Unfortunate Car Names

Litho of escalade against citadel walls

Litho of escalade against citadel walls

I keep seeing vehicle model names that make me think “I sure wouldn’t want to drive around in THAT!” I’m not even talking about the merits, or lack of, of these as actual vehicles; I simply find the names so off-putting that the vehicle would have to be an extremely good performer and value for me to get over the name and even consider buying. The most frequent offenders seem to be SUVs but they don’t have a corner on the market. I’m not saying the naming of vehicles is easy, but I wonder at some of the names out there… Some of these names are closely associated with entrapment or isolation…who wants to feel trapped in a moving vehicle? Examples: “Enclave”, derived from property law…this is a bit of land completely surrounded by land owned by someone else, so…you can’t reach your own land without crossing someone else’s land–if he or she lets you–I’ve seen a gated community with this name too…wonder what the price of entry is? Well no, don’t care…wouldn’t want to live there either. Then there is “Captiva”. Right, meaning: “captured, imprisoned, caught, taken captive, conquered” you bet, sign me up! Then from captive to “Citadel”: “a fortress that commands a city and is used in the control of the inhabitants and in defense during attack or siege”. No thanks. Sticking with the ‘war-like’ theme we have the “Armada”, the fleet of warships, oh and you know this also refers to the Spanish naval invasion force sent against England by Philip II of Spain in 1588. It was defeated by the English fleet and almost completely destroyed by storms off the Hebrides. Why do I want to drive around in THAT? Then we’ve got the “Escalade” which we could use to scale the walls of the Citadel… Moving off the war theme we have “Rogue”, synonyms: useless, worthless, incompetent, inefficient, inept, ne’er-do-well, lazy, idle, slothful, indolent, shiftless; informal synonyms: no-good, lousy, “a good-for-nothing bum”. Wow! Compared to that buying a tree to drive around in doesn’t seem so bad…I refer to the “Sequoia” which by the way is part of the cypress family.

No, I’d much rather drive around in something that isn’t trying to be anything other than what it is, there is nothing really wrong with a “Model S” or “Model X” or “S6”. “911” may have started out just as a number but for some folks and in the context of cars it is revered and evokes a real driving experience. Or what about something with a nice name, a pretty name, a powerful name, a “totem” or spirit animal name, or a name one can associate with grace, design, speed, performance, agility, or is just plain descriptive? In no particular order here are some names that come to mind as proper car names: Cobra, Viper, Charger, Challenger, Mustang, Firebird, Thunderbird, Eagle… Hmmm…well, OK: Spider, Cinquecento! Ahhh it just rolls off the tongue, it’s like a nice Chianti…Countach, Giulietta, Fairlady, even the descriptive Quattroporte is just satisfying to say. Then there are the kind of fun descriptive names like Midget, Mini, Minor, Gremlin, Brat yes even Justy…

No, I don’t expect to be captive behind the wheel of a land-locked enclave or besieged in my citadel by escalades or advancing trees ala Macbeth’s Birnam Wood; alone and anonymous behind my “ashamed to be seen in public” blacked out windows. I’ll stick to my Spider, top down, smiling and greeting fellow Spider drivers who smile and wave in return; sharing the road alongside people who actually like to drive in their sinuous snakes, fast horses, and powerful magical birds.


  1. Klee Gerard

    Spider, Spyder, Daytona, C and D and E Type – legends in their own time!
    Then there are the “stacked” names: MDX SHAWD, Pinto Pony MPG, and other nonsense… Get a grip people!

  2. Bob Gates

    Surprised nothing about the Opal GT, the shinning pearl yet steady as a rock. Or the Tiger, always hiding in the shadows with power to roar at any moment.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.