Best Car Names?

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I got an email tonight from a mate named Dr Roman Candle, who lives in Germany. Upon reading it, I replied that there’s a blog post in this, so I don’t think he’ll mind that I reproduce it here:

Saw a Lancia Delta Integrale on the road today and wondered if it was in the top three names for cars of all time….Jensen Interceptor being the Bradman of the genre.

For those of you reading from non-cricketing countries, the Bradman reference is what you might otherwise call “the cream” or “the top shelf”. Put simply, it means the best.

The Lancia Delta Intergrale certainly does roll off the tongue nicely. And the Jensen Interceptor has a very deliberate air of authority about it.

HuayraBut what else is out there? What are the best car names companies have come up with?

Right: This effort from Pagani doesn’t win.

Well, I think we can count out 300SL, M3, A4, i30 and all those formulaic types. There are some great cars with alpha-numeric names so that hurts a little but we’re after the best name, not necessarily the best car.

We’re after the stuff that has a certain romance about it. Names that sounds exotic, that roll off the tongue with a rhythm that makes you want to say them again and again. Names that inspire, create desire, names that light your fire.

Another mate, Turbin, suggested the very worthy Plymouth Fury.

I’d like to add my own nomination – the Alfa Romeo Disco Volante.

The jury’s out in my mind on the best between the Lamborghini Countach and the Lamborghini Diablo. The Countach is the sentimental favourite but the Diablo does have just a touch more lunacy about it. Diablo.

Oooh, but then there’s the Lamborghini Aventador. I guess we’ll have to have two Lamborghinis.

I’d also suggest anything with Superleggera in it, but that’s too broad (and already related to the modern Disco Volante already mentioned).

Lancia Flaminia?

Aston Martin Vanquish? The Aston Martin Lagonda actually sounded exotic but then you have to look at it. Whilst the quality of the car isn’t necessarily important in judging the quality of the name, it shouldn’t burn your eyes to look at it.

The Rolls Royce Phantom might be a candidate if it didn’t have Rolls Royce in front of it. Actually, there are a bunch of Rollers that would fit the bill if you took out the company name – Silver Spirit, Ghost, etc. But IMHO, Rolls Royce is just too good to be baaaaad.

Give me your nominations. Give them to me now!

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30 Comments

  1. Jensen Interceptor is an all-time favorite.

    There are many ways a name can be good, It can be beautiful or attractive on its own, a marketing success or it can fit the car very well.

    Sounds good: Mercury Marauder, Chevrolet Impala (but what a crap car it is now), Cadillac Eldorado.

    Marketing success: Ford Taurus, Chevrolet Corvette, Dodge Viper. The granddaddy of them all: Oldsmobile Cutlass.

    Marketing success AND fitting: Honda Civic, Chevrolet Suburban, Porsche Boxster.

    Sounds good AND Fitting: Alfa-Romeo Spider Veloce, Lincoln Continental (’cause it’s as big as one)

    Since the Jensen is taken, I’m going with the Alfa-Romeo Spider Veloce. Sounds great and says what it is. Well done, Alfa!!

  2. Just quattroporte. No need to tell what brand, most know anyway.
    Simple, known and straight forward. “you know what you will get”

  3. For me, the best are aggressive, verging on confrontational – Fury, Vanquish, Interceptor, Diablo, Viper, Charger, Mustang, even Avenger (though the cars themselves are rubbish!). Functional names like Quattro (and Turbo!) also work well, but for me, Aston Martin has always been the epitome of British cool and Bulldog just sums it up.

  4. “Saab Sonnet” has poetic grace,
    The rest can hope for second place.
    For 4×4 with style and poke
    The “Rangie” has it with “Evoque”
    And bringing up the raucous rear
    Is that a “Hummer” that I hear?
    Some names of yore seem to be sweet
    like “Alpine”, “Imp” or “Elf” or “Beat”.
    “Lagonda Rapide”, “E-type Jag”,
    “Elise”, “Elan” go in the bag.
    Italian names must have a say,
    like “cinquecento”, “veloce”,
    “Miura”, “enzo”, “Dino” to
    evoke a world where skies are blue.
    For flora we have “cloverleaf”
    And “dafodil” and simply, “Leaf”.
    But: “Tiger”, “Mustang”, “Bluebird”, “Stag”
    Show that fauna does not lag.
    But “Gremlin”, “Swinger”, for a car?
    You’ve opened up Pandora’s Jar!

  5. No one’s mentioned the Starion, which is of course a Japanese version of the Mustang 😉
    But seriously, Lancia wins – Aurelia, Delta, Flaminia, Fulvia, Flavia… You can’t go past Italian for great names.

  6. Fiat Panda strikes fear and respect into the heart of all auto fans. Ford Probe has a certain ring to it.

    Triumph Stag
    Audi Quattro
    Ferrari Testarossa
    Lotus Esprit
    Bizzarrini Strada

    The last one maybe just because of Bizzarrini.

  7. the ‘phantom Corsair’ of 1938 …. a car with two fighter planes in its name … named “Before” those said planes existed ….
    1960 Messerschmitt Tiger
    1967 Francis Lombardi
    1932 Duesenberg
    1930 Bugatti Royale
    1903 De Dion Bouton
    1964 Vanden Plas Princess
    1905 Wolverine – (for movie and comic fans)

  8. A Finnish longtime reader and Saab owner here, commenting for the first time for this is a subject too good to pass.

    I nominate the Pontiac Bonneville (think 1965-66 models), Buick Invicta (1959-1960) and Ferrari Daytona. Names that flow nicely and describe interesting cars. A wild card would be the Saab Griffin models 😉

  9. Interesting mention of the Aston Martin Lagonda.

    Back when the Lagonda was recently in production, a Lagonda spent much time in the dealer repair lot. Now this was not just any dealer, they are a Ferrari, Maserati and Aston Martin dealer, also running in various sportscar racing series using Maserati. The dealer is located in Lake Forest, Illinois a rather toney suburb north of Chicago.

    The license plates on the Lagonda were: J-A-L-O-P-Y as allowed under Illinois vanity plates.

  10. Slightly off topic.. My wife laughed when she saw a Ford Focus labelled ST. She said that with a name like that she couldn’t see them selling many of those to women! Perhaps have a follow up post re worst names? I can’t remember the marque but there is a far east people carrier with a model name that looks a lot like enema 🙂

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