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Cars > CorvairJim’s Garage > Blog > Why did you name your car what you did?

 

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CorvairJim

M –51
Norristown, Pennsylvania
United States

 

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Why did you name your car what you did?

By CorvairJim

After I posted my blog about all the cars on Motortopia named "Beast" yesterday, I received a response from a friend, K1M_and_TH3_1MJIMID8TOR, asking just why people name their cars what they do. Good question, but it seems that most people do name their cars, whether they're car people or not. My Grandparents on both sides of the family did, and none of them looked at a car as anything more than a way to get from here to there. When my folks were married in early 1960, my dad had a '58 Impala 348/Power Pack that my mom, having shared a 6-cylinder '57 Chevy 150 with her mother, simply could not handle. My dad surprised her one evening when he arrived home from work with a brand new 1960 Corvair coupe - he traded in his pride and joy to make things easier for his bride (The guy was a romantic then, and still is!). They decided to name the little guy "Archie", and their tradition of naming their cars alphabetically started then. The main car's name was spelled with a capital letter, and any second car would start with the same letter, but in lower-case. In 1962, with one kid already and me on the way, the Corvair was traded in on "Boris" a black 1962 Biscayne 2-door sedan. He got his name because he was bought at "Borss Chevrolet". During Boris's reign, they got a second car so my mom would have wheels while my dad was at work. This was a brown '53 Bel Air sedan named "buster". Later on, buster was replaced by a '63 Corvair Monza sedan, "bucky". As the years went on, Boris gave way to "Casper the Friendly Station Wagon" ('66 Bel Air), "The Dragon Wagon" ('69 Kingswood Estate), "Erik the Red" (Firethorn Red '77 Impala wagon) and so on. Meanwhile, bucky was replaced by my late Grandmother's '65 Chevy II, named "Sunny" by my then 3 year old brother when the car was new. Mom inherited the car in 1968, and it became my first car in 1980. Sunny was replaced by a bright red 1976 AMC Pacer, probably the last car in the state of Pennsylvania to sell new under $3,000... It was a stripped leftover that my folks bought in November of 1977! This car became "eohiphus" (a prehistoric ancestor of the modern-day horse, but the size of a medium-sized dog. Therefore, it was a "little horse", and of course a "Pacer" is a kind of horse, so it makes sense. We always called the car "littlehorse" anyway!), and they gave me this car later on as well.

When I started buying my own cars, I decided to keep the family tradition alive and name them alphabetically (ay least at first... That changed later on.) The first car I actually bought was "Antoinette" ("Toni"), a 1965 Corvair Monza coupe, and the car that started my love affair with Corvairs that obviously goes on to this day. We didn't go with the lower-case second cars, though, preferring to continue naming them serially. About a year after getting Toni, I had the opportunity to buy a 1976 Buick LeSabre 4-door hardtop for $500! It was a former Police unmarked that had become too well known to be effective in the smallish town it served (West Chester, PA), so they sold it off. The car was white with a maroon vinyl top and reminded me and my (then) wife of a southern gentleman-type car, so we gave it a southern gentleman-type name:"Beauregard" ("Beau"). This car would pass anything but a gas station, and dusted a bunch of high school kids who thought I was out in daddy's car! A 4-barrel 455 with true dual exhaust and no catalytic converters to block things up (yes, the cops did away with the cats!), as well as a shift kit that I had installed on the Turbo 400 will do things like that, even on a 5,000 lb car. Enough of the life stories... These are some of the other cars I've had and their names:

1973 Chevelle Laguna Station Wagon - "Carlotta" (I-a bought her at-a the used-a car lott-a where I-a worked at at the time! We eventually just called her "Carly", because Carlotta was too much of a mouthful for our very young kids)

1966 Corvair Monza coupe - "Degas" (I got artistic on this one with pinstriping, doing it up like a Trans Am Special Edition!)

1966 Corvair 500 sport sedan - "Esmerelda"

1980 Honda Accord sedan - "Farley", after the dog in the "For Better Or For Worse" comic strip, a favorite of my older daughter at the time)

1979 Chevy Malibu coupe - "Glinda" (My ex's car, named after the Good Witch of the North... Ironic, since she turned out to be a bit of a bad witch toward me later on...)

1986 Buick Century station wagon - "Hezekiah"

1965 Corvair Monza sport sedan - "Sir Issac" for my favorite Science Fiction writer, Isaac Asimov

1989 Beretta GT - "Jezebel" (She looked like a "fast lady" - and she was. She was blue, so we called her "Blue J")

1961 Corvair Greenbrier sport van - "The Kelvinator" (it was white and looked like a refrigerator on wheels! I know, Kelvinator was part of AMC and GM had a different appliance division, but the "K" fit!)

About this time, the alphabetizing plan fell apart, and cars were just named whatever seemed appropriate for them:

1964 Corvair Monza sedan - "Goldilocks" (she was gold!)

1960 Corvair 700 sedan - "Eddie" (for Ed Cole, the father of the Corvair, among other things)

1999 Chevy Venture Minivan - "Joy" (Rose's van, from her vanity plate "JESU JOY", her favorite hymn)

1963 Corvair Monza sedan "Little Golaith" (the name the original owner, who I bought the car from, had given it. I figured that since the car had been going by that name since new, it would be a shame to make it learn a new one!)

