Cars Named After Places
Since the invention of the automobile, carmakers repeatedly face the challenging task of naming their creations. When done right, a good car name adds cachet: Mustang, Corvette, Wrangler. On the flipside, a bad name falls flat: Probe, Citation, Gremlin. Automakers have named cars after animals, alphanumeric combinations, and things representing movement or strength. Another common practice: naming cars after places. Take a look at each of the following places and guess the make and model of the car named after it.
Let’s start with a relatively contemporary vehicle named after a U.S. place. The model shares its name with two states of the Great Plains, and is also the name of a Native American people. The automaker that manufactured this pickup gets its name from the two brothers who began building cars in Detroit in the early 1900s.
The Car — Dodge Dakota
The Dodge Dakota, also known as the Ram pickup for a time, was manufactured from 1986 through 1996. It was available as a 2-and 4-door pickup as well as a convertible, making it unique in the truck market.
The shortened version of this next location seems to fit the fun small car it names. Known for its annual Carnival celebration and colorful culture, this place is the second-most-populous city in Brazil. The area has amazing cultural and architectural history as well as fantastic beaches — all watched over by the famous Cristo Redentor statue on Corcovado.
The Car — Kia Rio
In production since 1999, the zippy Rio subcompact car manufactured by Korean automaker Kia is already in its fourth generation. Rio’s motive power comes from a 1.6-liter Gamma engine it shares with the Hyundai Venue, which has EPA fuel economy ratings of 33 mpg city / 41 mpg highway.
The next car name has not been used on a General Motors vehicle in a while. The name of this California neighborhood connotes freedom and clear skies — a paradise that the car name attempted to evoke by associating with one of the three Bs of West Los Angeles: Brentwood, Beverley Hills and __ __.
The Car — Chevrolet Bel Air
Produced for the 1958–1981 model years, the Bel Air began as an additional designation of luxury on Chevy models unique in shape or adorned with additional chrome trim. The actual Bel Air model line lasted seven generations in America, and was discontinued when large car sales dropped dramatically in the early 1980s.
This beach in Nice, France, offers a clue to the name of this next vehicle, which is also an American car no longer in production. The car was named for the coastline from France to Italy, and it reflects the sunny, affluent aura of these beachfront communities.
The Car — Buick Riviera
The Riviera is a luxury car manufactured by General Motors from 1963 through 1999 — the only year the car went out of production during that time span was 1994. This 1963 Riviera represents the first year of the independent model line; prior to this the Riviera name had been attached to other GM nameplates designated as premium trim levels.
The next vehicle is an Italian sports car named after the U.S. state associated with sun, sand and surf, which narrows the field to coastal regions. Saying that the state is also most associated with movie making and celebrity might be a couple too many clues.
The Car — Ferrari California
The Ferrari California was manufactured in Italy from 2008 through 2017. Although the name recalls the midcentury 250 GT California Spyder, the California is a thoroughly modern design incorporating a few “firsts” for Ferrari, such as the first retractable hardtop and first front-engine V8 in the lineup.
Sticking with the same automaker for the moment, this next car is named after the Italian word for its country of origin. Sure, it has a few numbers preceding the car’s place name, but we don’t want to give too much away now, do we? (The model years were 2010–2015.)
The Car — Ferrari 458 Italia
The sleek mid-engine Ferrari 458 Italia produces more than 560 horsepower; it replaced the aging F430. The car borrows a few tricks from Formula One, including a prefill function for the brakes; when the driver takes a foot off the gas pedal, the brake pads automatically mover closer to the rotors to minimize delay in brake application.
The next vehicle is another pickup and gets its name from the highest mountain in North America, which resides in the 49th state. This mountain was formerly known by the name given by white settlers: McKinley. Its new designation became officially recognized by the U.S. Department of the Interior in August 2015.
The Car — GMC Denali
General Motors Corporation uses the Denali moniker to designate its top-line pickups and SUVs. There have been Sierra Denalis (pickups), and Yukon Denalis (SUVs) within the GMC brand lineup from the turn of the 21st century to the present day.
The first vehicle from this American manufacturer featured here, the namesake place of this classic car is one used for multiple U.S. cities, connoting fair skies and mountains. The city shown above is at the head of the Monongahela River, and the city’s name is also used for a U.S. hotel chain.
The Car — Ford Fairmont
In production from 1977 through 1983, the Ford Fairmont is a rear-drive compact car based on the Fox platform, originally available as a 2-door sedan, a 4-door sedan or a 5-door wagon. The model line eventually included the Futura 2-door coupe with its distinctively chunky “wrapover” B-pillar.
