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Tag Archives: car names

Shutterbug or why I need to get a digital camera

While out running errands yesterday I came across a car enthusiast putting his old gal to good work.

At our recycling center — yes I know I’m been putting up a lot of green posts recently — I watched as an older gentleman unloaded his bins from the trunk of his 1960s olive green hardtop Thunderbird. Great balls of fire if she wasn’t in good shape. There’s a pretty strong classic car presence in the area, but this beauty didn’t even have antique plates on her. No, she was clearly a working girl and a well-loved one at that. Not a speck of visible rust on her exterior. Just clean lines and a definite presence on the road.

I kicked myself yet again for not carrying my film camera around with me and even more so for not striking up a conversation about his well maintained vehicle.

I can’t help it. I’m forever rubber necking any time I see a classic on the road. Blame it on my parents I guess.

When you grow up listening to the Big Bopper and the Beatles and your Dad tells stories of all the cars his dad would bring home to test drive from working at the dealership, it’s hard not to develop a certain affinity for great classics.

Another time at the gas station a fellow pulled up with his 1930 Model A idling away. That time I did start gabbing with him. A creamy tan color and named Millie, the driver seemed to just take her out for short trips, but still. With a car like that you can’t help but stare.

I just wish I had a camera with me at all times to prove it.

The name game

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?