Ever since the dawn of the automotive age, car manufacturers have tried to name their cars with powerful and meaningful names. As old Latin saying goes “Nomen est Omen” (Name is the destiny), model names like Mustang, Charger or Supra become trademark symbols, synonyms for power and performance and much more than just the letters on the trunk. Since we know that not all cars are created equally, car names vary from cool and memorable to strange and laughable. In this list, here are ten of the most weirdly named cars.
The world of Japanese Kei Cars is an extraordinary place. Cars with tiny engines, dimensions of a refrigerator, and the driving dynamics of a 50cc scooter need colorful names to make them stand out from the crowd. In the case of the Lettuce, it certainly does just that. Who on earth would want to own a car named after a vegetable, which is a common ingredient of every health food salad or dish?
Volkswagen The Thing (Type 181)
The official name of this funny vehicle is the Type 181, but nobody knows it as such. The common name is simply “The Thing,” and even the official Volkswagen literature mentions it as such. The Thing was produced on the VW Beetle chassis with the same running gear but with an open-top four-door body. The concept was so strange with its angular design that people didn’t know what to call it except “that thing”. The Type 181 was hard to put in any class, so the name stuck and was accepted by everyone..
Nissan Homy Super long
One of the most common types of vehicles you will see on the streets of Asia are vans and minibusses. Almost all Asian manufacturers make such vehicles. Nissan example is the Homy, a popular van but for the most demanding customers, it also made the Homy Super Long which was a long-wheel-base version with more interior room but the same overall design and drive train. We really don’t know what to think about this name, it is funny but at the same time totally honest, since this Homy is longer than the standard model.
Isuzu was always known for producing small trucks, delivery, and commercial vehicles. Its lineup of models has always been equally well received in Asia, America and Europe. However, in a failed attempt to make its regular pickup sound more interesting, the company named it P’up, short for “pick up” which is really obvious. If you read the name of this model as “pup,” it sounds kind of cute since you relate this small pickup with a furry little dog which happily jumps in your lap although in many countries, calling a car a pup means its broken.
Mazda Bongo Frendee
If the Bongo as a model name is not already funny enough, Mazda added Frendee as the second part and created one of the craziest badges ever to grace the trunk of a passenger vehicle. The Bongo Frendee is a very useful and capable camper with lots of interior space and all-wheel-drive, which makes it perfect if you want to spend the night in a remote mountain area. It would be funny to describe your camping adventures starting with “I was driving my Bongo Frendee…”
We really cant think of a reason to call the car “That`s”. That said, since its a Japanese Kei Car, its likely that it got lost in translation for the western market. Theres also a chance that the little five-door hatchback with a three-cylinder engine with boxy styling and almost no interesting details needs an unusual name to give it some character and recognition.
Isuzu MU Wizard
The Isuzu Rodeo SUV was produced between 1989 and 1998, and it was sold under many names like the Vauxhall Frontera, Honda Passport, Chevrolet Rodeo and so on, but the best of all was the Isuzu MU Wizard. If you think that naming the car a wizard is strange, wait until you hear the full name. The MU stands for “Mysterious Utility” so the full name of the five-door version of Isuzu Rodeo is Isuzu Mysterious Utility Wizard. We want a word with the marketing department of Isuzu just to see if they are big fans of the Harry Potter series.
Great Wall Wingle
If you think that the Japanese have no competition when it comes to naming their cars, we have to introduce a Chinese contender – the Great Wall Wingle. First, the Great Wall is kind of a strange name for a company, but we can understand since the Great Wall is a symbol of China. However, naming a pickup truck Wingle is a totally different story. Pickups usually have strong and powerful names to emphasize their durability and toughness. Wingle is a funny name, and we cannot see it used on European or the American market.
Mazda Laputa is one of the countless Kei Cars produced for the Japanese market. There are hundreds of models in Japan of similar design, power and performance, and they are all generic urban transportation devices with no real identity. However, Laputa is a little different. Not for its technology or looks but for its name, which in Spanish means “lady of questionable morals.” Imagine saying that you have just bought “Laputa” for your everyday use.
Another Kei Car and another funny and controversial name. The last car on our list comes from Daihatsu, and its called the Naked. As with all Kei Cars, you get the idea, it’s a small box on four wheels but in the case of the Naked, it looks like an off-roader and has a bit more appeal. Even though the Japanese pronounce the name differently (Neikiddo), the word “Naked” is still used in official literature and brochures for export markets.