Shed Aotea For My Bathroom

July 25th, 2011 by Tim Grimley

For Sale. One Owner. New WOF. In Tryphena.

American writer P.J O’Rourke, whose wisdom regular readers (should there be such a thing) will note has been borrowed before for the purpose of getting this column finished, once observed that “There’s a part of the human psyche that’s never satisfied with the chunks of an Archduke at Sarajevo and has to have a World War I.” I’d always thought of this as a rather neat quip, but discovered on Monday that there may be more than a little substance behind the style.

After suffering with a cough for the best part of three months, it was deemed that some form of extraction should be fitted in our bathrooms to help rid the house of the Lake Taupo-esque levels of moisture hanging in the air. But due to that bit of human nature that eschews the simple solution in favour of a major engineering project, I decided that rather than just drilling a hole in the wall, taking a hammer and chisel to absolutely everything and starting from scratch would be a much better idea.

A couple of hours later I found myself in a situation where my entire world was covered in a fine veneer of tile chippings and plaster dust, the toilet was in the shower and the current Mrs Grimley was making a noise in my ear like an enraged walrus. It was only then that a little voice started whispering to me – in much the same way it would have done to certain folk around 1914 – that this may not have been such a good idea.

Still, what’s done is done and I’m now set on an unchangeable path to several evenings and weekends of gib-boarding and plumbing to return things to a state of normality. But looking back I can attribute my Franz Ferdinand moment, when the hammer was first unleashed, to last weekend’s trip to Great Barrier Island. Continue reading “Shed Aotea For My Bathroom” »

Mitsubishi Pajero “3.8L”

December 22nd, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Mitsubishi Pajero “3.8L” television commercial. Directed by Mark Toia

Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed (LWB) 2009 Review

March 12th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham


Now in its fourth generation the Mitsubishi Pajero has established itself as a true bruiser in the 4WD market. Never afraid to roll around in the mud the Pajero has taken top-honours in the Paris-Dakar Rally an epic eleven times (even though its namesake bears little resemblance to the on-road version). But durability and off-road prowess really isn’t enough anymore in a highly competitive market segment. Four-wheel-drives are now expected to offer refinement, fuel-economy and driving dynamics that can compete with increasingly popular crossover vehicles. The Pajero has been face-lifted for 2009, and is ready to go to work. Is the bullyboy still capable of beating off the competition or does off-road muscle still come at the cost of on-road manners?

A quick walk around reveals that although the classic SUV 2-box design has been retained the Pajero has been rounded and modernised but not at the cost of hardy good-looks. Elements of the Mitsubishi corporate face are reflected in the imposing front end dominated by the chrome slats that extend across the front grille. Bespoke front lights transition well into a raised bonnet.  The Pajero’s side panels are rich with feature lines courtesy of thick body-coloured trim.  With the facelift comes new side steps and mud guards. Wide wheel arches house 18-inch rims cloaked in 265/60R18 rubber. Out the back, Mitsubishi has continued with attaching the spare wheel to the swinging tailgate when many competitors now stow it under the body. The spare makes the tailgate heavier to deal with, but it is well secured and only slightly hinders rear-visibility. Overall the Pajero is a top looking 4WD with styling that reflects an awareness of both Mitsubishi’s current design language and its own model bloodlines.

Shift inside and the sharp design work continues with a dashboard that’s symmetrical and well laid out. Durable dark plastics mix together with chrome-like accents in a combination that’s neither too boring nor too busy. The plastics feel hardy, the centre storage bucket is large and deep, but not all storage compartments are well backed with one unable to hide the wires sitting behind it. The centre control stack has a high digital display that has dated looks but has some tricks to impress friends like a digital compass and an elevation reading, alongside trip computer functions.

The Rockford audio system sounds superb, is MP3 capable, has an in-dash 6-disc stacker, and with a rear-mounted subwoofer it’s easy to announce your arrival. Stereo controls take some getting used to but are repeated with steering wheel audio controls. Upholstery is generally soft and comfortable, but the front seats could benefit from greater lateral support. In the rear lays a third row of part-time seating that is pulled up from the floor – it’s an effort to set it up but has sash-seatbelts and is very useful for smaller passengers or children. The Exceed variant has a DVD player for the rear passengers and automatic lights and wipers added to the equipment list.

