By on September 16, 2019

Today’s QOTD was set to be something about the labor action in which the UAW and GM are mired. No matter which side of the bargaining table you’re rooting for, that subject always generates plenty of comments.

But, thanks to a well-placed ad, your author was reminded of a much lighter topic: weird and wonderful car names … including one of his favorites.

Before getting to that one, I will freely admit that that lads on Top Gear had it right when they said the Jenson Interceptor had one of the best names ever applied to a car. With just the right number of syllables and hard-sounding consonants, it was easy to say with a curled lip. I feel the same about the Holden Commodore, even if the car itself occasionally left something to be desired (not the LS3-powered VF, though).

Japanese companies also tend to dub their vehicles and variants thereof with wild’n’crazy titles. My most favorite? Why, the Astonish!!, of course. How anyone can fail to grin when saying that name, with its too-excited double exclamation inflection, is beyond me. Mazda offered the Bongo Friendee and Proceed Marvie, also excellent choices.

What’s your pick for the most tremendous (weird or not) name ever to appear on a car?

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77 Comments on “QOTD: What’s in a Name?...”


  • avatar
    thornmark

    Acura Legend and

    Buick Roadmaster

    back when Buick was a viable US brand and not some parts bin marketing scheme because China

    Acura, please do yourself a favor and bring back the Legend

    • 0 avatar
      teddyc73

      How did you come up with such a bizarre take on Buick? It’s viable. It’s selling a bunch of SUVs. What exactly is a “parts bin marketing scheme”?.

      By the way…it should be “because of China”.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        not really – Buick is essentially a one trick pony in the US, the imported Encore, which isn’t a Buick by design or manufacture, makes up the bulk their sales

        and “because China” is intentional

        • 0 avatar
          Mike Beranek

          The last real Buicks were the G-bodies, the 2000-2005 LeSabre/Park Avenue and the 2006-2008 Lucernes that had the Buick 3800 motor. Since then, they are all either Chevrolets or Opels. Buick is just a label now.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            The last real Buicks were the G-bodies…

            Surely you mean B or C bodies? Or do you mean G-body COUPES?

            I had a G-body sedan (Oldsmobile) and all I have to say is just: No.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I’d submit that the current Enclave (terrible name, BTW) and the last LaCrosse were both better Buicks than anything ever built with a 3800.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            The Lacrosse is an underappreciated darn good sedan. It’s a shame that the Impala and the XTS didn’t live long enough to get the platform that was under the last Lacrosse.

          • 0 avatar
            thornmark

            bingo!

          • 0 avatar
            Mike Beranek

            Reply to the replies:
            Dan, you had an Aurora, with a faulty Cadillac Northstar derivative that loves to mix oil and coolant. The last G’s were all sedans- LeSabre, Park Avenue, Lucerne, Bonneville, Seville, DeVille, Aurora- except for the Riviera 2-door. But only the Buicks came exclusively with the 3800.
            Dal, I’d take a reliable pushrod 3800 over any DOHC engine made. I like engines that run forever without $3k valvetrain repairs.
            Dan, the current LaCrosse/Impala isn’t bad but it’s still an Opel with a Cavalier’s engine. No thank you.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            The 3800 was the last thing actually engineered by the Buick Motor Division. And it was a pushrod engine from the brand that held the patent and put the first engine of that type into a production car.
            And it was built in Flint at a place called “Buick City”.

            If you are interested in authenticity, a 3800 Buick has it in spades over a later Enclave or Lacrosse.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @Mike, we’re talking at cross purposes

            I thought you meant – GM G-body RWD 1979-1988

            You meant G-body FWD 1995-2011

            Bonneville and Lesabre were different iterations of the H-body from the 80s until 2005.

          • 0 avatar
            NTGD

            Reply to reply to replies…
            No Opels used the long wheelbase versions of the platform used for the Impala, XTS & LaCrosse, and I wish I could have had a 300hp V6 in my Cavalier back in the day.

          • 0 avatar
            conundrum

            Held the patent on the pushrod? You must be joking. The Wright Flyer had pushrods, as did the Manley engine. It wasn’t exactly byond the ken of mechanics in the 1890s.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            Here you go:

            patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/da/78/b2/0865848711a6b6/US771095.pdf

            I didn’t say Buick invented pushrods, but they did hold the patent on the OHV automobile engine design.
            And, apparently it was beyond the ken of manufacturing at the time considering you are using airplane engines as examples when we are talking about consumer-available automobiles.

