Naming a car is a tricky business and you’ve got to feel for the poor soul responsible for devising a striking yet language-transcending name for every new model that enters the market. This is especially the case now motoring is more than a century old and a heck of a lot of good ones have been taken – Mustang, Diablo, Phantom and Silver Ghost, for example, to list just a few.
Some companies play it safe by taking the numbers route (like the BMW 1, 2 and 3 series, the Audi A4 or the Citroen C3), while others do their best to come up with something that will speak to all people of all nations (like the Vauxhall Astra, the Toyota Supra and the Volkswagen Beetle).
Then there are those that just say it how it is. The no-nonsense, plain-speakers of the motoring industry: when you read the car’s nameplate, it tells you all you need to know. It does make you wonder if they spent hours at the drawing board, got very frustrated and then decided to describe the vehicle literally after throwing all their other attempts in the bin, but sometimes it really works.
Inspired by the recent reveal of the Ferrari 812 Superfast (the quickest and most powerful road-legal Ferrari ever), we decided to look at some very literal car names that have cropped up over the decades.
Ferrari 812 Superfast
Starting with the car that inspired us is Ferrari’s latest offering, unveiled at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. A front mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive grand tourer with a massive 6.5-litre V12 engine that enables it to reach an advertised top speed of 210 miles per hour, or 0-60 in just 2.9 seconds. Nobody can argue that’s not super-fast.
Around 25 years ago, the Skoda brand had a somewhat unfortunate reputation that led to it being mocked in the playgrounds of probably every school in the country. Fast-forward a few decades though, and a brand overhaul and a steady stream of high-quality, good-looking new releases have helped Skoda become a household name for all the right reasons again. Being buoyed up by this might have been what led Skoda to launch its Superb models. And with the latest release in this range featuring automatic emergency calling, a ‘honk and flash’ feature to help you find your car in a car park and optimised infotainment systems, the model really does live up to its name – quite superb.
Aston Martin Rapide
We first saw the Aston Martin Rapide back in 2010. Powered by a 5,935 cc V12 engine, it can reach a top speed of 188.5 miles per hour and go from 0-60 in only five seconds. Positively rapid, but the company added the ‘e’ on for good measure and a touch of European class.
This family favourite needs no introduction. Launched in 1959, it was designed for maximum space-saving: 80 per cent of the car’s footprint could be used for passengers and luggage. The Mini measured just three metres in length, which was truly tiny compared to many of the other cars on the market at the time and earned it its moniker. Unfortunately, describing the latest models as ‘mini’ is bordering on false advertising these days – the Countryman is bigger than a Nissan Qashqai.
You don’t get much more literal than the Fortwo, which was launched by the Smart division of Daimler AG in 1998 and so-called because it’s made for two people – and not much else. It was created to be a nippy hatchback city car and became really popular in areas plagued by traffic congestion. And what was the model designed to accommodate the driver and three passengers called? The Forfour, of course.
Land Rover Range Rover
We first welcomed the ubiquitous Range Rover to our roads back in 1970, but the idea behind it was that it wasn’t confined to roads: hence Range Rover. It really could rove over whatever ranges you sent it across, including mountains with no sign of tarmac at all. Unfortunately, many now seem to exist solely to ferry children to school – they’re probably classed as almost extinct in the wild.
They’ve got the Spider, the California and the Daytona, but the creative types at Ferrari had apparently left early for the day when it came to officially naming their limited edition 2013 release – because they called it LaFerrari. In all seriousness, this was more of a bold statement than an admission that they couldn’t be bothered. It implies that the car doesn’t need a fancy name, because it’s an immaculate representation of the brand and perfection has been achieved.
It just goes to show that sometimes simplicity is best – and it avoids any confusion about why names have arisen. After all, too much creativity can result in monikers like the Japan-only releases ‘Life Dunk’ and ‘Naked’. No, we’re not sure why either.
What are your all-time favourite car names, good or bad? Let us know down there in the comments.