Hooniverse Asks: What’s the Funniest Family Car Name?


The badge on the boot lid of the 1962-70 Iso Rivolta IR300/340 is, like every other aspect of the car, a thing of beauty. A chrome finished casting made up of two different but decidedly complementary scripts—a heavier italicized cursive for the Iso and a more delicate, almost art deco extrusion for the Rivolta—could be hung on an art gallery wall. Oh yeah, it’s true, the car is called a Rivolta, like in revolting.
Why would you saddle a car with such a name? Well because it’s a family name—Renzo Rivolta was the founder of Iso Autoveicoli S.p.A—and the fact is that the name didn’t have the same context in Italian as it does in English. We English speakers may stifle a giggle at the mere mention, but in Italy they hold Rivolta in great honor not just because of his sixties sports cars but also as the creator of the Isetta bubble car a decade earlier.   
Many a brand has carried the name of its builder or benefactor, and for every Ferrari or Chevrolet, there has been a Bizzarrini or Koenigsegg. Today we want to be a little childish and decide which of those family names has been the funniest ever applied to a car. I think even Porsche applies seeing as how no one can seemingly pronounce it correctly.
Image: DRIVE

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74 responses to “Hooniverse Asks: What’s the Funniest Family Car Name?”

    1. Wayne Moyer Avatar
      Wayne Moyer

      So what you are trying to tell me is that people used these for something besides pizza delivery?

      1. Sjalabais Avatar
        Sjalabais

        LePizzadeliverer was voted down at the late night naming meeting, that’s for sure.

        1. Wayne Moyer Avatar
          Wayne Moyer

          I swear that’s what they did when their loans were up and they ended up on the used car lots.

  1. smalleyxb122 Avatar
    smalleyxb122

    “It wasn’t founded by Floyd Hummer?”

  2. Wayne Moyer Avatar
    Wayne Moyer

    The Dodge Swinger is an easy one here. Especially for the seventies. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/25385f4ff577372602bc49312beac75af4d220fb3d564adb5f0f0fb630b104fb.jpg

      1. Wayne Moyer Avatar
        Wayne Moyer

        Here we see Saddam Hussein with his Scat Pack Swinger.

        1. P161911 Avatar
          P161911

          If this wasn’t a Classic Captions, it should be.

          1. Wayne Moyer Avatar
            Wayne Moyer

            We are a couple weeks behind on that for what it’s worth.

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

      Swinger/Swinging didn’t mean specifically what it does now. It simply meant hip, vibrant, and adventuresome.

      1. dead_elvis, inc. Avatar
        dead_elvis, inc.

        I associate swinging/swingers/key parties strictly with the 1970s, not any other decade. (It was the swingin’ sixties, without the wink-wink, nudge-nudge that came later.) Are you saying television & movies have lied to me?!

        1. Rover 1 Avatar
          Rover 1

          About all you’d expect in a company named the same as British slang for ‘gentlemens vegetables’

    2. oldcarjunkie Avatar
      oldcarjunkie

      Even better I came across a Swinger branded RV a few years ago. Imagine trying to sell your spouse on a Swinger motorhome! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0294eac375b4379b75ccf3321207c7102a34fa98fbc68858f7a355df80c6c1ef.jpg

      1. Alff Avatar
        Alff

        If nasty shag carpet and paneling could talk.

      2. Wayne Moyer Avatar
        Wayne Moyer

        That is really nice. I’ll bet it’s Dodge powered as well.

        1. oldcarjunkie Avatar
          oldcarjunkie

          It was. It later came up for sale and was listed as 440cid powered from what I remember.

          1. Wayne Moyer Avatar
            Wayne Moyer

            I remember an old Car and Driver TV thing that showed how a lot of the older RV’s were based on Dodge trucks in the seventies.
            You know this is the kind of knowledge that will make money some day.

    1. Wayne Moyer Avatar
      Wayne Moyer

      Seriously?

      1. nanoop Avatar

        Fits a very small family.

    1. Sjalabais Avatar
      Sjalabais

      What were they thinking? I have no rational angle on this one.

