I'm a Car, Not a Number

Often still I remember, with one of those little shudders that accompany flashbacks to the early nineties, those Acura commercials that featured the white cartoon dog snapping his fingers and popping his head through the red cartoon sunroof of his Acura and singing, in best Diceman style, “Just…sittin’ here in…my In- teg -ra-a-a-a.”

But the slew of alphanumeric model designations sweeping over luxury…and not so luxury…cars brings me no joy either. Arbitrary, soulless, and derivative while trying to seem unique, they’re representative of everything phony and worthless about buying expensive cars. Don’t get me wrong. Even now, there are still plenty of exciting and worthwhile things about cars. The Nissan Z and the Infiniti G series are some of the most attractive cars ever built. (Though the G seems to be slowly getting ruined since 2004, turning into an aerodynamic potato of some kind.) And yet.

So what do I want, the good old days of the Dart, the Seville, the Alero? Not every ‘real’ name was as good as the greats. Many were campy, pretentious, and absurd. And heaven forbid cars should be named, like sports teams, after traditionally intimidating animals. But there’s something about associating a car with a real word that does something for the soul that a hodgepodge of numbers and letters simply can’t match.