Zippy the Wonder Car

With a nod to Anna, who started this discussion a couple of days back….

I bought my first car, a Toyota, when I was living in Northfield. I had spent the first winter after leaving school riding my bike out to the Country Kitchen on Highway 19 and didn’t want to do that again.  It was pale blue and got me through several winters before giving up the ghost.  I didn’t name that car; giving a name to a car didn’t even occur to me.

Then I met a woman who called her little car “Zippy the Wonder Car”. To this day I’m not sure why I thought this was so enchanting but I did, so when I purchased my next car (back in the 80s), I decided she should have a name.  She was a Honda Civic and when I discovered that the Italian word for flirt was “civetta”, I was hooked.  I had Civetta for almost 15 years.

I let Child help me name our next car, which made the process a LOT longer. This car was a Saturn Ion and we eventually settled on Ivy.  We usually called her by her whole name – Ivy the Ion.  Not quite as much fun as the Italian word for flirt, but it stuck.

My current car is named Brekke. She’s a Honda Insight and I couldn’t find any “I” names that I really liked.  Brekke is a character from one of my favorite sci fi authors, Anne McCaffrey.  Brekke is one of a few characters on the dragon world of Pern who have the ability to communicate telepathically with ALL dragons, not just her own.  If I were to live on a dragon world, that is an ability I would certainly want.

Have you ever named an inanimate object?

If not, what name would you choose for your current mode of transport?







43 thoughts on “Zippy the Wonder Car”

    1. Do you ever speak to Gray Car? Like when it starts on a really cold morning or makes it up a slippery hill?


  1. Lawrence Durrell wrote about how angry the Greek islanders became at their patron saints when the saints didn’t come across with answers to prayers and petitions. He said he once heard a saint referred to as “that stinking old cuckold in the niche”. I think that is a wonderful name for an inanimate object!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. For some reason I have never named my cars. When I was a kid we had a 1953 Chevy called The Blue Dart”, that pulled our trailer out to Colorado at least three times. Husband had a 60s vintage VW called Betty Lou Ladybug, painted a different color on every side – yin/yang and peace symbols, ladybug…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. We named our first car, a brown ’78 Corolla hatchback, Bullwinkle after we visited Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco and bought a “Save the Chocolate Mousse” bumper sticker that featured a smiling moose that reminded us of Bullwinkle from the old Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon.

    Of course, the next car had to be named Rocky–a light-blue ’83 Tercel Hatchback. When Bullwinkle “died” (was sold) in 1991, we switched to musical names. Our dark-blue ’91 Camry was dubbed “Miles” in honor of the recent passing of Miles Davis. Then in 2001, we bought “Ella” a red Solara (2-door Camry) because Ella Fitzgerald had recently died.

    In 2015 we bought a Toyota Highlander (for travel trailer hauling). Didn’t have a good name at the time, but a few years later we settled on “Duke” to honor Duke Ellington. But also to honor the toughness and durability of that SUV in hauling trailers all over the Southwest US on several trips up and down mountains and fighting 30-40 mph winds on some days. A tip of the hat to John “Duke” Wayne, I guess.

    Chris in O-town

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My younger niece had a RAV4 she named Jerry, after Jerry Garcia. When she sold it, she told a potential buyer about the name and where it came from. Turned out he was a Jerry Garcia fan as well, so it sealed the deal. He bought Jeryy from her.

      Liked by 7 people

  4. I often use a power stretcher on carpet. The tool has a two feet wide head with spiky-looking pins underneath that grab the carpet. The head attaches to tubes that are adjustable to the wall-to-wall size of the room. I’ve enough tubing to reach across 50 feet. When there are kids around, I refer to the tool as Pete The Alligator. The “teeth” on the head are invariably impressive.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I was a roy Rogers band as a kid
    in the late 50s early 60s they gave him an adventure TV show kind of like hopalong Cassidy are rin tin tin and he and Dale Evans caught the bad guys and save the day every week
    their side kick was pat o day and while royAnf dale we’re saving the day on trigger and (what was dale evans horse’ name sounds like the crossword puzzle question from christmas story), at o day rode in a jeep (willy’s i’m pretty sure)named nelliebell

    hang on nelliebell he’d yell driving over rough mountain trails in pursuit of bad guys every week
    I love the show and the jeep and the name and I always had of ambition to get myself a jeep like that
    I finally got one about 20 years ago and EMV 15 years I owned it I probably drove a total of 2000 miles
    never named it really enjoyed it but it wasn’t a part of my family enjoyed because of the fact that the floorboards were rusted through and the wheel base was such that driving down the freeway it would bang bang bang over the Reimer is in the road where are they have a joint in the concrete every 15 feet but you don’t notice driving a car Fuck you can’t help but notice in a vehicle that accentuate every bump to the point that it is a tooth jarring jolt in cadence
    I am a car guy and so all of my cars have been worthy of names however it never occurred to me to name any of them
    vw van fiat convertible buick riverboat big black mercury marquis 2 door
    hot stuff volvo then 20 years of vans and non discript modes of transportation
    i thought of my dear departed honda as rocky
    just because it was but i don’t remember ever talking to it or referring to it by name
    it and i both just showed up everyday and understood our roles

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I don’t name things but I do talk to them.
    The tractor I use for blowing snow has been a champion this winter. I pat her on the fender and thank her. I’ve done that a lot this winter.

    I talk to the theater a lot. Especially at the end of the semester or year. We sit together with just the ghost light on and appreciate what all we’ve accomplished this year.

    OT: I was in the cities last night for the Minneapolis Police Awards banquet. Son got a department award of Merit.
    It was really neat to hear the stories of some of the civilians or officers and the things they’ve done. It was a really nice event.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I don’t recall ever naming inanimate objects, not even my beloved teddy bear or favorite doll when I was a little kid. And I don’t speak to them either. But I’ve always spoken to myself, sometimes out loud, but mostly a quiet internal dialogue. I do speak to my animals, though, not philosophical questions or anything deep, just giving them basic instructions or asking them questions about their needs or wants. I find that both Bernie and Martha are excellent communicators who have no trouble letting me know what they want or don’t want.

    I wonder why it’s common practice to name boats and ships, but not as common to name cars or other modes of transportation?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think over the centuries a lot of superstition and mysterious tales developed concerning boats and ships and the things that happened on sea voyages with weather and whatnot. We haven’t had enough time to develop such superstitions regarding cars, but there are names for trains, as well as tall tales and songs about them.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. That’s an interesting question, PJ. One explanation would arise from the need to keep track of different ships because they operate in a perilous environment and each carries a certain number of souls aboard. If the Pequod sets off on a months-long expedition to hunt whales, many people ashore would want to trace its movements and eventual return.

      Liked by 2 people

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