10 Most Ridiculous Car Names Manufacturers Got Away With

Many times, automakers create a new car within an overly saturated class, and to stand out, they give their new model an interesting or weird name. Whilst some of these names work brilliantly, many others get frowned upon or are overlooked due to their obscure designations.
Some manufacturers choose the name for their cars in the early stages of development and stick with it until its launch – like with the upcoming Ferrari Purosangue. Or they make the car and pick a name at the last minute – like with the Alfa Romeo Montreal, which was named after the city, as Alfa Romeo didn’t have a proper name for it. Then we get automakers who, mostly by accident, give their cars names that were not correct for the time, such as the TATA Zica which was to be sold in Brazil during an outbreak of the Zika virus. Luckily, they changed it before the cars were delivered.
Other absolutely ridiculous names come in the form of many letters and numbers in a sequence, such as the Mercedes-AMG GT 63S 4-Door 4Matic+ e-Performance or the BMW Individual M760Li xDrive Model V12 Excellence THE NEXT 100 YEARS. This comes mostly from the Germans who want to be specific, but it is an outrageous way of differentiating between models. Here are 10 ridiculous car names which manufacturers got away with.

11 Daihatsu Naked

Via Wikimedia

The Daihatsu Naked was a Japanese Kei car that was produced between 1999 and 2004. Being a Kei car, it had to adhere to strict regulations regarding engine size, power, and physical dimensions. As a result, it had a 658cc (40 cui) inline-3 engine which produced just 63 hp and was mated to either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic.

Via Wikimedia

The Naked had an interesting name, which was adequate when looking at the styling. It tried to be more off-road orientated, with exposed door hinges and rivets on the side. It emulated the Jeep Wrangler and Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon, however being a Kei car, had no real off-road capability, especially with 63 hp.
Related: Turbo Jet-Powered Daihatsu Mira Is One Of The World’s Fastest Kei Cars

10 Daihatsu Applause

Via Wikimedia

The Daihatsu Applause was nothing to applaud about. It was a dry, uninteresting, and generic compact sedan. It was on sale between 1989 and 2000 and only had one engine option in the form of a naturally aspirated 1.6-liter. The standard transmission was a 5-speed manual, with either a 3- or 4-speed automatic as an option.

Via Wikimedia

The most interesting – and dangerous – aspect of the Applause was that the first-year model had refueling issues due to high air pressure, causing fuel to spurt from the car, resulting in some serious accidents. This was remedied on the 1990 Applause and Daihatsu renamed it the Applause Theta, to highlight the improvement.

9 Renault Le Car

Via: Bring-a-Trailer

The Renault 5 is one of the most successful and iconic French cars in the automotive world, with Renault even busy with a new model. The 5 was never sold in the US due to regulations until it was slightly re-engineered and Renault renamed it, Le Car – which was a mash-up of the French word for ‘the’ and the English word ‘car’. Weird.

Renault LeCar
Renault LeCar – Via Curbside classic

The Le Car dominated the Sports Car Club of America’s ‘Showroom Stock Class C’ with its 1.4-liter inline-4, which produced a whopping 55 hp. Unfortunately, due to ever-increasing regulations, the 1980 Le Car’s power was decreased to only 51 hp.
Related: The Renault 5 GT Turbo: The Forgotten Forefather Of Hot Hatches

8 Isuzu Mysterious Utility Wizard

Via Isuzu

Isuzu has had an interesting time with the naming and renaming of their SUVs. The Isuzu Mysterious Utility Wizard, or just MU Wizard as it is known, was a 2-door and 4-door SUV which was shared with many GM-owned manufacturers. In the US, it was called the Isuzu Rodeo whilst in Europe it was either the Opel or Vauxhall Frontera. Other names included the Amigo, Cameo, Vega, and Frontier.

Via Isuzu

Regardless of the name, the car itself stayed mostly the same and could be bought with a wide range of gasoline and diesel engines from a 2.0-liter i4 to a 3.2-liter V6 and even a 3.1-liter turbodiesel i4. Wherever it was bought, the MU Wizard was a pretty good off-roader, even surviving being cut in half by Jeremy Clarkson.

7 Dodge Dart Swinger

Via: Motorious

The Dodge Dart was and still is one of the most sought-after classic American muscle cars of the early 70s. However, to avoid internal competition between the Dart and Dodge’s new Challenger, Dodge changed and discontinued some options on the Dart and called it the ‘Swinger’. Yeah.

