Ten Wacky Car Names: What WERE they Thinking?

Toyota Deliboy
Ten of our favorite wacky car names. From Life Dunk, to Thing, to That's, we ponder the motivations of the marketing teams that named them.

Wacky car names are all about perception. Naming a car “Life Dunk,” for example, may have seemed like a good idea at the time. In hindsight, however, one cannot help but wonder what in the actual heck that marketing team was smoking. We looked back over time and put together a list of our favorite top ten wacky car names to astonish, confuse, and (hopefully) delight you:

      1. Mazda Titan Dump

        Titan Dump
        Titan Dump (Mj-bird, Wikimedia Commons)

        Imagine you’re at the truck dealership and you have to choose between several types of trucks. At last you make up your mind and tell the dealer, “I think I’m going to take a Titan Dump.” The dealer then gestures towards the, um, facilities. So terribly embarrassing, really. Mazda should really hire someone new to name its trucks (ya think?).

      2. Ford Probe

        Ford Probe
        Ford Probe (IFCAR, Wikimedia Commons)

        Is it just us, or do other people also squirm when they hear the word “probe?” Maybe Ford should have run this car name by a focus group. We can picture how this would go. “Who, in this room, has a pleasant association with the word ‘probe?’”  Uh uh. Really, truly bad name. Next.

      3. Nissan Friend-Me

        Nissan Friend-Me
        Nissan Friend-Me (El monty, Wikimedia Commons)

        In 2013, Nissan had a moment of inspiration (not), and taking a cue from the wild popularity of Facebook, named a car, the “Friend-Me.” Alas, the name brings to mind someone alone on a Saturday night, sending out random friend requests to good-looking strangers on Facebook, in lieu of a date. Smacks of desperation.

      4. Studebaker Dictator

        1936 Studebaker Dictator
        1936 Studebaker Dictator (Loco Steve from Orpington, UK, Wikimedia Commons)

        Perhaps not the best name choice for a car popular during the years of Mussolini and Hitler. And in fact, there were political ramifications that made it nigh impossible to sell the Dictator in European countries still ruled by monarchies, including Great Britain. Which is why Studebaker elected to rebrand this car the “Director” for sale in those particular countries. *shakes head*

      5. Honda That’s

        Honda 2002 That's (Kuha455405, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons)
        2002 Honda That’s (Kuha455405, Wikimedia Commons)

        There’s nothing quite so refreshing as giving your car a name that is an incomplete sentence. You can almost hear the conversation in your head. “I understand you purchased a new car! What kind?”“That’s.”

        “A secret . . . too personal? I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to pry.”

      6. Honda Life Dunk

        Honda Life Dunk
        Honda Life Dunk (Tennen-Gas, Wikimedia Commons)

        When you think of the person who purchases a Honda Life Dunk, you think of someone at the lowest point in his or her life. This is the person who has not had a happy day since birth, and what better car to express this state of being than the Life Dunk? It’s like the dealer pulled back a curtain and announced, “This is your life . . . LOSER.”

      7. Volkswagen Thing

        Volkswagen Thing
        Volkswagen Thing (Sven Storbeck, Wikimedia Commons)

        Boy, the guy who names Volkswagen vehicles must have run out of names, or had a really, really bad day to come up with “Thing.” We’d like to think that he or she just didn’t have enough coffee that morning, but at least think about the ramifications. “Will the owner of the blue Thing please report to the front desk?”

      8. Toyota Deliboy

        Toyota Deliboy
        Toyota Deliboy (Tennen-Gas, Wikimedia Commons)

        The guy who gave this car its name must have been brainstorming car names all morning, and then it was getting close to lunch. “Sushi?” he thought. “Tacos?” But no, what he really wanted was pastrami on rye. And so, a car name, Deliboy, was born.

      9. Isuzu P’Up

        Isuzu P'Up
        Isuzu P’Up (IFCAR, Wikimedia Commons)

        Yes. It may be short for “pick-up,” but we can’t help but think of puppies, or perhaps two hipsters greeting each other, “S’up.” Then, of course, we get hung up on the pronunciation. Pih-Up? Pup? Or is that a long u and we just don’t know Japanese??

      10. Mitsubishi Lettuce

        Mitsubishi Minica Lettuce
        Mitsubishi Minica Lettuce (Toyotacoronaexsaloon, Wikimedia Commons)

        Much like the Toyota Deliboy, the person in charge of naming the Mitsubishi Minica Lettuce was hankering for lunch, but alas, was on a diet. The name lettuce, evoking a non-calorific salad, is actually appropriate for this car, which seems to be some sort of design toss-up, with just three doors. One more door was just too fattening, we suppose.



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