Tuesday, October 09, 2018

The 10 Worst Car Names of All Times

10. Dodge Swinger
The Dodge Dart family's crème de la crème -- if you get my drift -- was the ill-named "Swinger", when such a term was synonymous with wife-swapping. Yankee pitchers Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich became symbolic of the swinging generation and, by any measure, their mediocre baseball careers were rollicking successes compared to the Swinger automobile. Sadly, this wasn't even the worst-named Dodge vehicle of the era: marketers had originally intended to unveil their own version of Plymouth's abysmal Duster as "The Beaver" until someone familiar with teen slang slapped them upside their heads.

9. Ford Probe

Undergoing an anal probe may, in fact, be preferable to driving this undersized, underpowered, and underwhelming Ford whiff at designing a sporty coupe. The original Probe was rooted in the idea of a front-wheel drive replacement for the Mustang, which worked out as well as anyone with more than six firing neurons could have predicted.

8. Chevy Citation
The citation you'd get for driving this car certainly wasn't for driving fast, given its legendarily feeble performance. No, the ticket you'd get from the cops is for really, realy bad taste in cars.

7. Studebaker Dictator
Mr. Peabody, dial the Wayback Machine to 1927, when the Studebaker Automobile Company's Marketing Department had a brainstorm! "Let's name our lowest-priced model 'The Dictator' because the Studebaker Hitler could be a trademark infringement!'"

6. Chevy Eurosport
Quick: what feature of the Eurosport reminds you of either "Europe" or "Sport"? The closest this rustbucket came to Europe is its shared reliability record with Yugos. Come to think of it, perhaps the YugoSport would have been a better name for this collosal failure. To my knowledge, the only people who ever drove Eurosports were those forced to do so at the airport rental car counter when it was, invariably, the last draft pick.

5. Audi 5000
There may be some truth to the rumor that the model name refers to the number of trouble-free miles you could wring out of this gem.

4. Oldsmobile Intrigue
The only "intrigue" related to this substandard attempt at transportation was whether it would start in the morning.

3. Pontiac Parisienne
The reference to Paris must refer to Paris, Kentucky, because this hulking failure was as far from a sophisticated French Parisian as the Sun is from Pluto.

2. GM Impact
Long before its Chevrolet Volt, GM envisioned a prototype electric vehicle called the Impact. Naming a vehicle after a collision? That's a bold strategy, Cotton.

1. Ford Aspire
With its blistering 16-second 0-to-60 performance, the only thing its driver aspired for was a real car.

Did I miss any? Add your suggestions to our master list in the comments.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Renault "Le Car" - AMC Gremlin - just off the top of my head :-(

leelu said...

I drove an Aspire I got as a loaner while my T-bird was in the shop. IIRC, it was a 3-banger. I figured it 'Aspired to be a real car.

Braden Lynch said...

Chevy Nova in Mexico (Nova = No Go in Spanish).

Bookdoc said...

I started in car sales at a Ford lot. We had Aspires and referred to them as perspires as that was what you'd co if you had one. They also drained their little batteries in less than 2 weeks so we had to go out and run them on a schedule. I had to dig up a positive about it for the team walkaround and found that, in its class, it could hold more cases of longnecks than anything else. That was IT!

dadofhomeschoolers said...

The eurosports were a subset of the citations. I called them the BIC lighter of cars, buy em cheap, run them till the wheels fell off, throw them away without guilt. I had 8 of them that collectively lasted 20 years.

Anonymous said...

Edsel?

Unknown said...

Mercury Mystique. The only mystique associated with it why why it Aspired to be better than the Ford.

Ruth Douthitt said...

Yes! Worst name ever.

Anonymous said...

I always thought the Charade was pretty goofy. Don't even know who made it. Or why.

Dave Justus said...

I'm not sure I'd include the Dictator. 1927 was a very different time and no one even knew who Hitler was yet. I don't think the word Dictator had the sort of negative connotations then that it does now, more like naming a car 'King' or 'Price.' While it wouldn't be a good name now, I don't know that it should be on this list unless there is evidence that it wasn't a good name then.

lowell mccormick said...

I've always thought the Ford Probe was the worst name. The Nissan Armada is a close second. Every time I see an Armada it makes me think about a fleet of Spanish ships getting their butts kicked.

Anonymous said...

The Chevy Nova.

When exported to Spanish-speaking countries it becomes "No Va", or "no go".

Anonymous said...

I had a Dodge Aspen. People kept asking me " How's your Aspen."

Anonymous said...

Honda Odyssey. Named for a disaster. 400 men in 20 ships go on a six week voyage. One man survives and it takes him ten years after great hardship. Not what I'm looking for in transportation. Next is the Honda Titanic.

Misinforminimalism said...

What about the Ford Escort, with its grittier Spanish cousin, the Mazda LaPuta (the "whore").

Anonymous said...

AMC Pacer. It wasn't

Ford Focus. An Irish swear phrase.

Nissan Stanza. A bad, bad song.

Anonymous said...

I have fond memories of the Volkswagen Thing.

tyates said...

How about the Dodge Viper? It sounds like someone is throwing snakes at you and you have to get out of the way.

MikeN said...

Intrigue was an excellent car, and saying it won't start is absurd.
It could outperform some of the v8s with its Northstar derived engine.

Jay Elink said...

Some forty years ago, the CEO of a Japanese auto maker demanded that their new black limo be named the "Minister".

johns said...

The Pontiac GTO. Biggest name ripoff in automotive history

Micha Elyi said...

"Yaris". I imagine the name was due to a bet between a couple of Toyota and GM sales executives. Said the Toyota exec, "A thousand bucks says we could name a car something like 'Your Ass' and it's sales would still kick you guys' butts." "You're on," replied the GM exec, now $1,000 poorer.

Unknown said...

The FIT.
It doesn't fit anything.

Anonymous said...

Ford Taurus. Why would you name your car after a cow? Why not just go all the way and call it the Ford Betsy?

Vader said...

You left out Chevy Sprint. With its three-cylinder engine, that was the last thing it was capable of doing.

gnome said...

The Nissan Cedric takes a lot of beating but the Nissan Sunny excellent came close. And in vans, Toyota's Emina Estima usually gets referred to as the Enima Estima.

Anonymous said...

Triumph Acclaim, which in German, is Seig Heil.

Anonymous said...

VW Thing didn't make the list?

Anonymous said...

Maybe not top 10, but the Suzuki Esteem is a contender IMHO. Really, you buy that car to improve your esteem?

Matt Borcherding said...

The Thing was a great name. The Thing is unique and cool.

Yaris was an *AWFUL* name. Why Toyota didn't just stick with the Tercel name for their US subcompact car, I don't know.

The Charade was by Daihatsu. It was a tiny subcompact sold from 1988-92 in the US. I had a friend with one, and four of us drove from Los Angeles to Phoenix and back with a bunch of camping gear. I have no idea how we did it -- must of bent time and space. "Three cylinders of fury."

Anonymous said...

Suzuki Esteem. Oxymoron of the century...

TTB said...

Smart Car. Appealing to the intellectual pretensions of its target market, I suppose....