      1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

        There was a lot of talk about lunar probes and deep space probes at the time.

        1. Batshitbox Avatar
          Batshitbox

          A Congressional committee Probed the naming strategy, ultimately calling to Junket.

          1. Vairship Avatar
            Vairship

            There was just too much Porking the barrel

      2. Hatchtopia Avatar

        There was a family of Ford concept cars called the Probe I, III, III, etc. starting in the early 80s. Apparently, they didn’t hear the giggles at the car shows.

      3. Wayne Moyer Avatar
        Wayne Moyer

        I’m sure it was sold to them this way.
        “People are going to probe the universe and explore the outside world in their new Ford”
        While the bean counters thought
        “We don’t care what it costs. Just get rid of the front wheel drive Mustangs tooling costs”.

  3. Jofes2 Avatar
    Jofes2

    Honda had some really bad luck when trying to name what later became the Jazz/Fit in 2001. It wasn’t discovered at all until posters and brochures arrived at the Swedish marketing department for translation. Let’s just say it didn’t help that the model was advertised as “small on the outside, but spacious once you get in” and “a daily pleasure.”
    Removing the last two letters was enough for the US market, but for Europe they decided to start from scratch just to be sure. It’s said to have cost Honda several million euro.
    http://www.gocompare.com/coveredcontent/coveredimages/154731/jazz.png

    1. nanoop Avatar

      Didn’t completely succeed, in Norwegian forums the original name is sometimes used as a nickname – but marketing-wise, that’s still better than the original idea…

  4. Lokki Avatar
    Lokki

    When I lived in Japan I desperately wanted a Nissan Cherry, but they were hard to find. Most of them turned out to be used.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c7620a63f9e34399208c0644f31fc84bd236040a0bb0f09cef720e9aefc79f0d.jpg

    1. Alff Avatar
      Alff

      That one looks like it’s held up well.

      1. cap'n fast Avatar
        cap’n fast

        well, after it was used it was given a hot bath and as everyone knows a hot bath puts the cherry back in everyone.

  5. Papa Van Twee Avatar
    Papa Van Twee

    I always thought the Pontiac LeMans (not knowing about the race as a young teen) was kinda funny because we learned that one of the lady parts in heath class was called the “Mons Venus” and thought, “heh, the mons!” Now we have a race called LeMons. Now, I hope that is all YOU think about, too.

  6. Lokki Avatar
    Lokki

    For just plain offensiveness to English-speaking listening ears I think the Ssangyong Rexton is high on the list, even if it IS Mercedes based and not that bad looking.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/68dd29e2380be53ea44cf19d307b7415584c197ecade49ea7c93a483922dbb12.jpg
    http://www.ranker.com/review/ssangyong-rexton/2081314

    1. Hillman_Hunter Avatar
      Hillman_Hunter

      But Ssangyong means ‘Double Dragon’. How unintentionally cool is that? However, I’d argue that ‘Korando’ is worse than Rexton. Makes me think of Komodo Dragons.

      1. dukeisduke Avatar
        dukeisduke

        “There he is, your Komodo Dragon, one of seven, in the world…”

    2. 1slowvw Avatar
      1slowvw

      No word of a lie. I was raised in a town called Rexton.
      If the car is anything like the town it will underwhelm you with its mediocrity.

  7. dukeisduke Avatar
    dukeisduke

    Somewhere in the house I still have (if I could find it) a 1/43 scale diecast Rivolta, silver, with jewel headlights.

  8. tonyola Avatar
    tonyola

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8717d2be6601cddb874b0aab6e3188950b1a730418c76ab58493091a2dc358c4.jpg Buick Wildcat. By the turn of the 1970s, this supposedly ferocious feline had grown into a fat and lazy Garfield.

    1. Rover 1 Avatar
      Rover 1

      But still a good looking one?

  9. CraigSu Avatar
    CraigSu

    1. dr zero Avatar
      dr zero

      The ad didn’t wrok that well, since they spell G-O-G-G-O correctly in the video title.