The Pajero has some smarts, but when the lunch bell rings and its time to get out into the playground, how does it go? Packed under the bonnet is an upgraded version of the 3.2L Direct Injection Common Rail Turbo Diesel power plant. Power has been kicked up from 127kW to 150kW, with torque boosted to 448Nm from 364Nm. Despite the extra power, fuel economy has also been improved with the Pajero only burning 9.2 litres per 100km combined. Towing capacity is still an impressive 3,300kg, though be aware that with the Pajero’s 3-tonne weight, if you pull anything over 1500kg you’ll need a class 2 license.

During acceleration the performance through the 5-speed automatic transmission was fair if not breathtaking. The engine offers healthy doses of mid-range torque, which are too often followed by turbo-lag before the measure is repeated. This makes the Pajero slightly jerky in its power delivery. That said, it’s still easy to drive and can keep up with general urban traffic.

The biggest disappointment from the Pajero motor isn’t in its performance (which is acceptable) but in its volume. The pre-facelift Pajero received stern criticism for this fault and Mitsubishi is quick to point out that cabin soundproofing had been improved for the 2009 model. Unfortunately it’s still too loud under normal driving conditions, when driving alone the quality stereo can drown it out, but with passengers it can be intrusive to conversations. The excessive noise serves to highlight the tranquillity of a rural destination once the engine is stopped, but it does negate the other areas of comfort that Pajero offers. Ride quality is impressive, on the firm side but generally very car-like with only serious dips and bumps being felt in the cabin. While handling is reasonable for a 3-tonne 4WD, the excellent ride quality promises a level of grip that isn’t quite delivered, and therefore care is required not to arrive at a corner 15-20kph faster than the Pajero is comfortable with.  Active stability control mitigates chassis movement, but some body roll can be felt when changing direction.

Leave tarmac behind, hit the trail and any on-road roughness is traded for total mixed-terrain competence. Mitusbishi’s Super Select system makes the changes offering shifts between 2WD (rear) and 4WD high at speeds up to 100kph. Sitting underneath is one of the most comprehensive 4WD packages on the market with four-wheel independent suspension and a monocoque chassis. The Pajero is equipped with (for the acronym lovers) ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Engine Brake Assist Control (EBAC), Active Stability Control (ASC), Active Traction Control (ATC), Hill Hold Assist and a Rear Diff Lock.

The Pajero has a solid chunky feel, but if things go wrong there’s a bevy of airbags prepared for deployment. Side and front dual-stage driver and passenger airbags are fitted, plus curtain airbags.

One of the main criticisms we had with the previous model (read the review here) was the extremely intrusive traction control. This has been fixed in the current model.

There is no doubt the Pajero is an all round tough-guy in the 4WD market and styling is excellent inside and out. Smoother suspension and a more rigid body has sharpened up handling and definitely improved the ride. But the Pajero still has an old school feel, caused largely by a raucous diesel motor and inadequate soundproofing. For this reason it doesn’t feel as road focused as some of its competitors like the Ford Territory or BMW X5. There is no doubt the Pajero’s an accomplished off-roader and while it is a comfortable and usable daily driver, leaving the tarmac is the only way to really reveal its complete value.

Click through to the next page for a list of specifications

Price: $84,990

What we like:

  • Exterior and interior styling
  • Off-road capability
  • Comfortable ride

What we don’t like:

  • Noisy diesel motor
  • Uneven power delivery
  • Could be even more road-focused

Words and Photos, Adam Mamo

Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed (LWB) (2009) — Specifications


Displacement – cc 3,200
Bore and stroke – mm 98.5 x 105.0
Compression ratio 16.0:1
Max power (DIN) (kW/rpm) 150 @ 3,800
Max torque (DIN) (Nm/rpm) 448 @ 2,000
Valves 16
Fuel consumption – l/100km 9.2
CO2 – g/km 240

