The 35 Coolest Car Names Ever And Their Meanings
From A Bird of Prey’s Claw To a Mongoose
Published November 22, 2017
What is the biggest PR nightmare associated with cars?
Naming a car adequately requires massive and in-depth research. Sometimes it does pay off, but sometimes, it’s just dumb. As with any other product, car manufacturers name their cars according to their nature on the market. Remember the Sixties and the Seventies? That was a time that gave us all those muscle car names like Mustang, Challenger, Charger, and Baracuda. See, every name there corresponds with the ferocious nature of these cars and with what they represent on the market.
Not every company is the same of course – some use numbers and letters, some name their cars after important people from the past, while some simply want to enrage others. For example, the name Mangusta means mongoose translated from Italian. Back when the De Tomaso Mangusta was revealed, the car aimed to take on the Shelby Cobra. And, as you may know, the mongoose (specifically the Indian Gray Mongoose) is an animal that enjoys preying on snakes – specifically, cobras.
Some of the names are just made up. Usually, in order to mark the coming of an all-new mass production model. Like the Mondeo – from Ford. In America, it is known as the Fusion, mind you. The name (Mondeo) itself is a derivative of the French word Le Monde – translated into English it means ‘the world’. Obviously, the car was a global effort and Ford needed a fitting name.
Regardless of all the hassle associated with naming cars, some really do resonate to this day. I bring you, with a little help from our friends at Road and Track, a list of 35 cars with some of the coolest names ever.
Can’t beat that. Almost literally. The Internet tells us the meaning of the word Vanquish and you won’t be disappointed.
Vanquish – to overcome in battle; subdue completely; to defeat in a conflict or contest; to gain mastery over. Aston knew what this car was here to do, and named it accordingly.
Do I really have to tell you why this one is simply a demonic name? The Dodge Demon appeared only a couple of months ago and it already stirred a lot of problems for everyone else. The name definitely fits its nature of insanity. With 840 hp and a 0-60 mph time of 2.3 seconds, we’d say this car is appropriately titled, wouldn’t you agree?
This one is good all the way. As with almost all Lancia names of the time, the name Stratos was sourced from Greek mythology. Stratos for “army”. Considering how successful the Stratos was, this name fits perfectly. However, some other definitions of the word suggest Stratos was a mythical creature – a tornado with arms, red eyes and red mouth. A physical expression of the storm – and what a storm it is.
Some may say that naming a car like this is a bit dull or even tacky. However, the name was revived. Back in the Sixties, Ferrari sold a car called the 500 Superfast. Although this isn’t its successor, it definitely represents a car worthy of the name Superfast. A sports car with the V12 developing 789 hp most definitely is super fast. The car is a successor to the equally stunning F12Berlinetta.
This one is a no-brainer. The Mustang is an icon unlike any other. First, it suits the car perfectly, but it does not, apparently, have links with the Mustang horse (it does a bit actually). The designer of the first Mustang, John Najjar, was a rather big fan of the WWII fighter plane P-51 Mustang. He proposed the name, and it’s stuck like glue every since.
If I were to translate this name into English it would sound something like the Alfa Romeo Flying Saucer. I am not joking – Disco Volante literally means flying saucer. It would not even sound bad if it were named in English, but the Italian gives some heft to it. The Alfa Romeo Disco Volante was an experimental racing car in 1952 and 1953 produced with the Milanese coachbuilder Carrozzeria Touring.
It is a spear, and the AMC Javelin definitely was one. Possibly the best muscle car name landed on a car sporting 343 ci and 390 ci V8 engines. The Javelin is easily one of the best-looking muscle cars of the time. It took the prospects of a pony car and improved on it. It had a mission to draw younger buyers and it did that fantastically well. The average Javelin buyer was 10 years younger compared to any other AMC car buyers.
Simply put, it is a master of the roads. One has to grow a serious pair of balls to call itself that. The name dates back to 1938 when Buick introduced the Series 80 Roadmaster. All other cars with the name, more or less, fit the bill of being advanced luxury cruisers. Buick called the name back in the 90s for another run of the Roadmaster, but that version didn’t have nearly as much character as the original.
Cheap, but offers serious speed! That is what was important with the Corvette. Now, the name was, most likely, sourced from navy nomenclature. Corvettes are small army warships. The Corvette, considering its angry and animalistic nature, certainly fits the bill.
