11 rather humorous British car names


When it comes to humorous car names, no automaker is an island. History is filled with head-scratching model designations that never should have seen the light of day, and few in the industry have avoided embarrassment at least a time or two. Americans, for instance, are responsible for a marketing hot potato called the Probe. When deciding upon a name for the car, we’re guessing that Ford execs had space exploration in mind. But in most people’s imagination, a Probe is used by a physician, not an astronaut. How uncomfortable are those seats, anyway?

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/03/09/11-humorous-british-car-names


Though I love the Humber Super Snipe, I think the Jowett Jupiter is right up there, especially when you actually see what it looks like!


I had a '70 Fiat 124 Sport coupe that could have qualified for a lot of unprintable names, but I sold it and replaced it with a '72 Fairlady Z (actually 240Z). BTW, did the author ever hear of “My Fair Lady”? You know, “In Hartford, Hereford and Hampshire hurricanes hardly happen”?


The Hereford is named after the county town of Herefordshire or the county itself. This car manufacturer named its models after English counties: Somerset; Devon; Dorset; Cambridge and, Hereford. Who’d have thought that!
The bull is named after the county, too. Well I never!
So, saying that the car was named after a bull is rather like saying: dollars are green; grass is green, therefore dollars are made from grass - or vice versa. This is what we call an incorrect syllogism.
But what do I know, I’m just a better informed Brit, and you’ve just ticked the box marked; ‘parochial Americans who are not the brightest of bears’.


The Chamois is, first and foremost, a species of mountain goat: the car was named after this, not a wet washing cloth.
Like the Hereford, which is a town and county after which the bull was named, then the car.

We’ve thick skins over here, don’t take ourselves too seriously, don’t mind the piss-taking, but you’ve got to understand the cultural background before taking out your semi-automatics.

And, when it comes to clunkers (your word I believe) - people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

Or, better put: “why seeth thou the mote in mine eye and observeth not the beam in thine own?”

Just asking, as you do.

Oh Dear!


At least the British, unlike Americans, named a car after a dog, the “Whippet.” Hell, I’d buy a “Dodge Retriever” truck if it existed.


Though I haven’t completed my investigation I believe we had the animal (cow or bull) the county and then the town. To have the county and the town before the animal is, well bull. But on another note I was at one time the owner (1969) of an “Imp” proudly marketed in America as the Sunbeam Imp. (How shiny) The devil was really built into these cars as one might, while wearing my jammies, I broke down on the vast country roads of California’s Agnews State Mental Health Hospital. The Hospital Police called my father after determining I wasn’t and escaped mental patient. But then again I did buy the Imp.