Dimension / weights

Overall length – mm 4,900
Overall width – mm 1,875
Overall height – mm 1,900
Cargo load space 2nd/3rd row flat (litres VDO) 1,758
Cargo load space 3rd row flat (litres VDO) 1,050
Wheel base – mm 2,780
Track front & rear – mm  1,570
Ground clearance – mm  235
Turning circle – m 11.4
Kerb weight – kg 2,345
Gross vehicle weight – kg 3,030
Towing unbraked – kg 750
Towing braked – kg 3,300
Fuel tank size – litres 88
Fuel type diesel
Approach angle – degree 36.6
Departure angle – degree 25.0
Ramp breakover angle – degree 22.5
Battery 95D23L
Alternator 120amp


5 Speed automatic with sports mode
Super select 4WD with 2 speed transfer
Final gear ratio 3.917
Rear differential lock


Front suspension – double wish bone with coil spring & stabiliser bar
Rear suspension – multi link coil spring with stabiliser bar

Mitsubishi pulls out of Dakar Rally… for good

February 5th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Mitsubishi Dakar Rally

Mitsubishi joins the list of car-makers like Honda, Audi, Porsche, Suzuki and Subaru in pulling out of some form of motorsports because of the global economic crisis. Neither the Mitsubishi Pajeros that won the Dakar Rally twelve times in total (out of 26 attempts), or the diesel Racing Lancer that earned a seventh place in this year’s race, will be seen pounding the sands again any time soon.

The Japanese automaker has ended its factory efforts in order to focus on its core business. Having stamped its authority all over the Dakar after seven consecutive Dakar victories, its presence will be missed come 2010, and will leave a gap for a new champion to fill.

New Mitsubishi Pajero – more performance for less

November 3rd, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Mitsubishi Pajero 09 fq

The new Mitsubishi Pajero has arrived here in NZ and the new model boasts significantly better performance for less fuel.

“The 2009 Pajero’s 3.2L Direct Injection Common Rail Intercooled Turbo Diesel power plant has seen significant improvement over its predecessor,” said MMNZ general manager of marketing and sales Peter Wilkins. It now delivers 18% more power and 23% more torque, yet boasts a 12% reduction in fuel consumption, traveling 100km on just 9.2 litres of diesel.

“At its maximum power, the Euro 4 engine reaches 150kW. Maximum torque is an impressive 448Nm low in the rev range — perfect for towing boats, floats and automobiles weighing up to 3.3 tonnes,” he said.

Other improvements in the 2009 Pajero include significant sound proofing of the cabin on diesel models and new alloy wheels and body coloured wing mirrors and door handles for the GLS. Both diesel and petrol Exceed models gain a DVD entertainment unit for the rear passengers, auto wipers and headlights and a new front grille.

While the long wheelbase petrol and the short wheelbase GLS models are no longer available, the short wheelbase VRXs can still be purchased on a firm order arrangement.

A high-strength monocoque body and ladder frame chassis provides torsional rigidity for off-roading while incorporating impact-absorbing crumple zones to protect occupants and others in the event of a collision.

Further safety features include side and front dual-stage driver and passenger airbags, plus curtain airbags which help protect occupants in the front and rear seats. Active Stability Control across the range mitigates the consequences of over or understeer, keeping the vehicle balanced and on the drivers intended path.

Enhanced by its torsional rigidity and some of the best ground clearance angles in the segment, Mitsubishi’s All Terrain 4WD Technology (MATT) provides Pajero with strong off-road capability. The inclusion of a rear differential lock and hill hold assist aids serious adventurers when the going gets tough.

With 265/60/R18 tyres, the Pajero Exceed will stop from 100km/h in 42m. Braking is by way of large 333mm front ventilated, four calliper disc brakes on the long wheelbase models and 290mm ventilated discs with two piston callipers on the short wheelbase VRX.

These improvements to the new model Pajero should cement it’s reputation as one of New Zealand’s favorite 4WDs.

Mitsubishi Pajero 3.2DI-D Exceed 2007 Review

March 9th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed 2007 fq

It was a dune north of Muriwai and five feet in the air the Pajero, lights ablaze, hung there as if it was caught in a tractor beam. Of course, I already knew the Pajero was tough — a few weeks earlier I was in the passenger seat as we came around a corner on an off-road track that should have been taken at about 5kph. ‘Should’ is all very well in hindsight. It was the unnecessary 40kph extra velocity that rocketed us into the air over a foot-high ridge in the track. We landed, bounced slightly sideways, a container of oil we were carrying jumped out of the boot and into the rear seats, while a large toolbox in the rear slammed against a container of brake fluid, bursting it and spraying the inside of the Pajero. At least three wheels were airborne again, and then we came down hard a final time.

