As venomous snakes go, Cobras are wicked cool…

RS Shelby Cobra 428

Shakespeare famously asked, “What’s in a name?”

Frankly, in the automotive world, a hell of a lot. It’s difficult to imagine a Corvette called anything else. Yet, it’s not on my list of cool names because prior to its application to America’s sports car, a corvette was a not-quite-a-destroyer type of small anti-submarine boat. The name only became cool after the Corvette became a success (which didn’t exactly happen overnight). These six car names are just cool.

1. Mercury Marauder

The name conjures up bands of roving barbarians. In addition to providing basic transportation, who wouldn’t want a car that’s also proficient at looting and pillaging?

2. Ferrari 500 Superfast

Even in the early 1960s, using this name took cojones – something that Enzo Ferrari never lacked.

It’s almost over-the-top comical, not unlike Wile E. Coyote’s business card, which listed his occupation as “Super Genius.”

One can only imagine the response of today’s product liability lawyers to this one.

3. Ford Mustang

While the association with the car doesn’t hurt, the name Mustang was cool long before the car debuted in April 1964. Whether it’s the war-winning fighter plane the P-51 Mustang or the wild horse – the car was actually named for the former – it’s just plain cool.

4. Shelby Cobra

As venomous snakes go, Cobras are wicked cool. The whole hood thing, their exotic origins and their highly concentrated venom make your ordinary rattlers and water moccasins seem, well, ordinary. It makes for one of the all-time great hood badges, too.

5. Plymouth Barracuda

As fish go, after the shark, the barracuda is arguably the most badass. Beautifully streamlined, highly aggressive and possessing a mouthful of piranha-like teeth, it’s possibly one of the most evocative names for a performance car ever. And while Mopar fans worship the way later cars were simply called the ’Cuda, we remain fans of the full name.

6. Aston Martin Vanquish

Vanquish is generally defined as follows: To utterly defeat; soundly thrash or beat; to overpower, subjugate or subdue. Enough said.

Rob Sass is the vice-president of content for Hagerty Insurance. Hagerty is the world’s leading specialist provider of classic car and boat insurance. Learn more at

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