in-car entertainment (2):3rd name postscript

I’ve had lots of interest in the 3rd name, naming strategy for cars covered in i-c e 1. Everybody’s calling , txting, e-mailing with increasingly great examples. Paul S texted in with the Audi A6 Vindis. My ace son-in law S saw a – – Ripcurl! And followed it up with a spot of home-made branding which saw an Astra LX or something deflowered and re-christenned as an Astra …Man United, with consistent lettering on the rear quarters. Two things are painful here; a) that someone would go to the trouble of removing the car’s original back side livery and replace it with tailored branding and b) that someone would think that an Astra is redolent of the mighty Man U. I mean if it had been an Aston Martin Vantage I could understand it – great English marque and a world leader, powerful attack with subtle restraint, traditional values yet modern thinking, devoted followers and surprisingly significant US ownership influence etc etc. That would be a true simile but a frigging Vauxhall Astra? Do me a favour. That’s a car for Luton Town FC. What would be your team/car comparisons?

Whilst down in Brighton with my daughter and S we spotted another Ford Fiesta Frascati – two in 24 hours. There must be a Brighton Ford dealer with a sense of humour and bubbly infectiousness. Think that might just be possible in Brighton. The idea of naming cars after classic wines/drinks is appealing (and unfortunate). But the Vauxhall Verdicchio, Lamborghini Lambrusco, Ferrari Fuisse, Honda Hirondelle, Chevrolet Chevry-Chambertain et al is v appealing. Sure you can think of far better examples.

Here are some of the other sightings of crap 3rd names we came across driving up to the Lakes to see C’s mum, today:

– VW Polo Twist and VW Polo Motion – obviously the Germans are into dance themes currently

– Toyota Rav4 Freesport (with funky graphic sails) and Toyota Avensis Vermont. Very Americana and then I spotted the
Toyota Aygo ‘Black’. I was glad they’d pointed this out because I couldn’t decide if the paintwork was black or lime green. Really helpful Japanese instructions for those of us who grew up in the 50’s when there was no other car colour.

– Renault Megane Oasis, refreshingly Manc.

– Citroen C1 Airplay+. Quite bizarre

– Seat Ibiza Salsa in funky lettering (note in the earlier blog the use of Mardi Gras, Jazz and Calypso – there’s a whole Caribbean/Copacabana thing going on here – which entirely suits the cars involved…not)

– Hyundai Accent Coupe Si. Now this could have been a mistake and it might have been a missing ‘x’ at the end of ‘Si’ or something. But that would have at least as little sense as ‘Si’. So Si must be it. So why?

– also saw a Something Something ‘ally’ – friendly but emotionally a little too strategic? Why not Pal or Mate or Buddy?
Car naming is just such a fun area in the event that you’re stuck in a car park or schlepping over to the in-laws. Check out the convention of a centralised logo device on the boot lid with the manufacturer/ model name to the left of the boot lid and type number eg CDI 1.6 TDi (what’s the longest number of digits?) top right. Mazda have started to experiment with model and type reversed. Oooh! And Renault are doing model names under the central logo device these days to look v different. French radical chic. Look for the tell-tale hopeless naming tactics on the special editions. They will be intellectually crap but hugely entertaining to spot.


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About Paul

Having decided on a change of life by moving home from the UK to Italy, this is the story and thoughts of a man on a personal journey from the Blackpool Tower to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, in search of la dolce vita. After several olive harvests he's now back in London but en route he shares his very personal perspectives on life.

12 thoughts on “in-car entertainment (2):3rd name postscript

  1. can’t stop doing this now. spotted on the wat to brighton:
    – Renault 106 Graduate (not quite a Spyder Mrs R)
    – a 5 year old Nissan Micra Passion (as in Wagon – pulling machine, er no)
    – A Renault Clio MTV. I kid you not. What’s that all about?

  2. ok, time to come out of the closet….
    I had a self styled Fiat Panda… wait for it “WWF” That’s world wide fund for nature not world wrestling federation (honest). Imagine if you will a biege box with dark brown panda logo stencilled onto the C pillars. hmm nice wheels. Can you believe designed by the same guy that did all this

    In full flow now, Porsche wanted to call their 911 a 901 but Peugeot “own” the 0 between 2 other numbers. Now they are running out of numbers will we see a Porsche 901 Carrerra? and did you know that a 911 stopped being a 911 in 1989 then became a 964 then a 993 then 996 and now a 997. Facinating stuff eh?

