I come from a long line of named cars.
Fred, a 1984 Toyota pickup truck.
Kelly, the 1980 kelly green Volvo station wagon my parents brought back from Germany.
Cousin It, a 1984 Mercedes super diesel, the car I learned to drive because it was built like a tank.
There’s also Maximillion, then later J.R. (short for Jolly Roger), Kaida and Mallory.
Even before the cars I grew up with, heck, even before I existed there was Danny Dodge and Martha. Cars in my family have always had names and it makes me wonder why?
What is it that compels us to name inanimate objects?
Maybe it’s a girl thing, this need to name cars. Like how all your stuffed animals have very distinct names and personalities. But I don’t think so. I think it’s a people thing to give the objects in our lives a name.
For most Americans, your car is your lifeline. It would be wonderful if we all lived within walking distance of home, work and the grocery store. But we’re not. And when public transportation just doesn’t fit your schedule, good ol’ Bessy is there to pick up the slack. Or Euridyce.
My roommate once explained it to me while simultaneously extolling the virtues of natural colored cars. Cars are our horses. You can ride through the desert on a horse with no name, but it’ll be a terribly boring ride. Just ask ’70s rock band America.
Some cars have highly involved and proper names. Like Deacon Nails Lockjaw Frost — Nails for short — a Nissan Versa, who with his fellow Versa cohort, Tooth McMillian, belongs to the Tooth and Nails gang. Others have country of origin appropriate names such as Fritz, the German Volkswagen, that belonged to my classmate’s mom.
The naming of cars can be a highly technical matter. Much like giving the first-born a name to make the family proud. Octavia, a regal gold Ford.
Other times, choosing the right name is a matter of circumstance.
It’s weird and kind of creepy but before my husband and I were even dating, he had a new red Ford Focus in his life. He took us out for a spin, myself and another friend, and the two of them were tossing names back and forth. I was riding shotgun only half listening. Out of nowhere, I announced: “Her name is Pele.” That was up there with one of the most awkward silences in my life, but it’s true. Almost 5 years later, her name is still Pele after the Hawaiian goddess of fire. She growls when you wake her up in the morning and her rear windshield is perpetually dirty in defiance of all water. But that’s just how it is.
Does anyone else have a good car name story?