The Pajero was fine. My friend who was driving was winded. I couldn’t turn my neck to the right for a few days.

Before I get an irate call from Mitsubishi wondering why I’m trying to send this nice new Pajero to the great junkyard in the sky, I will confess that it was a generation-one Pajero — a 1989 short wheelbase model that belonged to my then business partner, an absolute lunatic when it came to pushing the limit of his cars.

The Pajero has made a name for itself in off-road circles. It is currently the most successful car to compete in the Dakar Rally (previously the Paris-Dakar Rally) having won eleven times (including the last seven straight) since it first entered in 1983. It first won on its third attempt in 1985.

So what all this serves to highlight is that if you have a need for an off-road vehicle that will carry seven people, the long wheelbase Pajero fits the bill nicely. It has all the facilities you would need to get you through some fairly rugged terrain. It will climb a 35-degree slope in first gear and has 225mm of ground clearance. The gearbox has high range two-wheel drive, high range full-time four-wheel drive, four-wheel drive with the centre diff locked, and a low range four-wheel drive with centre diff lock. The ranges can be shifted (with the exception of the low range) up to 100kph. The rear diff can also be locked in extreme conditions.

Our test mud-plugger is the fourth generation top spec long wheelbase Exceed model in Rose Red with a 3.2-litre diesel engine producing 127kW and 364Nm of torque.

Mud can be amply sprayed by burying the throttle to churn the 265/60R18 tyres through the soft stuff, and if you’re on the road the torque is great for boaties and caravan lovers — 3.3 tonnes can be towed, and a further 100kg placed on the roof rack.

Seven people can enjoy the ride — the third row of seats is conveniently hidden in the rear floor. Short people who don’t belong to a gym will find these an effort to lift — not as easy as the Citroen Picasso I had last week. Once the seats are locked into place all that’s required is to insert the comically large head rests (which obscure pretty much all rearward vision). The seat stowage area then becomes a useful hidden storage box due to the absence of a spare wheel (which is carried in a clasp on the rear of the Pajero). Exterior styling is all angles — it could be built from Lego blocks – but inside is where there are plenty of toys to play with.

The Exceed gets the premium 12-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system with a subwoofer in the boot. This will take six CDs and is MP3-compatible.

A trip computer integrated into the dashboard displays a compass as well as informative graphs from the last four hours, including temperature change, atmospheric pressure, range (kilometres remaining at current average fuel consumption), and elevation.

Reversing sensors, a beautiful full leather interior and steering wheel, power driver’s seat, reclining rear seats, air conditioning vents for all three rows (the second row can also control temperature), and a large sunroof complete the package.

Ultimately the Pajero shows itself to be a good all-round vehicle — rugged enough for the wild stuff, manageable in the city. But it’s really built for people who have a lifestyle property, live in the country, do the odd bit of off-roading to get to their favourite fishing spot, or have a large boat to tow. Its size and manoeuvrability can make it challenging around town — the turning circle is large and the steering ratio has too many turns lock-to-lock. The question remains to be answered whether the more ‘car-like’ driving attitude of vehicles competing in the larger seven-seat SUVs market such as Subaru’s Tribeca force a change in how the Pajero must feel to drive in its fifth generation. Until then it can rightly bask in its enduring off-road reputation.

Price: from $76,990 (diesel Exceed, as tested; $73,990 for petrol V6)

What we like

  • Comfortable seats
  • Leather interior
  • Towing ability
  • Off-road ability

What we don’t like

  • Extremely intrusive traction control (in the end I just left it in 4WD in the wet)
  • Turning circle
  • Steering ratio — too many turns lock-to-lock

