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Name Your Car Day – October 2, 2011

By Maria SassenachD


Chitty Chitty Bang-Bang, Chugaboom, Herbie, Kitt. What’s in a name?

Welcome to National Name your Car Day. Unfortunately, no one is credited for establishing this holiday. But, since I have recently named my new car, the PBS Blog Team asked me to write a few words…

Giving a boat or ship a name is a centuries old tradition that started out of a combination of fear and superstition. As history proves, the oceans and seas of the world are well known for their treacherous storms, claiming the life of many a sailor. Early Europeans believed that naming and blessing a boat in honor of the God that was popular at the given time, protected them from potential harm while at sea. The more romantic explanations contended that since a ship carried and nurtured its crew on the ocean, its male crews called it a “she” because they depended on the ship for life and nourishment like they once depended on their mothers. Others called the ship a “she” because they said it was as perverse as their wives or their mistresses. But we aren’t discussing boats are we? But you get the gist….

General Lee, Eleanor, Greased Lightning, Nellie Bellie, Mother, Misery, (First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones, Christine (Stephen King)…

It is normal to see personalities in inanimate objects and possessions.  (Check out the Club Member Thoughts Discussion Forum,  people have named their GPS units).  The car is no different. Sometimes the personality in the car is reflected in its owner; sometimes the personality is to do with the function and style of the car itself. Also, people think that naming a car can reduce the risk of incidents on the road. People spend a lot of time in their cars and describe them as ‘part of the family’. A research poll revealed  that 33% of car owners regularly chat with their automobile, talking to them about day-to-day matters, their frustrations on the road, relationships and personal problems.

My first car was a Pontiac T-1000 Hatchback, 4 speed (it looked like a Chevette). Her name was Mighty, for My-T. “Hey, there’s my ‘T’ in the parking lot.” That’s how it started. She was a small car but feisty in traffic. I hated her at first, but soon grew to love her. She was great on mileage, cheap on gas, easy- peasy to parallel park! She never complained  once when  I would sing off-key to songs on the radio.  I only replaced two clutch cables in her 12 years. She was very useful in my moving 10 times during my early 20’s. I rewarded her with regular maintenance and wash and waxes.

Some names are more subtle than others of course – the car as a phallic symbol and a symbol of male power, escape, freedom, the car is often featured in teenage rebellion stories to signify young people taking the wheel for the first time. Generally, the car is linked with male rites of passage rather than female ones as, of course, there are so many phallic signifiers associated with the car. Perhaps none more so than the Plymouth Fury in Stephen King’s Christine. Dorky high school student Arnie Cunningham restores a dilapidated car dubbed Christine by its elderly owner, Roland D. LeBay. As he buffs, polishes and replaces worn parts, Arnie grows in confidence and arrogance and in love with the car. Christine, meanwhile, takes on a life of her own, jealous of all who come in between her and Arnie; people are met with murderous consequences. A bonus, the ruthless killer Christine also fixes her own dents and scratches after her murder sprees. Muahahhahaha! I did find oodles of articles regarding psychology, men and why they use the female form for cars…Very sexual…we’ll save that for another day.

I went on a fact finding hunt for Name Your Car Day. I emailed everyone I figured wouldn’t think I had totally lost my marbles and posted on Face book…And MY PBS Peeps helped,  here are some of my findings:

People often name a Car due to its color:

Baby blue, Blue Bean, Blue Bullet, Old Blue and Smurf (a Toyota corolla)

Cathy W. (Firefly) has a Jeep JT which is called Betty, named after a special lady. A Jeep Patriot called Blue because of the Raspberry Blue color. Her old Saturn was called Bruiser because of its Black and Blue color.

HeatherLeah W. (HeatherLeah) had a 1984 Chevy called Georgie Blue (Facebook blue) that she bought from her grandparents.

Red Rover, Red Boy, Rosie (which is a very popular name), Pepper (color of a Dr. Pepper can)

The Pickle, Kermit, Green Goddess, Lil’ Cucumber, my husband’s old Dodge Dart was Myrtle the Turtle.

Susan R. (Sue-in-AZ) had an old bright green car called Green Bean, AKA Bean. Her current car is without a name due to its lack of personality.

Sunflower, Goldilocks, Biscuit, Banana (light yellow 71 Volkswagen square back)

The Silver Beast, Silver Bullet, Bernard (think big brown car-St. Bernard)

Heather S. (literati) Maggie, short for Steal Magnolia. Since she is pretty Pearl and from the South.

Others name a Car after its Make or Model, or characteristics.

Non (“Its a shorter version for Neon”), The Oldsmeller  (For an old Oldsmobile), Tha’ Cutdog (For a ’93 Cutlass), Bonnie (Because it is a Bonneville), Rover (For a Land Rover), Monty (A  Monte Carlo), Musty (A red ’92  Mustang), Rolla (A friends  mom’s Toyota Corolla”), Thumper (Named for a VW Rabbi”, a reference to the rabbit in Walt Disney’s movie Bambi), Charlotte (A Spyder convertible, a literary reference to E.B. White’s book Charlotte’s Web), Alexander Beetle (VW beetle, another literary reference to a poem by A.A. Milne), Jean Claude (A friend’s Grand Am…now called ‘Jean Claude Grand Am”), James (my brother likes to tell his Jeep Jimmy “Take me home James!”).

