There was nothing even slightly swoopy or jet-like about the Hudson Jet, or the rest of these oxymoronic automobiles…

Few things in the development of a new car are more crucial than the name.

In the case of a bland or mediocre car, it’s the last chance the marketers have to generate some buzz. That may well be why some of the most ordinary cars have wound up with some of the fiercest and flashiest names. Here are five inappropriately named cars:

RS Chevy_Sprint_1991

1. Chevrolet Sprint

The Sprint was built by Suzuki for Chevrolet. Powered by a rather anemic three-cylinder engine, its acceleration off the line resembled not so much a sprint but more of a drunken stumble. Its Suzuki-badged counterpart was known by an equally inappropriate name, the Swift.

RS 77_Bobcat

2. Mercury Bobcat

A bobcat is a rather fierce North American wild cat. The Mercury Bobcat, on the other hand, was essentially a fancy Ford Pinto over laden with chrome trim and other options that added on additional pounds, sacrificing what little performance the Pinto possessed. While the feline Bobcat is plentiful in the wild, the Mercury version is all but extinct.

RS 89_Hyundai_Excel_Sedan

3. Hyundai Excel

The Excel was first car sold by Hyundai in the U.S., and given the top-to-bottom excellence of the current Hyundai lineup, it’s probably a car they’d prefer to forget. Other than cheapness, the Excel essentially excelled at nothing — unless someone handed out an award for “crudest interior” or “oddest-smelling plastic.”

RS 1971_AMC_Hornet

4. AMC Hornet

The hornet is one pugnacious insect, and as anyone who has ever been on the wrong side of one can attest, they definitely can sting. With the exception of the rare S/C 360 version from 1971, the AMC Hornet was a pleasant-looking and practical compact sedan/wagon/hatchback without much of a sting.

RS 1954_Hudson_Jet Rex Gray

5. Hudson Jet

Jet planes were on the mind of nearly every car designer and ad man in the U.S. during the 1950s. Fins, bogus jet intakes, jet exhausts and jet hood ornaments found their way onto countless cars from that decade. Curiously, the Jet wasn’t among them. There was nothing even slightly swoopy or jet-like about the Hudson Jet. It was a thoroughly upright and conventional compact from a company that later became part of American Motors.

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 hagerty.ca and you can email rsass [at] hagerty [dot] com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

COMMENTS
POPULAR
TAGS
  • Recent Comments

    • Andrew Ross { Enjoyed your Forest of Bowland in the BMW X5M, particularly the photo of the BMW in front of the main part of Stonyhurst College where... }
    • Davd Randall { Bantam designed the Jeep, not Willy's or Ford. The American military gave the original Bantam prototype to Willys and Ford to copy. There is plenty... }
    • Elliott Parodi { All Escalades come with a 6.2-lilter V8 engine that produces 420 horsepower. A six-speed automatic is the only transmission offered and drives the rear wheels.... }
    • Ev { Alexandra is an excellent journalist. }