This week’s blog on the history of cars looks at cars with place names. Before you say… ‘but you only have six cars listed, there were loads with place names’…we are going to make this Part 1 of a series for the very reason that there are so many cars named after places on our planet, so this will be the first of several such blogs. And again, we are using images from our stock image library. So buckle up and read on…
Produced between 1956-1970, the Volvo Amazon started life in a somewhat uncertain manner. Hardly had there been time to announce the new model’s name than the controversy started. The original intended name ‘Amason’ with an ‘s’ made reference to Greek mythology in which the amazons were fierce female warriors who fought with bow and arrow. Unfortunately the German motorcycle manufacturer Kreidler had just registered this name for one of their products, and Volvo were permitted to use this name only in the car’s home country. The model nomenclature was therefore changed to the 120-series which stuck with the car for many years, proving to be a very popular model around the world.
Basking in the unrivalled heritage of Volkswagen campervans stretching back almost 60 years, the California borrows its name from the land of sun, sea and surf. Being Volkswagen’s first fully factory-designed and manufactured campervan where previously these were aftermarket modifications, this makes VW the only vehicle manufacturer to produce its own campervan. California production started in 2005 and was introduced to the UK in late 2006. The new California made its public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2009 and arrived in UK showrooms early in 2010.
Ford’s intention with the Capri was to replicate the success of the American Ford Mustang by producing a kind of European pony car. Mechanically based on the Cortina, the car was named Colt during development, no doubt in an attempt to position it in the market as the Mustang’s smaller brother. The Capri was launched in January 1969 at the Brussels Motor Show and marketed as ‘the car you always promised yourself’, and taking its name from the Mediterranean isle of Capri, it was unashamedly aimed at a style-conscious generation. In its 18-year life, the Capri was powered by a variety of engines including 1.3-, 1.6- and 2.0-litre four-cylinder units, and a 3-litre V6, catering for all tastes while optional custom packs allowed a high degree of personal customising. The Capri appeared in TV shows such as Minder and The Professionals and had sold nearly two million units by the time production ended in 1986.
Alfa Romeo Montreal
Nuccio Bertone, one of Italy’s foremost automotive designers, was commissioned to create an Alfa Romeo for the 1967 Montreal World Fair in Canada. The show’s theme, ‘Man and His World’, was reflected in Bertone’s creation, which at the time of the show was nameless. Created to encapsulate the aspirations of the driver for whom the automobile was the ultimate expression of modernity and passion, the Montreal as it was dubbed by the enthusiastic public, was a combination of both power and elegance. The 2+2 coupé was powered by a race-bred V8 engine, while elegant slatted headlight shelters covered just the upper half of the light, and these would swivel downwards when the lights were turned on. The power bulge on the bonnet featured a cosmetic NACA duct, while the rest of the body was graced with balance and style, a true masterpiece.
Hyundai Sante Fe
The Santa Fe was Hyundai’s first foray in the SUV segment when it was launched in 2001. Capable of carrying seven passengers in total comfort, the seven seat all-new Santa Fe crossed the boundary between full-size people carrier and Sports Utility Vehicle, offering practicality with off-road versatility. Its name is derived from Santa Fe, the capital city of New Mexico, and set a milestone in the company’s history when it became the manufacturer’s best selling model. Seen here is the second generation model on launch in Spain, 9 March 2006.
The Westminster line was produced by the Austin Motor Company as the A90, A95, A99, A105, and A110 between the years 1954 and 1968. The A90 Six Westminster was introduced at the ‘54 London Motor Show and had a reputation as a solid, dependable family saloon. In 1956 the stylish two-tone A95 was introduced and this was followed in 1959 by the Pininfarina-designed A99 model featuring the 2.9-litre engine as used in the Austin Healey. In 1961 the A110 Westminster arrived with its longer wheelbase and was the popular choice of company directors, bank managers and politicians. This was no doubt helped by its reference to the United Kingdom’s centre of power.