Does your car have a name? One that captures its true personality? I’ve named some of mine. After all, boats get names. Why not cars?
By my mid-twenties, I’d already owned two really fun cars: an azure blue Impala convertible and a Corvette Stingray. They were so cool, they didn’t need any other identity.
But for reasons best left unexplained, I sold the Stingray and bought a Ford Pinto. I drove it just like I’d driven the ‘Vette, fast and furious, up and down the freeways and the canyons of Los Angeles. That little car didn’t know it wasn’t sporty. I gave it an identity upgrade and named it Penelope, after the wife of Odysseus, because she had spunk.
Fast forward to the 21st century, when my decades-old Mercedes was on its last wheel. Facing a total overhaul, I opted for a new car. At the time, most new designs looked all the same to me. I wanted something I could easily spot in a crowded parking lot, one that wouldn’t have me trying to unlock a stranger’s car that I’d mistaken for mine. I’d owned some really nice cars by then, and my husband still had his. I only needed a scoot-around-town car. Nothing fancy.
On a fluke, I discovered the Nissan Cube and bought it the same day. I named it Roobix, a play on the name of the guy who invented that other famous cube. Matter of fact, I placed one of his on top the of the little circle of factory-installed shag rug on its dashboard. Roobix is neither sexy nor aerodynamic, but it looks like no other car, and turns out to be one of the most fun cars I’ve ever driven.
The car is so distinctive that it made a CBS News Top 15 list. Okay, so the list was for the World’s Ugliest Cars. But hear me out. It’s small on the outside and big on the inside, which is a neat trick if you ask me. It gets a lot of thumbs up as I drive through the city. It has a gizmo that delivers an array of psychedelic lights inside. And the swirly ceiling has a hot tub vibe, minus the heat and the water.
I’m not the only one who’s ever been inspired to name my ride. Beyonce called her Jag Honeybee. Obama dubbed his car The Beast. Lady Gaga rolled in her Bloody Mary Rolls Royce. In my Samantha Newman Mystery Series, Sam gives her lowly little subcompact the name Ferret for its ability to squeeze into and out of tight spaces.
And, by the way, my Cube isn’t the only car of mine to make that CBS ugliest list. Coming in at #1—Ta DAH!!— the Ford Pinto. Two award-winners! Life is good.
Have you ever given your car a name? We’d love you to share it in the comments below.
Gay Yellen writes the award-winning