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I was watching Episode 6 of Season 10 of the Big Bang Theory. In this episode, Howard tries to convince Bernadette that a minivan is a good idea, and he has one on a 24-hour test-drive from the dealership.

I don't live in the US, but I was able to make a pretty good guess that the minivan was probably a Chrysler (we get Chrysler Grand Voyagers down under) so did some poking around on Google, searching "chrysler minivan rear".

I found this image, which I compared to the rear of the minivan shown in the episode. It is apparently a 2016 Chrysler Town & Country.

Chrysler minivan

Minivan as seen in episode

The resemblance is quite striking, and the one used in the show probably is indeed the Town & Country. This led me to wonder, how do they do such a good job of masking the make and model?

Do they make a special order from a dealer? Do they use a professional auto detailer? Do they use CGI?

As you can see when comparing the two pictures, the one seen in the show is seemingly not a simple "take the badge off" trick; there is actually a blank badge within a sort of diamond where the Chrysler "wings" would ordinarily be spread. Furthermore, the stock model does not have a raised diamond and has lettering on the metal on the boot.

The practice of concealing automakers in this show, at least, is common, though one could clearly identify Penny's original car as a Volkswagen, and I think Bernadette's car is a Nissan.

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    You can order cars badgeless - i.e. without any identifier other than the maker, no model details, it's usually to hide it being either a top prestige or base model. I used to own a badgeless BMW 7. The maker badge replacement may be as simple as a match for the original badge-holes & may be just push-fit. There are hundreds of them available from auto traders. That model would appear to show no specific indentation the badge fits to, so that would make it easier. – Tetsujin Jan 13 '18 at 11:18
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    idk, honestly. I was 2nd owner. The car was originally the dealer demonstrator, so had every option possible to fit. All I really know is that tends to be the trend, hide either the top or the bottom model; presumably for opposing psychological reasons? e.g. no need to brag, vs, I don't want anyone to know I got the cheap one ;) – Tetsujin Jan 13 '18 at 11:22
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    Yup, most of my bags have camera tape over the labels & I never buy any clothing with a camera-visible logo. & @DogLover - yes it was:) – Tetsujin Jan 13 '18 at 12:35
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    This might actually be the European model, a Lancia Voyager. That "diamond" does have the shape of the Lancia logo. – Oliver_C Jan 13 '18 at 20:32
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They modify them. The Big Bang Theory is filmed on the Warner Brothers Studio lot. In addition to providing locations for film and television productions, WB offers prop rental services that include design and manufacturing. The studio employs hundreds of craftsmen, designers, costumers, carpenters, metal-workers and mechanics to design any customized props a production may need, from soda cans to batarangs.

This includes vehicles. Almost every vehicle that you see on a production filmed in a studio lot has been customized in some way. At the very least, the original engines will be removed and replaced with electric motors. This is to eliminate the sounds of engines running in the background during filming. On the set of ER, for example, they maintained a fleet of half a dozen ambulances, all fitted with electric motors.

Once a prop, vehicle or costume has been manufactured, it becomes part of the studio's extensive collection, and is usually available for rental by subsequent productions.

You can read more about the facilities and services they offer at Warner Brothers Studio Facilities.

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    In the 1960s and 1970s, you'd see in the credits things like "cars provided by Ford/Chrysler/GM". Mostly on crime dramas like those from Quinn Martin. – RonJohn Jan 13 '18 at 23:50
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    "At the very least, the original engines will be removed and replaced with electric motors. This is to eliminate the sounds of engines running in the background during filming. " This seems like it would be unnecessary in a large number of shoots. Why would the cars need to be running on set? Do they regularly have sets built large enough to actually drive around through? Most times I've seen filming of cars, the cars aren't actually going anywhere. – JMac Jan 14 '18 at 4:03
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    @JMac I think in case a car needs to be moved on a small scale such as backing into a garage or driveway. – The Great Duck Jan 14 '18 at 8:06
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This is not modification or de-badging, it is re-branding (rebadging)


This is not a modified or de-badged 2016 Chrysler Town & Country. It is actually a Lancia Voyager S. (2011 or later) But with the stick-on Voyager and the S logos removed.

Just about the exact same car but with another name, and sold in different locations.

  • Ah, the good ol' Town & Country / Caravan / Voyager rebranding, I thought the Voyager died with Plymouth...alas the nonsense continues. – rtaft Jan 16 '18 at 15:43
  • Yes rtaft. Like many other makes and models. – svin83 Jan 19 '18 at 11:45

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