1999 Cavalier coupe - "Sylvester" (It was black, and my daughter Sarah - ladidragon18 on Motortopia - said it kinda reminded her of the Warner Bros. cartoon cat!)

My current 1966 Corvair Monza coupe - "Ashley" (The name of the daughter/office manager of the classic car dealer who sold me the car on eBay. She was very helpful all through the process, even helping with arrangements for Rose and me to pick up the car at the airport in Denver so we could drive it home to the Philly area. The car is pretty and yellow, and Ashley was a cute blonde, so it seemed natural. And before you get any ideas, Rose suggested the name!)

My current 2006 Cobalt SS - "Bud" (I'm a Dale Earnhardt, Jr. fan, so when I bought my first-ever new car, I got it exactly the way I wanted it. Since Jr. was driving a red Chevy SS in NASCAR at the time, and the Cobalt looks good in red, that's the color I bought. Now of course Jr. was sponsored by Budweiser at the time, and his race car had "Bud" written across the hood in 3-foot high letters. The car sorta named itself!)

Rose's current 2005 Chevy Malibu MAXX (Yep, that's the way Chevy spelled it, all in capitals!) - "MAXX" (Well, that's what it says on her hatch, and it seemed to fit the car's personality: Biggish, semi-tough looking, but with a bit of a fun-loving spirit)

With all the cars I've owned over the years, there are several I've just plain forgotten, and somethat I never got around to naming because I never got them on the road.

Now it's YOUR turn! Why did YOU name your car what you named it???

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Read comments on this blog post 1 – 10 of 36

MonzterRacing’s Profile Photo
MonzterRacing
Dec 19, 2008 at 7:44 am
See my garage and look at Louie The Lizards info for the story on the reason he was named what it is!! Much easier that way !!
 
The_Dude’s Profile Photo
The_Dude
Dec 10, 2008 at 3:30 pm
My Torino WAS The Big Lebowski because that's why I got the car- The guy in the movie had my name (Jeff Lebowski), so I found a Torino like he had in the movie, just for the hell of it. Believe me, it looked just as nasty. I can't show you any pictures of it, because I hadn't downloaded the pix from my camera to my computer when the car burned to the ground- with my camera in it!
 
1962ChevyGuy’s Profile Photo
1962ChevyGuy
Dec 9, 2008 at 2:43 pm
my 62 impala wagon was called connie- short for conestoga- because she was a big old wagon.
 
Funkleberry’s Profile Photo
Funkleberry
Nov 30, 2008 at 10:50 pm
When I bought the wagon, there was a tag on the keychain that just said "Fred," so I just naturally assumed that was her name (yeah, I know Fred isn't technically a girls name).
 
chevy66babe’s Profile Photo
chevy66babe
Nov 30, 2008 at 2:20 pm
Babe was named by my Mom and I don't really know why she picked that name. Dad only owned 3 cars and never named any of them. He did buy Babe but Mom didn't give her the name until after Dad died. That was the first car he'd owned where he put her name on the title, with the other two he didn't bother, because she didn't drive. Babe became a woman's car when Mom signed her over to me, so I guess that's how the name started. You had a lot over the years.
 
FlashBack’s Profile Photo
FlashBack
Nov 29, 2008 at 10:46 am
FlashBack...A dual tribute, one to the icons of the sport which ran back in the 50'-60's and the other purpose to keep some focus on the 'Nam vets and their struggles with an ungrateful public.
 
Deb’s Profile Photo
Deb
Nov 29, 2008 at 10:18 am
We had just bought our MCSS and one Saturday we were washing and waxing (getting ready for our 1st ever show). After we were done, we stepped back on our lawn to get the whole picture - just as I said jee isn't she pretty, the radio station we were listening to started to play "Pretty Woman". The rest is history :-)
 
TerryO’s Profile Photo
TerryO
Nov 28, 2008 at 10:12 am
BLKBUTY.
 
TerryO’s Profile Photo
TerryO
Nov 28, 2008 at 10:12 am
As for my 1978 Corvette, during the time I was in contact with the guy I was buying the car from I began refering to the car as Black Beauty because of how beautiful it looked in on the Internet add. Well the name stuck and I registered it with antique licence plate of
 
TerryO’s Profile Photo
TerryO
Nov 28, 2008 at 10:07 am
I never named my cars until I got my first Corvette. There's a long story behind it. The short version is that I named my 1988 Corvette my late wife's nick-name "Lil Angel” because if not for her rekindling my childhood dream to own a Corvette, I may have never developed the confidence at such a later point in my life to make that dream a reality. I have a crystal Angel that hangs from the rear view mirror which she and I purchased together. My Lil Angel rides with me everywhere I drive my Corvette. I'm always by myself, but I am never alone.
 

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Cars > CorvairJim’s Garage > Blog > Why did you name your car what you did?

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