With seven generations under the Corvette belt, its name has never been as sound as today.
I mentioned it above. Mangusta – Italian for mongoose is the name best describing a car that should have been the Shelby Cobra killer. Although designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and engineered to be a proper sports car, the Mangusta in the US had an engine developing only 221 hp thanks to the Ford 302 Ci V8. The Europeans got a much cooler version that developed 306 hp.
Some may not like the car, but the name was a win. Magnum is an instant cool. Derived from the best known American pistol Magnum .44, the name stayed on the Dodge car for three generations. While the name is cool, the only version that really deserved its namesake was the SRT8 version, which featured a 6.1L V8 good for 425 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. Talk about recoil.
The name is an awesome one. However, considering that the Dodge Rampage was based on top of unibody subcompact architecture, it did not actually bring the hardware to justify the name. With a four-cylinder under the bonnet and not exactly an overwhelming size, the car lacked some heft. Yet, the name.
Better than El Camino or Ranchero for sure.
A venomous snake. It’s the best possible description of the Dodge Viper – a car so mad even some pros were scared to drive it.
Honestly, I think that this name and the car are best-suited for one another. The Viper will bite – both the animal and the car.
I totally forgot this car existed. It was a rebadged Mitsubishi Eclipse, but with a far better name. The word Talon represents a claw of a bird of prey. See what they did here. Eagle – bird of prey; Talon – its claw. It’s almost too good.
Just FYI, the most powerful engine for the Talon was the two-liter Mitsubishi turbo unit with 210 hp. Coupled with AWD, it made the 2+2 coupe quite raspy.
The redhead. I mean, it’s an absolutely gorgeous name for an exciting, yet exceptionally elegant car. The Testarossa name Ferrari used for their famed model was actually sourced from the Ferrari 500 TR from 1956.
Italian words definitely sound powerful and emotional when heard in English speaking countries. The Testarossa may well be one of the most seductive names we’ve heard ’round this parts and leaves us looking forward to every new Ferrari.
The Hudson Hornet was a massive full-size sedan. Measuring about 210 inches in length one would think the name Hornet wouldn’t be a good match. Yet, with its NASCAR racing history, the name of the vicious insect definitely was a good fit for the car.
The Hudson Hornet saw two generations and it was produced as a coupe, sedan, hardtop, and convertible.
As one of only a few non-American muscle cars, the Jensen Interceptor definitely nailed it with the “muscle-car-name”. A car produced in Great Britain from 1966 to 1976 had a number of proper American virtues. After all, it employed massive engines – 360Ci, 383Ci, and 440Ci motors. The most powerful car to ever bear the name Interceptor features a 440 Mopar machine “Six Pack” with 390 hp. Six Pack for “three 2-barrel configuration” carburetors.
Translated from Italian, the word Countach roughly means “Oh my!”. That is a polite term to define the word. More precisely, the term has been slang for something amazing in Piedmonte region in Italy for generations now. While some may translate it from Piedmonte as a “wow!” you are closer to its meaning with the English term “holy shit!”
The Lamborghini Countach is definitely the only car in the world with a name like that. Neat.
While the Dodge Demon definitely sounds cool as hell (see what I did there), the Diablo sounds even meaner. Carrying the name of the devil, the Diablo was a fantastic successor to the Lamborghini Countach. Although Lambo names their cars quite viciously even today, the Countach and the Diablo are definitely the meanest.
As one of the best off-roaders in the world, the Land Rover Defender certainly bears a name representing the honesty, honor, and capabilities of the machine. Although Land Rover ceased production months ago, the whole motoring world awaits the arrival of a new generation. It will be different for sure – but it will be even more capable.
It is a raider, a bandit, a rustler. A short Google search about the Marauder meaning will reveal this. Now, whether the Mercury Marauder was that vicious, dangerous or rebellious is open for debate, but the truth is that the name is awesome. If you are in a market for the last Marauder out there, go for the black one. It’s a surprsingly capable ‘old man sedan’ that can lay down rubber at a moment’s notice.
Unfortunately, a name as cool as Raider ended up on a Mitsubishi truck without soul and the proper grunt to carry it proudly. As Road and Track suggests, the Raider would be best suited for a muscle car with a massive V8. From the Sixties. Dreams, dreams.