            The first car a person could buy with an OHV “pushrod” engine was a Buick.

          • 0 avatar
            ToolGuy

            ajla,

            Very cool. From now on I’m dispensing with the “internal combustion” terminology in favor of “explosion-engines.”

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I could care less about “authenticity.” I’m talking about a car that has the virtues the Buick brand has marketed itself on for the last couple of decades: comfort, a smooth ride, quiet, and a relatively understated design.

            I’d also trust the valvetrain of a DI 3.6 to get to 200K more than the intake of a 3800.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “I could care less about ‘authenticity.’ ”

            “I’d also trust the valvetrain of a DI 3.6 to get to 200K more than the intake of a 3800.”

            It’s your money. I know what I’d rather spend mine on though.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “I’d also trust the valvetrain of a DI 3.6 to get to 200K more than the intake of a 3800”

            That’s not a bet I would take. 3800 wasn’t as plagued by Orange Death as the 60V6s whereas the LFY I believe had numerous issues.

            Here’s a new one:

            https://www.automotivemanagementnetwork.com/forums/topic/2017-gm-3-6-oil-filter-issue-causing-internal-engine-damage/

            Not something I want to hear for my car:

            “The 3.6 is based on the architecture of the 2.8 Catera engine. It’s been changed to chain drive, different heads, etc. Direct injection on some models.”

            https://www.driveaccord.net/threads/how-good-is-the-3-6-v-6-from-gm.31186/page-2

            Virtues of 3800

            youtube.com/watch?v=rK9Y-a1-6JU

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            I do have to agree with the old school 3800 Buick enthusiasts.

            The driveability and durability of that engine makes it an icon.

            When combined with a plus ride, velour seats and lots of sound deadening, it makes a ‘true’ Buick.

            Buicks represented someone who was comfortable but understood ‘value for money’ and eschewed ostentation or showing off. Solid and reliable and not ‘pushy’.

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            ? By which you mean _DIESEL_ engines ? .

            -Nate

            ” From now on I’m dispensing with the “internal combustion” terminology in favor of “explosion-engines.” “

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            ! NAILHEAD V8 ! FTW =8-) .

            -Nate

            “I do have to agree with the old school 3800 Buick enthusiasts.

            The driveability and durability of that engine makes it an icon.

            When combined with a plus ride, velour seats and lots of sound deadening, it makes a ‘true’ Buick.

            Buicks represented someone who was comfortable but understood ‘value for money’ and eschewed ostentation or showing off. Solid and reliable and not ‘pushy’.”

  • avatar
    ajla

    Marauder.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Spitfire (Triumph) although that name should be permanently reserved for use only with the WWII fighter.

    Wildcat (Buick)
    Thunderbird (Ford)
    Jaguar
    Avanti (Studebaker)

    And yes I agree that Clarkson, May and Hammond were right regarding the Interceptor and the fantastic Persuaders parody that they filmed around the name.

    • 0 avatar
      stingray65

      Arthur – the Wildcat was also a WWII fighter – arguably the most influential in the Pacific since it was the only significant Navy/Marine fighter during the battles of the Coral Sea, Midway, and Guadalcanal.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        @Stingray, True. Although the Hellcat which replaced it was a superior aircraft.

        Guess that it took until this decade for Hellcat to become an acceptable name for a consumer product?

        • 0 avatar
          stingray65

          And the Hellcat was replaced by the Bearcat as the war ended. Lots of cars (and car components) have been named after WWII planes including the Mustang, Corsair (version of the Edsel), Hurricane (Jeep engine), Typhoon, Thunderbolt (Ford engine), Marauder, and Catalina off the top of my head, but I believe the Bearcat might be the only plane named after a car (Stutz).

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            And Corvette was an old naval term revived by Churchill during WWII and applied to a class of cheap, shoddily constructed warships constructed from the designs for a whale catcher.

            Not something that you would normally apply to a ‘halo’ type of ‘sports car’.

  • avatar
    deanst

    Peugeot Bipper Tepee for the win.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    Shelby Cobra

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Quattroporte.
    Sounds tremendous. Means – 4 door. So it hits both sides

  • avatar
    TR4

    Studebaker Dictator.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Best name is probably Mustang – a wild uncontrollable horse like a car that wears it

  • avatar
    V16

    Rambler Marlin..

