By Phil Weir
God knows, those poor sods employed by car manufacturers solely to dream up fresh names for new auto models have long had their work cut out.
As far as nouns and adjectives that ooze, exaggerate and frankly oversell the qualities of vehicles go, all the thesauri in all the world, both English and foreign, have, without a doubt, been ravaged, plundered and well and truly wrung out.
Mustang and jaguar and valiant and vitesse and every other adrenalising word of that ilk in the dictionary were grabbed and slapped on bonnets and boots decades ago.
And when that had come to pass, the motor monicker magic seemed to be gone.
In its place we began to see some absolute howlers rolling up and down the street.
The Hyundai Charade! The Hyundai Naked! The Mitsibushi Active Urban Sandal! The Mitsibushi Lettuce! The Mazda Bongo Friendee! The Mazda Carol Me Lady! The Nissan Homy Super Long! The Nissan Cedric! The Dodge Swinger! The Renault Wind!
In fairness to Western manufacturers, the names generating the highest hoot-power have tended to come out of the Far East and something (nay, everything) is definitely lost in translation.
And a Ford I was travelling behind the other day suggests that at least one Western car maker has hit on a rich seam of new names, which emote feelings of exhilaration and living a top-end fast life and which could still quicken the blood on a visit to a showroom.
The car in question was a Mondeo, but, more specifically, a Mondeo Edge.
This was obviously one of a Ford range of four U2-themed Mondeos, the others being the Mondeo Bono, the Mondeo Adam Clayton, and the Mondeo Larry Mullen Junior.
The Mondeo Bono, for instance, is probably similar to the Mondeo Edge, but has a more compact engine, lower trim and higher tyres, as well as all-round tinted glass.
I’d guess this quartet of buggies also have sound systems that play U2’s entire back catalogue on a neverending, inescapable loop.
And it can only be a matter of time before other auto makers join Ford and jump, crowd-surf-stylee, into the genre.
So stand by for ... coming your way soon ...
The Bentley Bryan Ferry (smooth this, smooth that, smooth the other); the Toyota Tom Waits (an engine that sounds like a bag of old spanners); the Dodge Dolly Parton (two huge headlights, a big rear bumper and wigskin upholstery); the Suzuki Sex Pistol (held together with safety pins); the Mick Jaguar and the Rolls Royce Get Off Of My Silver Cloud (both Rolling Stones themed); the Fiat 500 Miles (Proclaimers ginger paintjob); the Audi Suzi Quattro (the Vorsprung Devilgate Drive Technik will make you come alive); the Lancia Lady Gaga (a basic engine and chassis with 300,000 different cosmetic configurations for the superstructure); or the Honda Hendrix (a unique, upside-down engine).
Of course this naming regime will one day, too, reach the point of exhaustion. And then what? Cars named after Indian meals? Why not.
“What’s that hot-hatch you’re driving there, chief?
“That’s one of them new Vauxhall Vindaloos, innit?
“Me? I’ve just bought a Mini Mango Chutney. Sweet!”