  10. Alff Avatar
    Alff

    Best family name in the industry … Tata. I can see myself rolling a Tata Indica, shown here in a lovely green. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/615e0d2bbc3c69a7d8560382970c0378c6bb9a6088738b68f0daf871f1414a95.jpg ,

      1. Alff Avatar
        Alff

        Sweater puppies?

        1. cap'n fast Avatar
          cap’n fast

          OOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooo……….

    1. Batshitbox Avatar
      Batshitbox

      The example given is the Rivolta model from the Iso brand, so I’m going with model.

    2. smalleyxb122 Avatar
      smalleyxb122

      I had the same understanding of the question. The question by itself isn’t clear in this distinction, but within the context of the post, Rob was pretty clearly asking for a family name of a car, and not a name of a family car.

    3. 0A5599 Avatar
      0A5599

      A car? I’ve always associated the brand with motorboating.

  11. 0A5599 Avatar
    0A5599

    Maybe not the type of family car you would road trip to Wally World in, but certainly useful for neighborhood errands.
    The Pussycar.
    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-fs6-0uIVNhA/TxUz6706B7I/AAAAAAAAAVk/NCQ2tWSBAhM/s1600/74091–44662250–u196d9.jpg

    1. dead_elvis, inc. Avatar
      dead_elvis, inc.

      Grab ’em while you can!

  12. Batshitbox Avatar
    Batshitbox

    DAF Daffodil. Not just a funny name for a car, but their advertising campaign gave a name to one of the more ridiculously named ’80s bands.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f4ca42b9b9afc642d9adf343221680bf0ff400f8e296934e1a83e55f64dd0846.jpg
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b6da5d47cadb7d1c68ed391ea9536e5d5a740bc08e7524692b31de8e66255dab.jpg

    1. Batshitbox Avatar
      Batshitbox

      My runner up is “Borgward Isabella”, which just sounds like a Disney villain.

    1. dr zero Avatar
      dr zero

      I think that the original motorised Snipe was a development of the Camel, so that makes even less sense!
      https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/de/Sopwith_Snipe.jpg

  13. mdharrell Avatar

    If we’re restricted to family car names, then I’ll go with the Frisky Family Three.
    http://i.ebayimg.com/images/i/151115405087-0-1/s-l1000.jpg

    1. Batshitbox Avatar
      1. JayP Avatar
        JayP

        I knew a gal in college named Missy Cooper.
        She got married to a guy named Clubman Coop.
        Half of this is true.

        1. Fresh-Outta-Nissans Avatar
          Fresh-Outta-Nissans

          I used to work on MINIs. At one point I had two repair orders on my desk.
          The customers’ names were Marie Cooper and Veronique J. Mini.

  14. JayP Avatar
    JayP

    One would think Ford would have researched what the Edge SEL would have conjured up…
    All sorts of names in this one.

  15. 0A5599 Avatar
    0A5599

    Studebaker’s Erskine Six was marketed as The Little Aristocrat, apparently after the youngest member of the famous performing family.
    https://saucedo.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/aristocrats_00.jpg

    1. Alff Avatar
      Alff

      I kinda want it.

  16. AlexG55 Avatar
    AlexG55

    “Autos Hurtu” sounds like a safety warning not the name of a company…
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f4/Hurtu-1924.jpg

  17. AlexG55 Avatar
    AlexG55

    “Autos Hurtu” sounds more like a safety warning than a car company…
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f4/Hurtu-1924.jpg

  18. spotarama Avatar
    spotarama

    here in Australia in the 70s, holden had a model range called the Torana (originally based on the Vauxhall Viva range) and in Melbourne at least that was inextricably linked to a youth detention centre of the same name

    1. outback_ute Avatar
      outback_ute

      Some of the kids in Turana probably ended up there for stealing Toranas

  19. outback_ute Avatar
    outback_ute

    Not family cars, but Japanese van names have had some clangers in the past, eg Homy and Bongo.
    Likewise some European small van names don’t translate too well, eg Jumpy and Bipper.

    1. Sjalabais Avatar
      Sjalabais

      After it had been recommended for its cars here, I watched a shown with a similar problem.
      https://i0.wp.com/www.bubbleblabber.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/archer-s6-e1406667766884.jpg

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