  • avatar
    iNeon

    I’ve always liked the intentional conundrum Chrysler left PT Cruiser people to ponder.

    People assert it means Plymouth Truck(legit guess) or Personal Transportation(gross and basic) but I’ve always hitched my wagon on the P-Chassis, Tall supposition.

    Neon was PL– P-Chassis, Low– PT is the taller progeny of that chassis.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    Lincoln Continental. Great name attached to a number of great designs. 1963 is my favorite.

    https://static.cargurus.com/images/site/2008/10/26/18/19/1963_lincoln_continental-pic-18813-1600×1200.jpeg

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Stutz Bearcat.

  • avatar
    scott25

    Chevrolet Commodore SS would’ve been much better and less confusing than the simple “SS” it got stuck with in US. Since they refused to call it something familiar like Chevelle.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      They screwed it up on both Continents. Holden Commodore SSV Redline is the closest specific Aussie spec car to what America received. We should have received it as a Holden Commodore to pay tribute to what was the F150 of sales in Australia, instead the Commodore received a generic name best suited for the trax,equinox,blazer etc.
      on the flip side of that, the perpetual number 2 muscle car in America, the Camaro, was too important for GM to allow Aus to rebadge as a Holden so they received the Chevrolet Camaro.

      Makes zero sense, a car with a much brighter and interesting history received the peasant treatment to America, while the car that even Americans love to hate for its poor design is treated by GM as a treat that others may even lay their eyes upon the car in its flesh. Another example of GM incompetence.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      In Europe they wouldn’t take a risk naming car “SS”

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Yep, Chevy Commodore would have done just fine. Oh well.

      • 0 avatar
        TS020

        Commodore doesn’t mean anything to Americans, whereas it meant only one thing in Australia, and you were either a Commodore (Holden) or Falcon (Ford) supporter.

        The Falcon name is dead in Australia and the Commodore name may as well be, since it became a rebadged Opel with no RWD V8 option in sight. Sales are in the toilet as well since GM completely screwed the Australian taxpayer and left a bad taste in their mouth as ewll as offering a product range consisting of garbage, trash and junk, which also describes Holden’s after sales support.

  • avatar
    Sceptic

    Nissan Horny Super Long

  • avatar
    DweezilSFV

    Vauxhall Wyvern

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    RX-7 GSL SE

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Canyonero!

    Wait…

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Cadillac Fleetwood Talisman (or was it officially Cadillac Fleetwood 75 Talisman?)

  • avatar
    macnab

    I have to salute Hudson which had the nerve to name cars after insects (Wasp, Hornet).

  • avatar
    StudeDude

    The 4 Studebaker Hawks of 1956:

    Golden Hawk
    Sky Hawk
    Power Hawk
    Flight Hawk

    A Hawk for every budget….

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Don’t know about the best name, but “Nissan Axxess” has to be one of the worst.

  • avatar
    NeilM

    Love the Nissan S-Cargo.

    Especially because it looked the part: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/23/Nissan_S-Cargo_001.JPG/560px-Nissan_S-Cargo_001.JPG

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Any Ford horse or western themed name.

    Mustang
    Maverick
    Pinto-there was also an entry level Pony edition
    Country Squire and Country sedan
    Ranch wagon
    Ranchero
    Ranger

    I wouldn’t mind seeing some of these names resurrected though of course the Ranger and Mustang soldier on.

  • avatar
    bufguy

    Scirocco!….Even its meaning..desert wind sounds great

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    FUN FACT: jensen interceptor is also the name of an underground concrete grease trap.

  • avatar
    TheDutchGun

    Eunos cosmo

  • avatar
    hriehl1

    Cordoba., with reech Coreenthian leather.

  • avatar

    Model S, Model 3, Model X and Model Y. Al together make Tesla SEXY. How sexier it can be?

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    “1985 Lamborghini Countach LP5000 Quattrovalvole”

    (greatest name – not the greatest car)

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    I’ll make an argument here for the Ford Aerostar.

    Take a name that sounds vaguely futuristic and suggests aerodynamics, put it on a minivan which borrows heavily from the Ranger parts bin, and launch it with an ad campaign that invokes the space shuttle.

    It’s not the world’s best name, but when put in that light I admire the chutzpah.


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