Hey, What’s Your Car’s Name? | Mississauga & Brampton

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My grandpa called his cars—all of them—Bessie, while my dad called each-and-every one of his junkers Betsy. Turns out, those are two of the most popular names to give your car if you live in North America. I have no idea what my mother called her forest green Buick, or if she did call her/him/it anything. Like ships, cars tend to have female names, and to be referred to as her and by she. Horror maestro Stephen King knew what he was doing when he made one of his villains a 1958 Plymouth Fury named Christine. Have you ever looked at an abandoned classic car cruising around Mississauga, Oakville or Brampton in quite the same way since? 

People have been naming their vehicles for as long as they’ve been driving. It may have something to do with our previous mode of transportation: horses. You wouldn’t dream of climbing on a nameless horse and riding for five hours into the sunset. On your way to a showdown? Better call that ride Trigger to send a message to the competition. In the southern United States, Sally is the most popular car name. I’m pinning it on this song right here. 
 
Eight out of twelve popular car names begin with the letter B, and more women than men name their cars. More than one-fourth of drivers surveyed in the USA think of their car as a girl; women go a step further and see their cars as "baby" girl. I’ve known more than one geek (both genders) who has called their car (no matter what the make) The Tardis, after Doctor Who’s time-machine/spacecraft. Seems plenty of people opt for gender non-specific names in favour of nick-names for beloved Sci Fi characters, horses or cartoon characters. And it’s probably a given that more than one broken-down jalopy has been named (without affection) after an ex. Thirty-six per cent of the 18-34 demographic name their cars. So much for the myth that they’ve given up on driving.  

My first car, a Jeep Grand Cherokee Liberty Laredo (a mouthful in itself) was named Lola LaLiberte. And yes, I did confide in her on many a long drive. Only she knew how many classic rock songs I knew by heart, top volume. Once I settled down, and after Pink, our family SUV was totalled, we made do with Harriet, a dependable little sedan not known for her looks. These days, I’m head over heels in love with Lupe LaLoba, our brand-new Jeep Cherokee. Her Mexican nomenclature is emphasized by a pair of beaded bird ornaments swinging from the rear-view mirror. And apparently, I really like “L” names when it comes to my Jeeps. No one said this stuff made sense!

If you need a little help naming your car, you can always Google baby names. The top human baby names in Canada for 2018 include Aarav and Ada. I’m not feeling either of those for a car, but then names are so very personal. Also hot on the baby name front: Arlo, Maverick and Tucker for boys, and Daisy, Hazel and Juno for girls. To my mind, there’s only one perfect name for this set of wheels, and that’s Waylon.  And while Dodge has some pretty dramatic names built into their SRT vehicles, what do you think the best name for this gal would be? 

Carmakers name each vehicle model they produce, of course, sometimes with comical results. Will we ever forget the uncomfortably-named Ford Probe? Or Renault’s weird little stab at humour, Le Car? Mazda had their seriously-no-one-gets-it Carol Me Lady compact. You can sort of see why people rename their cars and trucks in a more personal way, either to reflect their own culture, self-image or just to forget, if only for a moment, that they are driving a Honda Life Dunk. Give me a Barracuda any day! 

Why do some of us feel compelled to name an inanimate object, as some would heartlessly refer to our cars? For the same reasons we give names to our cottages, homes, guns, guitars and boats: to personalize them, and to feel a closer connection. If you commute every day, spend hours with your Dodge Journey, don’t you want to call her Donna, as in, “The 401 is a real mess today, is it, Donna?” Wait…you don’t talk to your car? You’ve never, guiltily knowing she was overdue for an oil change, or gasping on her last fifty kilometres, patted the dashboard and thanked her for getting you to where you need to go just one more time? It can’t be just me. Is it? Another reason we name our cars is because we’re an aspirational species. A musician I know named his Dodge Charger Elvis. Maybe I named my Jeep Lupe so I’d be inspired to learn more Spanish? We’d love to hear what you’ve named your favourite cars, past and present.   

What is the most frequently nicknamed car?
The already-has-a-cool-name Ford Mustang gets the most nicknames of any car in North America.

Where can I find a list of cool Jeep nicknames?
The coolest Jeep nicknames are right here, on a site that proves once and for all that Jeep lovers are their own special breed. 

Where is Ontario Chrysler located?
Ontario Chrysler is located in Mississauga at 5280 Dixie Road
 

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