Automotive alphabet soup
There’s not a whole lot to do when sitting in traffic. As my mind begins to wonder and my eyes gaze over a sea on non-precious metal, I start to realize the lunacy of car names. Would I love a Mustang any less had it been called a “Cougar” as the original designers intended? What exactly is a Vitara anyway?
So what’s in a vehicle’s name? It’s just a word or two designed to make me feel something about a car, right? But I now realize that I’m ok with a car company slapping on a badge to tell me how I should feel about its product. I have to drive a BMW 3-Series to know that it’s a great car, but a Dodge Challenger doesn’t even have to move for me to get excited about it. What I’m not so sure about anymore are the class code lettering. The difference between a Toyota Camry LE and XLE, is about $5,000. I know there are different options that come with the upgraded package, but is the lettering really necessary? Are most people going to know that I paid much more just for Toyota to put an “X” on my trunk? After thinking about it, there are very few of these extra letter that have any real meaning, and I can think of only five that even deserve recognition for being any good, or possibly no good at all…
- * GLH – Goes Like Hell
I’m really surprised Chrysler doesn’t resurrect the GLH name for some of its faster cars. Maybe having the initials for “Goes Like Hell” on the back of a Challenger would get a few parent’s groups mad, but all that means is free publicity for Chrysler and drivers who get to feel even more like badasses.
- * GT – Gran Turismo (Grand Touring)
The initials “GT” get slapped on a rear more than a truck stop waitress. A GT car in its purest form is supposed to be a larger sports car that can hold four people in relative comfort while traveling very fast. The best examples are cars like the Ferrari 612 or the suitably named Maserati GranTurismo. But not everyone gets this right… there was nothing large or sporty about the Morris Marina GT.
- * ETC – Eldorado Touring Coupe
At the turn of the century, Cadillac was in the process of changing over from names to letters. The Cadillac Seville became the STS for Seville Touring Sedan, the Catera became the CTS for Catara Touring Sedan, and so on. Unfortunately this doesn’t work so well when it came down to the Eldorado Touring Coupe. Naming the car the ETC probably doesn’t help people feel like their Caddy is individual or special.
- * SS – Super Sport
One much better letter designation scheme that came from General Motor was the Super Sport. Since 1961, Americans stopped associating SS with an evil Nazi force, and instead now know it for evil (in the good way) street-eating Chevys. That’s U-S-A all the way!
- * FQ — F***ing Quick
In the UK the special models for the Mitsubishi Evo don’t try to hide thier nature. FQ is rumored to stand for "F***ing Quick" and that’s f***ing awesome.