1971 Dodge Dart Swinger 318, front, driving from Hemmings

The top-spec Dart in 1970 was the Swinger 340, which featured the famous twin hood scoops and a 5.6-liter V8, producing 275 hp, and was fitted with power-assisted steering and brakes as standard. It was an awesome car with a name we won’t soon forget.
Related: Redesigned Dodge Dart Is The Modern Muscle Car We Need

6 Great Wall Wingle

Via Haval

The Chinese automotive market is busy catching up to the rest of the world in terms of build quality and capability of their vehicles. Great Wall Motors, for instance, created the Steed – a workhorse pick-up truck in the same class as a Ford Ranger. In China, it is called the Wingle. There have been two facelifts since its introduction in 2006, and the current model is called the Wingle 7.

Via Haval

It is available with a series of engines, starting with a 134 hp 2.4-liter i4, which was later upgraded to a 141 hp 2.0-liter turbodiesel in the Wingle 5 and Wingle 6. The Wingle has the basic body shell from the Isuzu Rodeo pick-up and the steering-wheels from Toyota. Interesting combination for a pick-up truck.

5 Mitsubishi Lettuce

Mitsubishi Minica Lettuce/Dangan ZZ
Via Wikimedia

The Mitsubishi Lettuce was another Kei car introduced as the Minica in 1962 and lasted until 2011. The Lettuce was a version of the Minica introduced in 1989 and had a more rounded design as opposed to the upright and flat designs of the previous models. It was fitted with the world’s first five-valve per cylinder engine in the form of the Dangan ZZwhich produced 40 hp.

Via Wikimedia

Interesting vegetable name aside, the Lettuce was actually a good little car. It competed in the Kei car horsepower wars and could be considered as the Kei equivalent to the Honda Civic Type R. The downside of the Lettuce was the Toppo version, which looked like it came straight out of Bee Movie.

4 Tarpan Honker

Via Top Motor World

The Tarpan Honker was a Polish multi-purpose off-road vehicle built by Daewoo Motors (and many other manufacturers) between 1988 and 2016. It was built as a military vehicle to compete with the Mercedes-Benz Gelandewagen and Land Rover Defender.

Via Wikimedia

Unlike the Gelandewagen and Defender, the Honker was fitted with a 1.5-liter engine producing just 80 hp. However, like the Merc and Land Rover, there were many different versions made, from troop carriers to fire engines and even a long wheelbase 6×6 version.
Related: This Is The New Military-Spec Mercedes-Benz G-Class W464

3 Chevrolet Celebrity

Chevrolet Celebrity ad 1980s
Via GM

The Chevrolet Celebrity was a mid-size sedan built by GM between 1982 and 1990. The Celebrity was slotted between the Citation and the Impala in Chevrolet’s lineup, and it started the change to front-wheel-drive for a quarter of GM products in the 1980s.

Chevrolet celebrity wagon 1986
Via: Hemmings Motor News

The Celebrity was available with a choice of engines, including the 4.3-liter diesel V6 from Oldsmobile. The Celebrity was far from its name in both styling and performance, with the most powerful version only making 130 hp. Chevrolet should’ve named it the Plebian.

2 Proton Putra

Via Wikimedia

The Proton Putra was supposed to be a sporty coupé produced by the Malaysian carmaker, Proton. It was based on the fourth-generation Mitsubishi Mirage Asti Lancer, sharing most of the mechanicals and drivetrain. It was fitted with a 1.8-liter i4 which produced almost 140 hp.

Via Wikimedia

Despite the low power, it had a top speed of almost 140 mph, rivaling much more powerful cars. Reviews for the Putra weren’t all that great, with one reviewer changing the name to ‘Putrid’. Perhaps if they used a Lancer Evo as the base, it would have been a different story.

1 SsangYong Rodius

The front of the original Ssangyong Rodius

Finally, we get to the SsangYong Rodius. It is a large MPV the size of a minivan and is probably the most criticized car in history. Contemporary review noted the poor build quality, handling dynamics, lack of refinement, terrible emissions, awful performance, laughable safety, harsh ride, and unacceptable interior finish. It was praised for its interior space and value for money.

2011 Ssang Yong Rodius
via wheelsage.org

Apart from the ‘Lord of the Road’ naming strategy (yes, really), the Rodius was fitted with Mercedes-Benz engines and transmissions, but that didn’t help the car at all. It has been in the top five list for the ugliest cars ever made since it was introduced, and the comments on its appearance are almost never-ending. Amongst the normal descriptions of ‘challenging’ and ‘abysmal’, there is a quote from the Daily Telegraph which stated that it was “so ugly, it could frighten small children”. Arguably, that was the nicest thing said about it.

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