Jami S. (strwbryfairie) her daughter named their Chevy Truck Mon Cherie and a ’75 truck Lucy. Other vehicles include Beast, Blue Monster and KC (for the KC lights)

James L. (JimiJam) had a vehicle called the Funky Chicken, a van called Frankenstein and his parent’s car was dubbed the “Derp Mobile” because it was always breaking down and it was stupid to be seen driving it.

Leonora L. (Nora) Had a Zipper, because she was always zipping around fast in it. Her last car was the Ouch-mobile due to damage.

Kaila K. (mamakaila) secretly has named her Mommy mobile JM (after John Matthew of the Black Dagger Brotherhood books by JR Ward)

Sonal S. (ComeGo) once had a car named Basanti, named after a cabbie’s car in an old funny movie, Sholay.






Oh, I guess you are wondering what I have named my new car. It is a 2011 Kona-Blue Mustang Convertible named Rhage.  This name was chosen because I am a huge fan of JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Rhage just seemed to fit it and me. Rhage is always around but sometimes very quiet. He is level headed until he gets really angry and then his Beast (Purple Dragon) is released. Kinda like me. So this is the closest to a purpley-blue (my favorite color)  color dragon that I can get. Plus it fits on a license plate and I don’t think the Arizona DMV will question it. My favorite character is John-Matthew (Like Kaila) but that just was creepy since those are the names of my husband and son. Zadist would have fit, I love his character, too. But as Mary S. (kilchurn) pointed out, I might have creepy people following me home…Or following my husband home (LOL) while of course I am a huge Outlander fan, the Mustang, well…um… just doesn’t fit the Jamie Fraser personality, even though Jamie did have a way with horses.








So tell us, what is your Car’s name?

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12 Responses to “Name Your Car Day – October 2, 2011”

  1. Jerelyn H. (I-F-Letty) says:

    I have always named my cars , my first was a 1968 Mercury Monterey, she was battleship grey and was named Franses Sherman the tank. My first car as an adult I called Piglet, it was also grey but the name fit her some how. Then the new van we call Sweetpea.

    What a fun article Maria! Well done!

  2. Kathy (NELLIE) says:

    Great article, Sass! We currently have the Elephant (’82 Chevy Work Truck)-she’s very jealous. The first time I rode in her was when DH and I were first dating and I was quite intimidated. Then we have the Sled (Long bed Chevy Silverado truck), and finally, the Whizzer (my Honda CRV). Our cats are nicknamed The Blenderizer (Otis), Wenchie 1 (Jasmine) and Wenchie 2 (Scarlett). This is my new husband’s contribution to my life.

  3. Hunter S. (Hunter1) says:

    Fun post. Thanks M!!

  4. Robin K. (jubead) says:

    What a fun article! My first car a hand me down from my parents …. (a White Oldsmobile Tornado) named the White Bomb. My Nissan Sentra was named Yabadabado…the drivers side floor rotted out and I could make believe I had a car from the Flintstones.

    Today, no imagination, sometimes it is called PITA but that is about it! Lovin’ your Mustang. A friend’s son’s are big into cars and restoration…I will have to send a pic to them.

  5. Courtney (coco1019) says:

    I like it!

  6. Patty P. (Patouie) , says:

    I have a memory from before I was three years old of my parents buying a Volkswagon bug. (I think the moment was burned in my memory because I knew this was a big purchase and I was waiting to see my dad count out the dollar bills. When that didn’t happen, and we drove away in it, I thought we had stolen the car.) Anyway, eventually we ended up calling it Ajuga (after the plant) because it was blue and it covered a lot of ground.

    It lived up to it’s name, traveling around 250,000 miles before someone ran into the side of it.

  7. Cathy W. (Firefly) , says:

    My family has named most of the vehicles we have owned! The Marshmallow, the Burnt Marshmallow (or the Chocolate Chip, depending on who you ask), the Blue Moo, the Dinosaur, the Banana Boat, the Tomato, Pearl, Emma…. Most have indeed been ‘shes’.

    Fun post – thanks Maria!

  8. Ani K. (goddessani) says:

    My first car (and the only one I’ve ever named) was a Triumph TR-7. I wanted “her” to have a British name. Since the license plate was CSW ###, I named her Charlotte Samantha Winslow. Winslow was my birth name and I’m British so it seemed to fit!

    I did have a little scooter (think mini-Vespa) that I used in college. She was called MzSnap but I don’t remember how she got her name.

    None of the cars I’ve had since have had enough personality to name.

  9. Sianeka N Hollywood, CA says:

    Maybe because I’m a girl, but most of my cars have been “male”!!! LOL

    I don’t usually name my cars and my current car doesn’t really have a name, although I do think of “him”.

    I did name my powder blue VW Dasher EME (eemee) because those were the letters amongst the numbers on my license plate. Other than EME, the only other family car with a name that I recall is a huge maroon Impala we lovingly called “The Ark”.

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  12. Shelby3000 says:

    This is pretty awesome, I never heard about this day before, because I live in the Netherlands. And I must say that Rhage is a amazing Mustang!!! (I’m a Mustang freak XD) Without I knew something about this day, my first car is a black 2005 TwinTop Opel Tigra, which I called Tamara and my parents owns since last year a US Vista Blue 2008 Ford Focus who’s name is Samantha, considering the SYNC system and they’re both amazing!!

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