  3. hey pat

    i’m sure you must feel better for holding your hand up and admitting to being a 3rd namer. welcome to the club. doesn’t it feel good to be out of the Panda closet and turning into a real numbers buff there pat. loved all that porsche stuff. is there a logic to the numbering sequence? if there is i can’t see it. if there isn’t, perfect. just shows you how wacky those germans can be.

    whilst i’m on the subject i spotted a renault clio ripcurl that my son-in-law S saw last week. only this was on an advert on the TV!! oh yes the ridiculous 3rd name makes it’s telly debut. i guess they want you to think that if you bought this tiny little insipid renault then you’re not just driving a car, you’re really cruising down the pacific highway on the way to Big Sur with a gorgeous blonde beach babe sat next to you.

    you know, they’ll sell some on the strength of this. probably one to that bozo Brian in BB. now he is dopey.


  4. I really have no idea what the numbers mean, I could look it up but maybe someone else can shed some light.

    I’m not sure if the Ripcurl counts as it’s not a dealer sticker, it’s a tie up with the surf co. Or is this now what the manufacturers are doing to stop the dealers doing it. I wonder if we will see a Ripcurl “Surf” or “Sand in the sandwiches” any time soon.

  5. hi pat
    it’s a fair point but i think it shows that the 3rd name has come of age. maybe there’s a sponsorship opportunity here i should exploit with the manufacturers now, like the Vauxhall Nova ‘Creme Egg’ or Misubishi Shogun ‘Black and Decker Strimmer’. hey i like it.

    Re the R C Ripcurl, i would like to see the ‘Bozo’ suffix first.


  6. wey hey

    vauxhall’s new SUV. shows all the hallmarks of having been designed and built in luton.

    top spot pat. you’re heading for an honorary mention in “crap names for crap cars’.

  7. just a quick update to add two more 3rd names to the growing list with similar derivations:

    – the Ford Fiesta Freestyle. Fine Ford alliteration – they do a lot of this – and a breezy independent kind of name. Shame about the car.

    – the CityRover Style. This is the baby car I think in the Rover series and if you’ve got to add the descriptor name Style, you know for sure it hasn’t got any. Nor has the driver.


  8. In true Nordic ultar-rational style, Volvo numbering used to be very logical. I think the first digit was the range, second was cylinder count and third the number of doors, so a 242 would be a 4 cylinder 2-door, 244 a four door and 245 a five door.

  9. Hey Brian
    you good?

    Volvo numbering – like it. But can’t help thinking that confirming the number of doors is a bit unnecessary. Mind you the more i think about it the more i think they should extend the scheme by adding digits for the number of cupholders, interior lights and floor mats. Buying a Volvo XC 90 – 65764 would be great.


  10. Doing fine and enjoying the blog. Still contemplating Italy btw. Can’t leave the car branding subject without paying homage to the immortal Toyota Cedric – now that’s an aspirational brand for you! According to the Toyota Virtual Museum: ( ), “… Cedric became famous for its 71hp engine, which gave a maximum speed of 130km/h. The car was named after Cedric Errol,the man character of “Little Lord Fauntleroy”, the famous novel by F.E.Burnett; the name “Cedric” brings to mind a lively, honest, and handsome young boy.” I think that says it all.

  11. see you out there we hope b.

    the cedric. what a name for a car. great spot. it’s so personal – almost like the personal whim of the MD and his favourite novel character. So when i become the head of a major italian motor manufacturer, i’m going to bring
    out the Alfa Romeo Luca named after Luca Brazzi from the Godfather. Molto male.

    just to finish off, i spotted a Rover 25 ‘Impression’ yesterday (plus a Golf Rolling Stones special edition – only the second I’ve ever seen). Anyway i started thinking;

    – who actually owns Rover these days – is it the Chinese or is it dead?

    – the naming strategy certainly needs to be killed off – that 2-digit numbering system never looked like a smart marketing move. It always makes me think that was the number of that particular model that had actually been sold.

    – the prick responsible for the 3rd name cerytainly needs shooting. Did he imagine the gullible public would actually believe that owning one of these shitboxes would create something like ‘the right impression’? More like a lasting impression of a dufus for falling for it. Any self-respecting man would hair-dryer it off the moment you got it home. What’d you bet that the guy who bought this one’s called Cedric?


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