Some cars are so popular and have
been around for so long that they are identified simply by their model
name, no longer needing their brand name to precede them. We talked to
the automakers who manufacture some of the most popular cars in the U.S.
to learn about their history and how they got their names.
First U.S. model year: 1953 Origin of its name: Named after a fast type of warship. Fun fact: Only 300 cars were produced by General Motors in 1953 under the Chevrolet brand. They were all white with a red interior.
First U.S. model year: 1964 Origin of its name:
No one knows for sure, but the most plausible stories are that it was
named after the mustang horse or the P-51 Mustang aircraft in World War
II, both of which were known for their speed. Fun fact: Ford considered Cougar, Torino, Allegro, Avventura and Thunderbird II as names for the car.
First U.S. model year: 1945 (civilian version) Origin of its name:
Originally built as an Army vehicle, some say the name comes from the
slurring of the letters "GP," the military abbreviation for "general
purpose." Others say it was named for the popular Popeye cartoon-strip
character, "Eugene the Jeep." Fun fact: The first
civilian Jeep was the CJ-2A, followed by a long line of CJ Jeeps over
the years, which was replaced with the Wrangler name in 1987.
First U.S. model year: 1969 Origin of its name: A coined word that portrays the radiance of the sun. Fun fact: The name is part of Toyota's tradition of using names derived from the Toyota Crown for sedans.
First U.S. model year: 1970 Origin of its name:
The "Z" was the internal project code name for the sports car at
Nissan, chosen simply because most other letters of the alphabet had
already been used. Fun fact: In Japan, the car was called the "Fairlady Z," while the first Z car sold in the U.S. was the Datsun 240Z.