Words and photos Darren Cottingham

Model 3.8 V6 GLS 3.8 V6 Exceed 3.2D GLS V3.2D Exceed
Body type – 5 door LWB wagon * * * *
Seating capacity – persons 7 7 7 7
Dual stage air bag (driver, passenger, side, curtain) * * * *
Immobiliser * * * *
Alarm * * * *
3.8-Litre V6 MPI MIVEC * *
3.2-Litre DOHC common rail intercooled turbo diesel * *
EU-STEP 4 * * * *
5 Speed automatic with sports mode * * * *
Super select 4WD with 2 speed transfer * * * *
Diff lock * * * *
Front suspension – double wish bone with coil spring & stabiliser bar * * * *
Rear suspension – multi link coil spring with stabiliser bar * * * *
Front – 17″ disc with 4 piston callipers * * * *
Rear 17″ – disc (drum in) * * * *
Park brake – lever type urethane leather urethane leather
4 Wheel ABS with EBD * * * *
Active Stability Control * * * *
Steering wheel – 4 spoke urethane * *
Steering wheel – 4 spoke leather with audio controls * *
Cruise control on steering wheel * * * *
Transmission shift knob urethane leather urethane leather
Transfer shift knob urethane leather urethane leather
Wheels – 17″ x 7.5″ Alloy with 265/65R17 112H tyres * *
Wheels – 18″ x 7.5″ Alloy with 265/60R18 110H tyres * *
Spare wheel – same as fitted on vehicle * * * *
Aluminium pedals * *
Electric sunroof – slide & tilt * *
Central locking * * * *
Child proof rear doors * * * *
Keyless entry in key x 2 * * * *
Power windows – front & rear doors * * * *
Door inside handle black silver black silver
Door outside handle black body colour black body colour
Laminated windshield glass with sunshade * * * *
Tail gate window glass – tempered with hot wire * * * *
Privacy glass * * * *
Trim material fabric leather fabric leather
Driver’s seat – manual height, tilt, slide adjuster * *
Driver’s seat – power height, tilt, slide adjuster with heater * *
Front passenger seat – manual slide, tilt adjuster * *
Front passenger – power slide, tilt adjuster with heater * *
2nd Row seat with fold, recline & armrest with cupholder * * * *
3rd Row seat (removable) with recline & fold away function * * * *
Front seat head rests – normal type * * * *
2nd Row seat head rests X 3 * * * *
3rd Row seat head rest X 2 * * * *
Front seat belt – 3 point with ELR X 2, pretensioner & adjustable anchor * * * *
2nd Row seat belt – 3 point with ELR & ALR X 2, 3 point belt with ELR X 1 * * * *
3rd Row seat belt – 3 point with ELR X 2 * * * *
Glovebox with key cylinder & lamp * * * *
Floor console * * * *
Front door trim – formed type with armrest & door pocket * * * *
Rear door trim – formed type with armrest * * * *
Door trim material cloth leather cloth leather
Tailgate door pocket with lid * * * *
Tonneau cover * * * *
Front bumper – body coloured * * * *
Rear bumper with black protector * *
Rear bumper – body coloured * *
Rear bumper step plate * * * *
Rear deflector * *
Assist strap 6 6 6 6
Coat hanger X 2 * * * *
Driver vanity mirror with lid * *
Driver vanity mirror with lamp & lid * *
Passenger vanity mirror with lid * *
Passenger vanity mirror with lamp & lid * *
Door mirror – black, electric control with fold flat * *
Door mirror – colour key, electric control with approach lights & hot wire * *
Side step * *
Foot rest * * * *
Front & rear mud flap * * * *
Roof rail silver silver silver silver
ISO-FIX for rear seat X 2 * * * *
Tether anchor X 3 * * * *
Air con (full auto) * *
Air con (full auto) & rear air con (manual) * *
Rear heater duct (for 2nd seat) * *
Rear heater duct (for 2nd & 3rd seats) * *
Rear A/C control panel * *
Headlamps halogen discharge halogen discharge
Headlamp levelling device (auto) * *
Side turn lamp on door mirror * *
Front fog lamp * *
Rear fog lamp * * * *
High-mount stop lamp on rear door * * * *
Front room lamp * * * *
Rear room lamp * * * *
Cargo lamp * * * *
Front and rear foot lamp (both sides) * * * *
Rear foot lamp on console * * * *
Windshield wiper with variable intermittent * * * *
Rear window wiper & washer with intermittent * * * *
Headlamp washer * *
Rheostat * * * *
Analogue speedometer (KM/H) * * * *
Tachometer * * * *
Trip meter * * * *
Door ajar indicator * * * *
Auto position indicator * * * *
4WD indicator * * * *
Cruise control indicator * * * *
Diff lock indicator * * * *
Lighting monitor warning * * * *
Seat belt warning lamp & buzzer (driver only) * * * *
AM/FM Radio single in dash CD MP3 * *
AM/FM Radio 6-disc in dash CD changer MP3 – Rockford Fosgate * *
Speakers 6 12 6 12
Back warning system * *
Cigar lighter on instrument panel * * * *
Console box accessory socket * * * *
Instrument panel accessory socket * * * *
displacement – cc 3828 3828 3200 3200
bore and stroke 95.0mm X 90.0mm 95.0mm X 90.0mm 98.5mm X 105.0mm 98.5mm X 105.0mm
compression ratio 9.8:1 9.8:1 17.0:1 17.0:1
max power (DIN) (kW/rpm) 184 @ 6000 184 @ 6000 127 @ 3800 127 @ 3800
max torque (DIN) (Nm/rpm) 329 @ 2750 329 @ 2750 364 @ 2000 364 @ 2000
valves 24 24 16 16
fuel consumption – l/100km 13.5 13.5 10.5 10.5
CO2 – g/km 322 322 278 278
Gear ratio 1st 3.789 3.789 3.789 3.789
2nd 2.057 2.057 2.057 2.057
3rd 1.421 1.421 1.421 1.421
4th 1.000 1.000 1.000 1.000
5th 0.731 0.731 0.731 0.731
rev 3.865 3.865 3.865 3.865
final 3.917 3.917 3.917 3.917
transfer ratio high 1.000 1.000 1.000 1.000
transfer ratio low 1.900 1.900 1.900 1.900
overall length – mm 4,900 4,900 4,900 4,900
overall width – mm 1,875 1,875 1,875 1,875
overall height – mm 1,900 1,900 1,900 1,900
cargo load space 2nd/3rd row flat (litres VDO) 1,789 1,758 1,789 1,758
cargo load space 3rd row flat (litres VDO) 1,081 1,050 1,050 1,081
wheel base – mm 2,780 2,780 2,780 2,780
track front – mm 1,570 1,570 1,570 1,570
track rear – mm 1,570 1,570 1,570 1,570
ground clearance – mm 225 225 225 225
turning circle – m 11.4 11.4 11.4 11.4
kerb weight – kg 2,175 2,225 2,260 2,310
gross vehicle weight – kg 2,920 2,920 3,030 3,030
towing unbraked – kg 750 750 750 750
towing braked – kg 3,300 3,300 3,300 3,300
fuel tank size – litres 88 88 88 88
fuel type regular unleaded regular unleaded diesel diesel
departure angle – degree 25.0 25.0 25.0 25.0
approach angle – degree 36.6 36.6 36.6 36.6
ramp breakover angle – degree 22.5 22.5 22.5 22.5
battery 75D23L 75D23L 95D23L 95D23L
alternator 120amp 120amp 120amp 120amp

