Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What did you name your car?

Okay, I know you've done it. You've given your car a name. Ever wonder WHY exactly we do this? My theory is, it's the 'Adam-complex.' (Freud missed this one completely.) It seems that ever since God asked Adam to name all the animals we've been naming everything in sight.

When I first met my future husband, Peter, he was driving something he called The Higgen-bomb. Affectionately named after the guy that sold it to him, Peter bought this wreck for $1 but then found .35 cents in the vehicle as he was cleaning it up. What a bargain! At the time, I hardly knew Peter, but agreed to write a story for this young editor and his fledgling newspaper, City Light News. It would be my premiere piece of published journalism. But first, I needed to survive the drive to the interview.

The Higgen-bomb was a standard Ford Maverick that didn't have any brakes...Have you noticed how people often get a vehicle that mirrors their own personality? I soon found out Peter was an active communicator. He enjoys expressing his viewpoint and looks frequently at his passenger(s) to gauge their response. In fact, on this first drive together he spent more time looking at me than at the road. He was chatting, shifting, waving his hands in the air to make a point, using the emergency brake at every stop and glancing at me constantly. Within five minutes of us 'hitting' the road, I knew we were going to die...

Peter had bought the Higgen-bomb after he found out his van was guzzling way too much gas. He only owned this van for a few short months before it's lifespan seemed about to end. The van was wheezing its last breaths, limping along the roads. Three different mechanics told him it was engine trouble. So Peter drove to Cochrane where a friend provided him with an engine and was going to install it for free. But first they decided to check out the possibility that it was only a disconnected valve. Sure enough, it was fixed in minutes and resurrected from the dead. Quickly christened 'Lazarus' Peter soon thought it more appropriate to rename it Lazarust!

In the 20 years Peter and I have been married, we've only owned three vehicles, but all have had special terms of endearment. Peter bought the Sprint the week we started going out. He's always remarked what a good week that was. It was our 'happy car.' (No, not because of that.) It got it's name after we were married and Peter had a minor altercation with an SUV that left the hood of the Sprint slightly bent. We decided that rather than fix it we would just bungee cord the hood down. Unfortunately, when we were driving on the highway, the increased air current would lift the hood up. When the winter sun was setting, and a long shadow of the car could be seen on the side of the road, the raised hood made it look like it was smiling.

After the Sprint came the Spirit. With plush seats, cruise control and air-conditioning, we had landed in the lap of luxury. I would wash this car frequently as I didn't want to have an 'unclean Spirit' around. And whenever we went for a drive, we would go wherever the Spirit would lead us...

The Saturn was next, (getting the "S" trend?) and it has been out of this world! We bought this car on December 31st at 4 pm, 2002 (talk to Peter about this) and have had virtually no extra costs so we plan to drive it into the ground, or to the stars, whichever comes first.

Ask almost anyone what they have named their car or truck and you'll get an interesting story. So will you tell me yours?


  1. My first car was given to me by my mother when I was in grade 12. It was a small four-door gray Datsun. My friends and I painted flowers, vines and planaria all over it, and I named it "Alotte" because I liked driving a lot. When I sold it, the first thing the new owner did was remove the paintings!

  2. I named my family’s 12 passenger van 'the beast'. Not only for its large size, but also for its growly noises when it doesn't want to be started in weather so cold.

  3. You guys are hilarious!! I didn't know that about your vehicles!!
    I've only named one car - my first car. It was a 1966 Valient Convertible that was built for me when I was 16 because of some work I'd done for some guy friends. They got the body for free and I only had to pay for parts (no labour) for the engine etc. They painted the body a royal blue (the ragtop was white.) I loved that car... and owned it for almost 20 years ...but it nickle and dimed me almost to death.
    I wasn't the only one that liked the car though... it had a 'magnetic personality' that attracted other cars to it - literally. I didn't even have to be IN the car for other cars to run into it! (So I know it wasn't just my driving!!)
    I named it Morris Patches... Morris after the cat because it was so finicky... and Patches because it was constantly being patched up after it's accidents.

  4. I can't say that I have really had an ongoing name for any of my cars, though the old Tercel was alternatively called the Toyota Oven or Refrigerator depending on the season. Not a term of endearment by any standard.

    Closest to a car naming I got to was that of my parent's old Crown Victoria. Compared to the bare bones Tercel it was akin to the Space Shuttle, which it was aptly named for it's many gadgets and technology. The thing practically idled faster than the Tercel could drive!

    Now if only this strandedjedi could have got the thing into orbit to rendezvous with the mother ship!

  5. Sheryl - I can totally see you, as a 60s child, painting your Datsun. So sorry the second owner didn't have your finely tuned 'art sense.'

    C-bkool - 12 passenger? Seriously? Did you use it as a hotel when relatives visited?

    Joy - why am I not surprised you had a convertible that 'guys' built for you. It lived a Valient life...

    Stranded Jedi - Get something that idles even faster so you can get into orbit and outa-this-world for a little while. You could use the inter-planetary break!

  6. Well, my car is Andre, as you know, and patting the dashboard and crooning his name has soothed him many times after a particularly rough gravel road.

    Um, yeah...

    My sister and I also christened our mom's sewing machine "Ursula" because... well... it's an Ursula. It's this ancient, clunky beast that makes a lot of noise and looks a little forlorn next to newer ones.

  7. Heidi - I know how much you love Andre, but by patting the dashboard and crooning his name you are just dealing with superficial issues and not paying attention to his deepest feelings. He DOESN'T LIKE BEING DIRTY! Pouring hot, soapy water all over him will totally change your relationship making him sparkle and smile again. True love gets to the dirt and eliminates it!

  8. The first car I actually bought, when I was in tech school, was a 1974 Toyota Celica that had more rust than paint. What can you expect for $450? It quickly became the 'Rocket' because it was all speed. I guess that had something to do with the extra 300 lbs it lost from the floor boards and rocker arms disappearing into thin air. It was all engine and no comfort, but what a....rocket! When I'd get it stuck in a snow drift, often enough, I'd put it in first, dump the clutch and jump out and push, finally catching up with it as it rolled down the street. What a rush.

  9. Methodius - you have just helped me prove my point that people often purchase a vehicle that reflects their personality. The 'Rocket' is definitely YOU! I would've loved to have a ride in that car, after I'd taken out a life insurance policy, of course.