QotW: What’s the best model name?

The Japanese are known for colorful uses of the English language when it comes to christening their cars. There’s seductive women’s names like Silvia and Gloria, word salads like the Isuzu Wizard Alive and Honda Life Dunk, and perfectly chosen appellations like Skyline and Crown. So it’s about time we asked:

What’s the best model name?

Now keep in mind we’ll be asking about the worst model name next week, but for now think back to 1967. Nothing quite screamed “future” like the world’s first dual-rotor motor and the jet-like body it was ensconced in. What moniker could live up to this space-age rocket? The Mazda Cosmo Sport, that’s what.

What say you, dear reader? As always, the most entertaining, well-written, or inspiring comment by next Monday will receive a random JDM toy. Click through to see the winner from last week’s question, “What’s the most beautiful OEM color?” 

As always we received many good comments but like the Highlander (the movie, not the Toyota SUV) there can be only one. And that one is is Ryan, who spaketh:

Chartreuse, perhaps better known as Datsun 112 Yellow. Is there anything else that screams “1970s” more than the elegant lines of a 240Z, adorned with the most neck-snapping, controversial, love it or hate it lime green you’d ever have seen at the time?

It’s hard to spell, impossible to pronounce and absolutely nothing else comes close.

Omedetou, sir! Your prize from the JNC gashapon is a Choro-Q Toyota Starlet that’s both an interesting name and a neck-snapping color.


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36 Responses to QotW: What’s the best model name?

  1. Jenkins says:

    Mitsubishi Starion. For a number of reasons

  2. dankan says:

    Suzuki Mighty Boy!


    A kei pick-up with a glass hatch over the load bay that makes it look like the dwarf offspring of a Porsche 944 mating with a Ford Pinto. The name is oxymoronically brilliant.

  3. Benjamin says:

    Toyota Hilux Surf Wagon! So-Cal brah wearing Oakleys behind the wheel, the windows of the fiberglass top covered in Jimmy’Z, T&C, and Sex Wax stickers carefully chosen to compliment the bitchin’ factory stripes, and a styrofoam cooler full of Budweiser cans hidden under wetsuits in the backseat. LOCALS ONLY!

  4. Mahlon says:

    My top pick is the Isuzu Bellett 1600 GT-R, the first of many cars to ever be dignified from the pack with a “GT-R” insignia. I couldn’t find any meanings to the name Bellett, but it sure sounds pretty sexy and French.

    • Toy_yoda says:

      Via Wikapedia…

      The name “Bellett” was supposedly to represent “a smaller Bellel”, a larger car built by the company.

      The Isuzu Bellel was an compact manufactured by Isuzu Motors Ltd. in Japan from 1961 to 1966. It was the company’s first independent design, and also Japan’s first passenger car with a diesel engine. It was available as a 4-door sedan and a 4-door station wagon, called the Bellel Express. The name “Bellel” resulted from combining the English word “bell” with the Roman numeral “L”, equalling 50, and thus the name was supposed to represent “fifty Bells” (Isuzu literally means “fifty bells” in Japanese).

  5. Camshaft says:

    If you’re looking for a name that sounds triumphant, proud, evocative, and is just fun to say…it’s hard to beat Skyline. I dare you to find a focus group that disagrees.

    • jivecom says:

      I think most focus groups would disagree, since skylines (as in the view of a city’s buildings) are not triumphant, proud, or evocative of anything, and focus groups are usually full of idiots who think nobody wants manual transmissions. Fair to them though, the name only has those connotations because of the success of the cars it was given to. None of those things belong to the name alone. That’s true of most car names though. F40 on its own is just alphabet soup, as is M3 (M3 could also be a motorway in GB).

      • Kuroneko says:

        Except of course, a skyline is a road that climbs to the sky, taking in curves and magnificent views as it goes… At least in the home country. Neko.

  6. E-AT_me says:

    I’m sorry, i know this is a car board, but to be honest, i think Honda had it right with “Dream” series for their motorcycles.. Talk about depth. The name alone makes me want to “Dream” where one could take me. It really inspires you to think and to just ride. It just shows that they really had passion when they were released. I can’t think of a name for any JNC that could equal it for me.

  7. Nigel says:

    Sometimes when Galaxy Express 999 stops close to earth.
    Emereldas and I go for a drive in my, Mitsubishi Delica Space Gear…

  8. Chad says:

    It may not be the best name but it really make you say what the hell. What a great name for a commercial truck. the Mitsubishi Canter Guts. make me think of fish heads and guts falling of of the back as it rolls up to the fish maket.