A Subaru WRX STI Version 8 Type-RA Spec C by any other name would drive as sweet

July 13th, 2007 by Darren Cottingham

Names of cars can achieve mythical status, and this is why teams of branding people spend millions of dollars ensuring that names like the Nissan Cedric happen as infrequently as possible. But, they do slip through, either as a result of a poor translation or a looming home-time deadline on a Friday afternoon.

Car names evoke emotions, and emotions invoke opening your wallet. So, before you’re suckered in, check out these tricks:

Car names as animals and birds

There will never be a Ford Wombat. No, it must be deadly, like the Shelby Cobra or Dodge Viper; stealthy but swift, like the Ford Puma; elegant and graceful like the Triumph Stag; efficient and ruthless killers like the Ford Falcon or Plymouth Barracuda; or it can be a prey animal as long as it’s in a noble, workmanlike, industrious way, like the Hyundai Pony, Dodge Ram, and Volkswagen Beetle.

Car names as places

Giving a car a desirable place name gives it added credibility, even if the car is bad (that means you, Hyundai Santa Fe and Pontiac/Opel Le Mans). The Americans love naming their cars after places¦usually their own places seeing as the vast majority of them only know about other countries if they’re at war with them. So, the Shelby Daytona Coupe, Pontiac Bonneville, Dodge Dakota and Chevrolet Tahoe all fit the bill.

