Somewhere along the way, someone must have decided that if a name appealed to people, they might buy more cars. But why the names of places? I don’t think that I’d buy a car called Seville, Eldorado, New Yorker, Parisienne, Savoy, Malibu, Montreal, BelAir, Newport, Daytona, Monterey, Bonneville, or Catalina even if I’d been there and liked it. But I might not buy a car named after a place that I didn’t like.
I happen to like animals, so I’m glad that there are a lot of classic cars named after them. I’ve owned a Cougar for over thirty years. I really like horses, so maybe that’s why I drive a Bronco, and I’ve owned my share of Mustangs and, dare I admit it, Pintos. I also like fish, especially the way they taste, which could explain my past ownership of multiple Barracudas, Sting-Rays, and even a Marlin. Ditto for birds such as a Falcon, Thunderbird, Lark, and Skylark, all of which have occupied my garage at one time or another. I really don’t mind snakes. I’ve even held a few, but apparently I don’t like them enough to have ever owned a Cobra or a Viper.
Some animals are simply regal, so I can understand naming a car after them. I’ve owned Impalas, Jaguars, Stags, and Wildcats. I currently own a Road Runner but I doubt it has anything to do with the name. After all, a Road Runners only claim to fame is that it says “meep, meep” and can outsmart a coyote.
Did you ever wonder what was going through the mind of the very first person to look at a lobster and think “I want to eat that?” I wonder what was going through the mind of the person that decided to name a car the Hornet, or the Honey Bee (Datsun, if you were wondering). Don’t we usually run away from those things? But there could be a flaw to my logic, because one of the best selling cars of all time was the Beetle. I don’t want a Maverick in my garage, but that’s more of a political statement. And personally I don’t want a Gremlin or a Marauder anywhere near my other cars. But oddly enough I don’t have an objection to a Thing.
Some names just baffle me such as the Belvedere. Belvedere by definition means “a roofed structure, especially a small pavilion or tower on top of a building, situated so as to command a wide view.” Architectural terms? Really? Why not a car named a Gable, Stringer, I-Beam, or Foundation (actually that’s not bad). Ford Foundation has a nice ring to it.
But my all time favorite has to be the Ford Aspire. The name implies that it’s aspiring to be something, or something else. Is it aspiring to be a real car, or a better car, or at least as good as its competition?
In retrospect I’m glad that I don’t get paid to come up with car names. I can’t think of a single one that would be lofty yet classy enough to satisfy my idea of the perfect name.
Contact Steve: firstname.lastname@example.org