Remembering our favorites on National Name Your Car Day

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The how and why of naming or not naming a car is hard to explain, by we tried our best. | Public domain photo
The how and why of naming or not naming your car is hard to explain, by we tried our best. | Public domain photo

There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who name their car and those who don’t. With Tuesday being National Name Your Car Day, we asked some of our staffers if they name their cars and, if they do, to give us the name and a brief explanation.

Check out their responses below:

Bob Golfen:

I’m not crazy about naming cars unless it comes naturally. 

My mom once had a funky 1962 Rambler American that we were all fond of and named Betsy, which suited it perfectly. I believe my mom named it. 

I once had a ratty Ford Falcon that my girlfriend at the time derisively named The Bullet.  

I’ve had two Saabs, both named Saaby, and a Pontiac Vibe GT named Vibey.

Currently, I have a 1962 Porsche 356 coupe that is named The Tub. Not a very original name, though, since these inverted-bathtub-style cars are universally known as tubs. There’s even a 356 club in Texas named The Tub Club.

This one looks a far sight better than Betsy ever did, but it's the same year and model. | ClassicCars.com photo
This one looks a far sight better than Betsy ever did, but it’s the same year and model. | ClassicCars.com photo

Larry Edsall:

I don’t recall ever naming a vehicle I owned. Come to think about it, I really haven’t owned that many vehicles, though I’ve been fortunate to drive hundreds of them. If I don’t count the two cars I bought for my children to drive while in high school, I’ve only owned nine since I bought my first one for $500 back when I was in college back in the 1960s. 

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If I had to pick a favorite car name, it probably would be Old Yeller, which Max Balchowsky tagged on to some race cars he built back in the 1950s, though the record-setting Mormon Meteor also has a pretty cool moniker.

He didn't own one, but Larry always like Old Yeller's name. | Bonhams photo
He didn’t own one, but Larry always like Old Yeller’s name. | Bonhams photo

Andy Reid:

I am with Larry in that I never named a car, but we did have a car many years ago, in 1997 or so. It was a very scruffy Jaguar Series 3 E-type roadster.

It was a poor buy, had issue after issue and rarely ran. My wife named the car The Steel Sculpture because it sat broken in front of our home more than it drive.

It was an appropriate name for that car.

Andy's old E-Type was certainly in far worse condition than this one. | ClassicCars.com photo
Andy’s old E-type was certainly in far worse condition than this one. | ClassicCars.com photo

Rebecca Nguyen:

Bananaru! I actually didn’t name it that, my car friends did. 

The color of my car is a factory color, Sonic Yellow, that Subaru only made in 2003. When it came time to replace the brakes, I ended up upgrading them and chose to run a big brake kit from Stoptech that typically comes in red. I was about to pull the trigger until someone said it’d make my car look like ketchup and mustard, so I opted to pay the extra dollar to get them in yellow instead. 

Once I got the calipers in, my fellow Subaru friends then made the comment that the calipers looked like bananas, which then shifted to calling my car the banana.

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Personally, I hate bananas and anything banana flavored, so of course they continued to tease me with the banana name. I hated the name, they loved it, so we compromised and combined Subaru and banana to create Bananaru.

Rebecca's Sonic Yellow Subraru is named after a fruit she doesn't even like. | Rebecca Nguyen photo
Rebecca’s Sonic Yellow Subraru is named after a fruit she doesn’t even like. | Rebecca Nguyen photo

Carter Nacke:

I didn’t think I would ever be the type to name a car and I blame my father for it, who has named almost every one of his cars Casper (as in the ghost -– he only buys white cars).

While going through the oh-so-fun negotiating process for a Nissan Sentra, the first car I bought new, I looked over and remarked that the Desert Sage paint, prominent side mirrors and large eyes made it kind of look like Yoda from Star Wars.