  9. jivecom says:

    I’m partial to the hilarious sporty kei car names. Off the top of my head I nominate the Daihatsu Terios Kid AERO DOWN CUSTOM X! (caps definitely necessary).
    A less silly name that’s good (though still a little kei car) is the Honda City TURBO II SUPER! (again caps necessary). A lot of these weird sporty kei/small car names just look like they need to be shouted, don’t you think? Nissan March SUPERTURBO! etc. They probably sound a lot more majestic in Japanese though

  10. Joey says:

    The Daiihatsu Charade. It is a fitting name.

  11. Lucien says:

    Mazda Eunos Cosmo. It’s so impossibly, preposterously exotic sounding. It sounds more appropriate for the name of an exploration vehicle sent to Prometheus to collect specimens of black goo. It’s not all false advertising though, the Cosmo had some truly awesome retro-futurist stuff packed into it’s otherwordly cabin. A touch-screen color CRT display?! That’s just early 1990s Miami-drug-dealer porn right there.

  12. Tyler says:

    Suzuki Every Joy Pop Turbo perfectly captures Japan’s quirky, even bizarre culture. Japan is exceptional at stringing random, unrelated English words together and I can’t think of a better example. And it’s a turbo kei van, no less! How could it get any better?

    • dankan says:

      I think that beats my Suzuki Mighty Boy nomination. That name is ridiculous on all levels.

      • Tyler says:

        Combining my name with your truck would be an unbeatable combination. The only things that could make it better would be a mid-mounted boxer and AWD. 😀

  13. A187Apilot says:

    Mitsubishi Stallion/Starion that’s the name.

  14. Nate says:

    In 1958, Katsuji Kawamata (then president of Nissan) came to America and saw the Broadway play “My Fair Lady”. He highly enjoyed it because not only was it a wonderful play, but because it reminded him of many things of value in the Japanese culture, such as beauty, art and philosophy. That lead him to name the next Datsun imported to America (the SPL212) the “Fairlady”. Thus beginning a serious working relationship with Yutaka Katayama that would eventually produce the 240Z. One of the, (if not THE) most important Japanese cars to reach these shores. The “Fairlady” moniker may have been dropped in this country by then, but it lives on to this day in the land of the rising sun, thus making it the most important (read “best) model name in Japanese nostalgia.

  15. cesariojpn says:

    Daihatsu Midget and Midget II. A fitting name for a kei car that can do many things in such a small body.

  16. Ryan says:

    Not a car name, or even a model name, but just thought someone might like it.

    Deus ex Machina; literally ‘God from the Machine’. I think the name is perfect.


    Some of the coolest bikes I’ve ever seen too. Would love to build a car some day in this same vein.

  17. Kev says:

    Mazda Bongo Friendee.

    Because it’s friend(ee).

  18. Bobby C says:

    From the far reaches of the galaxy come five awesome robots! They roam the depths of space challenging the automotive consciousness. Their purpose: to band together to form a turbocharged GT sports car. Their mission: to defeat solid axle American pony cars and overpriced Euro sports sedans. These five brave robots combine together to form a super robot whose name is feared throughout the cosmos : MITSUBISHI STARION!

    My 80s childhood was filled with Japanese imports, chief among them Japanese cartoons like Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, Japanese toys like Shogun Warriors and Transformers and Japanese cars like my Dad’s Mazda RX-7 GSL-SE. I now have my own Japanese classic in the form of a 1989 Chrysler Conquest TSi née Mitsubishi STARION! I can think of no other car that looks or sounds more like the Japanese robot 80s, than the STARION!

  19. F3ARED says:

    *drumroll* ….Isuzu Bighorn.

    Just TRY and tell me you dont giggle like a high school kid and picture something completely different to a boxy if capable 4×4.

  20. James says:

    The best name ever is the Nissan Homy van. Suitable cos it can fit all your homies in it!

  21. Kev says:

    Nissan Leopard J. Ferie

    Because cars really should have middle names, yes?

  22. Kelly says:

    Haha these are great. I’m going to have to go with Pajero.. Pretty bold to give a car a Spanish name; realize it translates to “wanker”; and then continue producing it for years under that name anyways. Sugoi.

  23. James says:

    Toyota had a clever concept that involved naming primary cars based on the crown.
    First off obviously is the Toyota Crown, Corona is the latin word for crown, Corolla is also latin, meaning small crown and Camry which is the Anglicized pronunciation of crown is Japanese, Kanmuri .

  24. James Eades says:

    The best model name ever, by far is the Volkswagen Thing. It comes from a time where americans were not as imaginative as they are today.

    It sums up how nicknames for cars can stick from concept to production. Unless someone actually thought it was a good idea to call it the Thing…

    • John says:

      But sadly, it’s German, so… 😉

      And it’s original name “Kübelwagen” is even awesomer. And roughly translates to “bucket seat car”. Now THAT is a name… 🙂

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