Car names as mythical creatures

TVR do a good line in dredging up names from Greek mythology — Cerbera and Chimera, for example — but other manufacturers have also dabbled, such as the Renault Clio (Muse of History) and the various incarnations of the Phaeton (son of Helios and the Sun). They’re not making any more mythology, though, so the number of names is limited.

People’s names on cars

This one has a mixed track record. At one end we have the Ferraris (Enzo and Dino), and at the other we have the aforementioned Cedric and the Ford Edsel. Nissan kept the trend alive with the Silvia, and the Serena. It’s probably best to steer clear of names, especially ones like Rupert and Hitler.

Names in other languages

As most of the major car manufacturers are from non-English-speaking countries it’s hardly surprising that many names derive from other languages such as Lupo (wolf), Viva (alive), Astra (stars) and Ignis (fire).

Numbers, series and classes

Probably the safest, and the ultimate cop out, is to use a series of numbers or classes. Mercedes has an enormous range of classes — A-class, B-class, C-class, CLK-class, CLS-class, E-class, GL-class, M-class, R-class, S-class, SL-class and SLK-class, not to mention the AMG-tuned range. BMW has its 1-series, 3-series, 5-series, 6-series, 7-series, M-series, X-series and Z-series, and then there’s the crossover with the Z4M¦confusing! Peugeot has a monopoly on numbers with a zero in the middle, after objecting to Porsche’s use of 901-909 (hence the birth of the 911). But, they did not challenge Ferrari over their 208GT4 and 308GT4, and they would most likely leave 007 alone.

There are also overused letters — GT, RS, R, GTR, L, LX, T, etc. Adding a letter on the end often means you get one or two extra features, but it now seems more sporty or luxurious in your mind.

Names that are ridiculously long

With the plethora of initials and names, we’re presented with names that are so long that by the time you’ve finished reciting them you’ve forgotten how you started. Peugeot’s 206 GTI 180 has nine syllables without the manufacturer’s name, and don’t even go there with Subaru and Mitsubishi’s rally weapons, or anything tuned by a third party like Nismo, Alpina, Rinnspeed, Techart or Brabus.

Invented names

Jackaroo, Korando, Ceed, Impreza, Exige, Hiace, Legnum. Would an infinite number of monkeys on typewriters come up with some of these? Probably not.

Names that should never have been

A Hummer is English slang for flatulence, Pajero is often used in Mexico to mean ‘one who pleasures himself’, and Toyota’s Enima is far too close to enema. But, the popular urban legend around Chevy’s Nova meaning ‘does not go’ in Spanish is not true.

Real words

Discovery, Polo, Legacy, Commodore, Accord, Laser. Well, let’s just thumb through a dictionary until something pops up. There’s always the problem of trademark infringement or accidentally picking a name that has a non-competing undesirable product though, so prep those intellectual property lawyers!

So, you can always modify a real word slightly: Integra, Multipla, Agila, Previa, Octavia. Shove an a on the end of a word, and you’re on your way.

Are all the cool names used?,

Well, if you want to get the .com of your new car name, you’d better be prepared to make up something wacky. The more history we have, the less opportunity there is for cool new names, but the more opportunity there is for resurrecting evocative older names. With global markets naming is more complex than ever, so suddenly those numbers and codes look mighty attractive.

Words Darren Cottingham

Real words

Discovery, Polo, Legacy, Commodore, Accord, Accord, Laser. Well, let’s just thumb through a dictionary until something pops up. There’s always the problem of trademark infringement or accidentally picking a name that has a non-competing undesirable product though, so prep those intellectual property lawyers!

So, you can always modify a real word slightly: Integra, Multipla, Agila, Previa, Octavia. Shove an a on the end of a word, and you’re on your way.

Are all the cool names used?

Well, if you want to get the .com of your new car name, you’d better be prepared to make up something wacky. The more history we have, the less opportunity there is for cool new names, but the more opportunity there is for resurrecting evocative older names. With global markets naming is more complex than ever, so suddenly those numbers and codes look mighty attractive.

Words Darren Cottingham,

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