The name and tradition stuck. Since then, I’ve driven a Mazda 3 I called Jango Fett (because of the silver paint job with blue interior accents) and a Chevrolet Colorado I fondly call R2, as in R2D2. It’s not a fitting name, but for some reason, it works.

Carter felt the Force was with his 2008 Nissan Sentra S. | Carter Nacke photo
Carter felt the Force was with his 2008 Nissan Sentra S. | Carter Nacke photo

Nick Calderone:

Aaaayyyyy! The coolest cat on TV when I was growing up was the Fonz from Happy Days. The leather jacket, dashing hair and motorcycle-riding swagger endeared audiences around the globe and he had young me captivated, too.The Fonz could solve 30 minutes of sitcoms problems with the snap of his fingers. That was cool, but I didn’t watch to learn to fix a jukebox with a slanted grin. I watched hoping the Fonz would show up on his bike. To an 8-year-old me, that was as good as TV could get.

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When I turned 17 I scraped together a few hundred bucks and bought a 1973 Honda CB350 and promptly named it Fonzie. I didn’t care that it wasn’t a Triumph or that it didn’t look much like the bike on TV. My little Fonzie made me feel the sweet freedom of riding just the same and I felt cool.

It's not a Triumph and it looked nothing like the bike on Happy Days, but Nick's motorcycle was still called Fonzie. | Nick Calderone photo
It’s not a Triumph and it looked nothing like the bike on Happy Days, but Nick’s motorcycle was still called Fonzie. | Nick Calderone photo

Kristen Keogh:

I’ve actually never named a vehicle! I’ve owned a total of six cars and I just always referred to them by their model name.

However, when I was in college, I was a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and had an Arizona State University license plate that just said “Theta.” My sisters lovingly started referring to my ride as the “Theta Mobile.”

She's never named a car, but we know Kristen has a weakness for off-road vehicles and we bet she'd love this restored Bronco. | ClassicCars.com photo
She’s never named a car, but we know Kristen has a weakness for off-road vehicles and we bet she’d love this restored Bronco. | ClassicCars.com photo
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12 COMMENTS

  1. I have a tradition that it’s bad luck to not name a vehicle, since they do become a part of the family. Sometimes it’s a name that fits the personality of the vehicle, sometimes it’s not. Right now I have a red Ford F-150 4×4 that I call the Big Red Beast, or just "Beast". In high school and college I had a rather temperamental old 1986 Ford Ranger that I affectionately called Grumpy. Grumpy had had a hard life, enduring two teenagers learning how to drive on his 5-speed manual, my dad sometimes working it like it was an F-250 4×4, and then me trying to think I was Dale Earnhardt! Grumpy could be rather temperamental sometimes, but I learned a lot and always found a way to solve the problem and get him going again. Unfortunately the years of abuse caught up with Grumpy and at approximately 120,000 his little 4 cylinder needed rebuilt. Unwisely Dad and I decided to sell him and buy something else. Grumpy was replaced by a Chrysler Lebaron turbo that eventually earned a rather derogatory name that I cannot mention in public forum!

    • I have a 98 Tahoe, 4dr, 4wd that I bought used in 2001. The original intent was to have a vehicle that was safe to keep my 1yo daughter in through the perils of Phoenix traffic. Now … I have a tendency of calling my vehicles "Baby", but after having owned the Tahoe for 17 years now, through trips to the store, cross-country trips to Chicago in the snow for Christmas, towing a travel trailer all around AZ, CA, UT, WA, Canada and Mexico … then having been subjected to (2) teen drivers and UT winters, I now refer to her as "The Nanny". (though I still call her "Baby" while I’m driving her to work and back every day.)

      • Had a 1950 Studebaker Starlight Coupe, gave $50.00 for it in 1958, named it the Bomb! Also had a 1955 Chevy 210 4 door, 235 six cyl power-glide. Named Slow Poke!

