The Rebel was available in a variety of body styles, and there was even a performance version known simply as The Machine.

There’s some continuity here. Chrysler bought AMC in 1987, but scrapped everything except the Jeep and Eagle divisions.

The Rebel was long gone by then. It was replaced by the Matador in 1970, and things only got worse for AMC from there. An unfortunate alliance with Renault produced an unfortunate car named Alliance, the failure of which was among the factors that led to Chrysler’s takeover.

So while the original Rebel is now an American classic, invoking the sordid history of its maker may not be the intention here.

Rather, Rebel may just be a cool name that Chrysler wants to exploit. It’s thematically similar to Renegade, the name bestowed upon Jeep’s hot new small crossover, so the next Rebel may not be a car at all.

It’s also possible that Chrysler trademarked the name preemptively, either to prevent others from using it, or to reserve it for an undetermined future use.

Either way, in an age of alphanumeric German and Japanese luxury cars, it’s always nice to see a name on the tailgate, and Rebel has a nice ring to it.