As the story goes, the Lamborghini Countach takes its name from a Piedmontese expletive shouted out when the car was first shown to the head of design. It was intended to be outrageous and funny...unlike these 18 hilarious gems. Take a look, and you'll realize why alpha-numeric—or completely made-up car names—make a lot of sense for global vehicles.
1. Dodge Dart Swinger
The Swinger came out in a different time. There weren’t even any commercials with beautiful car owners grabbing keys from a bowl.
2. Studebaker Dictator
When Studebaker unveiled the Dictator in 1927, it had no way of knowing what would happen in the years to come. Still, continuing to produce a car named Dictator in the era of Hitler and Mussolini wasn’t the smartest idea. Thankfully, it was scrapped in 1937.
3. Ford Probe
The car that became the Probe was originally put forward as a replacement for the Mustang. That would’ve been a huge mistake, but naming it after an alien’s favorite investigative technique wasn’t all that great, either. Ironically, it was a decent little car, especially for the late 1980s.
4. Suzuki/Diahatsu Scat
Not the best thought-out name in history. Unfortunately, an otherwise cheap and fun off road-capable vehicle turned into something you can’t drive without hearing all the sh*tty puns.
5. Chevy Nova
"No va" means “no go” in Spanish, and consequently there’s an (absolutely false) urban legend that the car sold poorly in Latin America as a result. The misnomer is so widespread that it's become a common teaching point about cultural differences in business school.
6. Ford Escort
True story: Ford actually started using the name Escort for a stripped down version of the Squire in the 1950s. Squire itself once meant “to have a romantic relationship with a woman,” and squires were traditionally the male equivalent of what you now think of as, well, an escort.
7. Buick LaCrosse
Lacrosse is a term used among Quebecois teenagers meaning "to masturbate." Very few people knew about that, though...until headlines started to appear saying “Buick Masturbator." Too bad it didn’t still use its 1950s slogan: “It makes you feel like the man you are.”
8. Opel Ascona
A lot of people think Ascona is somehow a dirty word (and not just a town in Switzerland), but this one’s somewhat of a stretch. Ascona, when pronounced in Portuguese, sounds *loosely* similar to “a xana,” which translates as “the p*ssy.” The difference is subtle to non-speakers of Portuguese, but to put it another way, the play on words would be like changing Camaro to c*m arrow.
9. Nissan Homy Super Long
Outside of Japan, the Nissan Caravan camper van was known as the Homy (Get it? It’s home-ey, because you can sleep in it). The really, really long version of it was called the Super Long. In other words, Homy Super Long is a very straightforward name that’s equal parts unfortunate and good-for-you.
10. Renault Wind
The Wind is a little 2+1 convertible that Renault produced for just a couple of years at the start of this decade. In and of itself, there’s nothing wrong with it...except for the horrible pun of everyone passing a little Wind on the highway.
You know the Hummer started out as the Army’s High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), or Humvee for short. But Hummer? C’mon.
12. Jaguar 420
This was the highest level of luxury you could get from Jag in the mid to late 1960s without jumping to the much more expensive flagship models. It was just £200 more than the lesser S-Type, so you'd have to be smoking something not to spring for the 420 (sorry).
13. Nissan Moco
Literally, in Spanish, it’s the Nissan Mucus. Queue jokes like "at least it’s always running."
14. Isuzu Mysterious Utility Wizard
You knew it stateside as the Rodeo (shown). The Isuzu MU (no, really, that stands for Mysterious Utility), and its five-door sibling the MU Wizard have one of the best/worst names of all time.
15. Mitsubishi Pajero
Pajero is a spanish adjective meaning masturbator, or as the English would say it, wanker. And that's why you know it as the Montero over here.
16. Skoda Yeti
The Yeti, of course, is the mythical abominable snowman. Abominable means to cause moral revulsion. Why any carmaker would name a vehicle after something so negative is a question for the ages.
17. Mazda Laputa
There are many definitions of the word “puta” that can’t be listed here. You probably learned most of them in middle school, anyway.
18. AMC Matador
Yeah, yeah, we all know matador is supposed to be a reference to bullfighting. It directly translates as killer, though—which makes sense when you think about what a matador actually does.
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