“You’re a car, but most of all, what you are, what you’ve become, is a mate…You start to think of it as a person. You start to love it.”
Your first drive in a new car is a lot like a first date: You’ve met the car, you like how it looks—but it hasn’t revealed its true personality yet. In time, you may learn that your car puts up a fuss whenever you drive up a hill or that its modest appearance disguises a powerful engine. As those personality quirks develop, we begin to personify our cars – often going so far as to name them.
We asked a few folks about the nicknames they gave to cars and stories behind them.
Libby: Always room for one more
“My first car was named Libby and she was the best car ever,” said Amanda Lockwood of the 1984 Cutlass Ciera in “the perfect shade of sky blue” that she drove as a teenager in suburban Delaware. Lockwood named Libby after the elderly relative who sold her the car.
“I was the first of my friends to get my driver’s license and Libby needed to be big enough to fit my entire sophomore class!” Libby met that need beautifully with her front bench seat with three seat belts, which meant Lockwood could have two friends ride up front, with room for even more in the backseat. In addition, Lockwood says, Libby was tough and reliable. “Libby never let me down!”
Supabug: Perfect for a road trip
“Supabug” was the name that Meghan Stout dubbed her 2000 Volkswagen Beetle. “Supabug was my favorite car of all time. I came up with the name because it was a fun, zippy car to drive, thanks to the turbo engine. It was a bright silver color and I loved that it had its own flower vase inside and its vanity license plate, SUPABUG.”
Often, the vehicles we drive become emotionally associated with events in our lives.
“I was lucky enough to own Supabug in my 20’s and had a blast driving it, especially since it was very fast,” Stout said. “I would drive it back and forth from Columbus to my family’s home in Connecticut. I loved the long road trips through the hills of Pennsylvania. Listening to good tunes, sunroof open, with my dog Murphy by my side.”
Of course, sometimes a nickname sticks for less flattering reasons.
Cream Beige: a reminder to choose wisely
For Terry Fallon, the inspiration for the nickname of the Chevy Impala he drove in college was its color. “My Chevy Impala was used and it badly needed a paint job. I picked 'Cream Beige' but it looked better on the swatch than it did on my Impala where it was a little, shall we say, 'bright'?”
“A friend of mine laughed when he first saw it and asked, 'What color is that?!'” Fallon said. “He laughed even harder when he heard the answer. But now the car had a name. Surprisingly, the Cream Beige ran great for four years but unfortunately that color never faded.”
Banana Boat: ah, those fond family memories
“When I was a kid, we had an old 1980 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser station wagon that we called the Banana Boat because it was pale yellow and gigantic,” said Wendy Panzner. “I would make my dad drop me off a block from school so I didn’t have to be seen in it.” Masterful move on her dad’s part – embarrassing her without saying a word.