A Cutlass is a sword used by pirates. It is also a car made by Oldsmobile. A short sword with a curved blade isn’t something one would expect to find on the rear end of a car measuring more than 200 inches in length. Yet, the Cutlass became an iconic machine sought after by enthusiasts even today. Its name definitely had a lot to do with it.
Another Oldsmobile, another great name – the Toronado – this time from 1965. As a massive luxury coupe, the Toronado was at the high-end of the Oldsmobile offering. The car features a massive 455Ci engine and a special transmission setup differing it from all other cars out there.
The name, however, was of no meaning apparently. It was envisioned for the Chevy show car a few years before the Oldsmobile Toronado was revealed.
Google tells us this – “Esperanto is a constructed international auxiliary language. With an estimated two million speakers worldwide, it is the most widely spoken constructed language in the world.”
But there is a car called the Esperanto as well. Made in Georgia by a small car manufacturer called Panoz. This car features a slightly modified Ford engine with 320 hp. FYI – 0-62 mph in 4.9 seconds.
Yes, it is here. The car isn’t actually a good one. Not as a retro machine, not as a sports car and not as a daily driver. However, it is a fine curiosity with a name embedded in criminal terminology. And that alone makes the Prowler a fine addition to this list.
It looked futuristic, muscular, badass, and definitely like something that could draw the buyers of muscle cars to itself. Four generations of the car proved it is a worthy competitor in the saturated market of sports cars. I am not certain, however, if we are to ever see a new one on the market. We definitely won’t under the Pontiac brand.
Porsche Carrera GT
It just works – the Carrera GT. Sounds fast and it definitely fits a supercar. Translated from Spanish, Carrera means race. As many tech advancements of the Porsche Carrera GT were derived from race cars, it is hard to think of a better name for the car.
The 612 hp beast certainly deserves an iconic name.
Rolls-Royce is known for naming its cars as mysterious, devious, and vicious spiritual beings. The name Phantom appeared all the way back in 1925. To date, Rolls-Royce has produced eight generations of the Phantom. It is by far, the most luxurious car (and the best one by many) in the world. Having a ghostly name is just right.
This is the car that the De Tomaso Mangusta wanted to devour. Of course, it did not, as the AC Cobra and the Shelby Cobra became one of the most astounding icons of the car world.
While the Viper represents a venomous snake, the Cobra represents the most vicious snake of them all. With a lightweight design and more power than you could shake a stick at, it was certainly a force to be reckoned with.
Mercedes-Benz AMG Hammer
The Germans know a thing or two about naming cars as well. The AMG Hammer – 1987 Mercedes W124 with cafe racer bodywork and a surprisingly low drag coefficient of just .25. Its 17-inch back wheels transfer 365 hp of V8 muscle to the ground giving the W124 quite remarkable performance – 0-62 mph in 5.3 seconds and a quarter mile pass in 13.5 seconds.
Its design inspired by fighter jets of the time, Vector was the supercar company producing interesting sports cars from 1989 to 1993. As Road and Track reports, “in physics, the vector means to have direction as well as magnitude”. While the car company had a rather fine name, its cars were unremarkably called the W2, the W8 and the WX-3.
With a top speed of 270 mph, the Hennessey Venom GT was the closest thing to a Veyron killer that ever existed. It was the fastest car on Earth at one time, unofficially beating the Veyron with 1451hp at its disposal. The name is a dangerous one, obviously. The Venom GT is a substance to harm or kill a living being. A substance to compete with the mighty Bugatti Veyron. Hennessey revealed one to tackle the Chiron as well, and combined the Venom namesake with the highest rating on the Fujita Tornado Scale. A wicked name for a wicked car.
Yes, Corvette is a fine name for a car, but the Corvette Stingray is taking it all to DEFCON 3. The Stingray nameplate is of high value in the world of Corvette enthusiasts. For the C7 generation, Chevy finally brought it back. Even with a huge name to live up to, the C7 delivered with ease.
The Raptor replaced the Lightning. This one was a sweetheart of muscle truck enthusiasts back in the Nineties. Now, however, the Raptor took its place. Not that anyone is sad about it, but it would be nice to see the SVT Lightning badge make a comeback. Ford ceased its production in 2004. Granted, we have seen some special edition revamps come through the works lately.
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