    • Our all white ’57 Chrysler 300C 2-dr H/T is "MD2" for "Moby Dick II" (another great white whale), our ’60 Plymouth Fury 2-dr H/T with the SonoRamic Commando mill is the "Big-Tailed Beast," our ’65 Sport Fury 2-dr H’T with 426-S/4-speed is "Big Red" (Medium Red Metallic exterior, matching interior), and our ’65 Vette droptop is "Ol’ Shake, Rattle, and Roar" (fuel-injected 327 with side-mount exhausts.

  2. Don’t have any interesting cars now so no names. But I had a 1965 VW named OddBod and a 1969 VW named Vanessa Bleublanket.

  3. 61 chevy bubble top… the red reindeer
    69 road runner…. road limper (it was a lemon)
    69 charger triple green….. the green bomb and my wife called it Do Do (pronounced Doe Doe…named after her mother Dorothy who they called Do DO).
    66 buick special…. the turd (total lemon)
    71 skylark…. Dolly….. my wife picked it out and named it..
    Daily ride a 2004 Expedition….Battlestar
    daily ride 2010 highlander…. Abby
    Daily ride 2013 4 runner….Battlestar 2
    The ones in between we did not name.

  4. Family members need names. F 150 super cab long bed named "Moose" by a friend of my wife who drives a tiny S10. Our original Bugeye Sprite was "Pete" so when he became the parts car for our next Sprite it became "RePete". Most others unimaginatively named for their colors: 86 F 150 named "Periwinkle" by a friend. Various soccer Mom vans were "Red" and "Old Blue". Newest Bugeye Sprite named "Scarlett".

  5. Every car I’ve owned or worked on has had a personality which I generally attributed to wear and stacked manufacturing tolerances, but it still made every car unique, so of course I named them. My ’61 Olds F85 Deluxe Wagon was Barney the Magic Bus, the MG ZA Magnette I’m restoring now is Maggie, and my latest acquisition is my Tesla Model 3 which really did strike me as Nikola.

    • In 1964 my Grandfather & Grandmother purchased a brand new 1964 GMC 3/4 ton pickup with the 305 E V6 motor from Climes GMC in Colorado. They also purchased a new slide in Mitchell camper in 64 to go with it . They used it for camping and pulling the boat to the lake. The day he bought it he named it O’l Jim and sometimes he called it O’l Jimbo. I was just two years old when he bought it and grew up riding in it since new and calling it O’l Jim along with the rest of the family it was always known as O’l Jim . I always told my grandparents that when the day come’s you want to sell Ol’Jim I want it . That day came in 1985 just before Christmas . They were living in Oklahoma & wanted to come to Colorado where I live for Christmas. They called said they were getting to old to use it and wanted to know if I still was interested in it . I said yes very much so ! So I flew to Oklahoma and we drove Ol’ Jim and the camper back to Colorado together ! We spent a wonderful Christmas together and then they went home to Oklahoma . In 1985 when I purchased it from them my daughter was 3 years old so she like me grew up riding in Ol’jim ! Now my daughter is 36 & married with two children of her own they are 2 and 5 and we still take them and go for rides in Ol’jim from time to time ! O’l jim has always been taken good care of since new and is still in pretty decent shape. The odometer quit working just past 100k miles back in the late 80s so I’m not sure how many miles but I’m guessing about 160k on him and still has the orig clutch ! I did have to replace the throw out bearing in the 80s but the clutch disc is still good to this day ! A testament to My Grandfather who knew how to proper drive a vehicle with a clutch with out slipping it and taught me the same ! I still have the orig invoice & sale’s contract from the dealership when they bought him new and all the paper work in the glove box ! Wish I knew how to post a pic on here the truck is still nice to look at.

  6. Most of my cars get named sooner or later. For example; a ’51 Dodge was the "Beast"; my ’92 Chevy Suburban (lifted and lightly customized) was known as "The Long Legged Lady" and my ’50 Packard is referred to as "Pretty Penny" since I’m into restoration costs about twice what I estimated. Hence, a pretty penny invested.

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