What’s Wrong With Good Car Names?

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Cars used to have amazingly over-the-top names. The Mercury Turnpike Cruiser and the Desoto Firesweep Sportsman come to mind. Sadly, these have been made obsolete by ruinous alphanumerics.

We blame the Germans, what with their Mercedes 560SELs and BMW 325iXs and Audi 5000s. Americans tried to copy the whole thing and it got lame. While we were gazing at some lust-worthy custom car badges, racermd told a story of how confusing the new names could be.

Once, a long time ago (in this galaxy...), I worked at a car rental agency call center. Another agent I worked with nearby took a roadside service call one day. The car this particular customer had rented was basically non-functional and they needed a replacement brought out to them. When asked what type of car they had rented, all they kept saying was, "Goo Lee." The customer was foreign and clearly didn't have any knowledge of American cars and the agent had no idea what that meant.

The customer and the agent went around and around like this for a while before the agent gave up and just sent a mid-size car and a tow truck to bring the disabled car (whatever it might have been) back to their repair facility. When the agent in the replacement car arrived, he started laughing hysterically. What he found was a disabled Pontiac 6000 LE.

Goo Lee, indeed.

So let's propose a game. You think of a car with an absurd name or even list of options (like the Mercedes 500 SEC or the Toyota Corolla XRS) and then you try and make up new things those letters could stand for (like the Corolla eXtreem Relaxation System). What's the best you can do?


Photo Credit: Old Car Brochures