The next vehicle is the first minivan on this list of place-named cars marketed in the U.S. by a Korean automaker. The vehicle gets its name from a city and area of a state in the Southwest known for the red rock formations pictured here.
The Car — Kia Sedona
Now in its third generation, the Kia Sedona has been around since 1998 and offers seating for up to eight occupants. Sedona has a 3.3-liter fuel-injected V6 engine producing 276 horsepower; standard equipment includes USB ports, Bluetooth streaming capability and alloy wheels.
Named after a ski locale and beautiful blue lake in California, this big American sport-utility vehicle’s place name is also an unincorporated town located on the Truckee River where it meets this place name’s lake.
The Car — Chevrolet Tahoe
The Tahoe is one of Chevrolet’s best-selling, full-size SUVs. Tahoe features three rows of seats, a 5.3-liter V8 engine, and it can tow up to 8,600 pounds — in case anyone needs to get a trailerful of toys to a heavenly mountain or a big, blue lake.
Another large vehicle, this next one hails from across the pond — although not from the country you would think based on the car’s place name; the name comes from a French commune in the Sarthe department of France and also happens to be the name of a long straightaway of the Le Mans racing circuit. The automaker is distinctly British. And this picture provides almost no clues.
The Car — Bentley Mulsanne
Priced in the $350,000 range, the 2020 Bentley Mulsanne recalls the large, powerful Bentleys of yesteryear. Weighing in at almost 3 tons and at more than 18 feet in length, the 2020 model has a 6.75-liter V8 engine generating 530 horsepower and 811 lb-ft of torque; top speed is 190 mph.
Since we are in the area, there is also an American car named after the French town that hosts the 24-hour sports car endurance race every June (or almost every June, as 2020 proves — it’s been postponed until September because of COVID-19). The automaker happens to be named after a place in Michigan, so it is a double whammy — both make and model named after places, oceans apart.
The Car — Pontiac Le Mans
Highly collectible today, the Pontiac Le Mans sold in America from 1962 through 1981 in 2-door coupe and 4-door guises, as well as a station wagon. The model line ran through five generations, and the last lineup included the Le Mans, Grand Le Mans and Grand Am — all available as a coupe, sedan and even (for a time) a wagon known as the Le Mans Safaris.
The next vehicle is an SUV named after the capital of a state in the Southwest, known for its Pueblo-style architecture. A city known for its thriving art community, it is also home to the Georgia O’Keefe Museum. (If you have great eyesight or zoom capabilities, the green street sign in the center of this photograph gives it away.)
The Car — Hyundai Santa Fe
Introduced for the 2001 model year, the Santa Fe has been Hyundai’s most popular SUV. Now in its fourth generation, the Santa Fe is now exclusively a two-row SUV; the three-row version was rebranded as the Santa Fe XL until it was replaced by the current Palisade, which debuted in 2018.
This place happens to be part of a principality known for its wealth, high rollers and as a tax haven for the rich and famous. It’s actually a section of Monaco, and the location of a large casino for which this next vehicle is named.
The Car — Chevrolet Monte Carlo
A 2-door coupe manufactured by Chevrolet between 1969–1987 as well as 1994–2007 for a total of six vehicle generations, the Monte Carlo started as Chevrolet’s version of the Pontiac Grand Prix. The name Monte Carlo riffs off the Pontiac’s moniker evoking style and speed — two things a car really wants to be associated with.
The Washington state port city that gives this next truck its name is home to America’s Car Museum and boasts a thriving community in the shadow of Mt. Rainier. The second largest city in the state, it has a reputation for being ruggedly Northwest and somewhat of a hardscrabble underdog, which might be one reason the automaker chose this name.
The Car — Toyota Tacoma
The rugged, can-do Toyota Tacoma midsize pickup took to American roads with a point to prove about Japan-based pickups, and the Tacoma’s rise to the top of the midsize truck market underscores its namesake city’s mettle. Now in its third generation since 2016, the Tacoma also has the best resale value of any vehicle in America, according to Kelley Blue Book.
This next vehicle, also a midsize pickup, gets its name from a Western state known for its mile-high stadium and rugged, outdoor-oriented individualism. As the gateway to the Rocky Mountains, this place embodies adventure, freedom and a feeling of discovery — all traits a truck name would hope to evoke.
The Car — Chevrolet Colorado
Now in its second generation, the Chevrolet Colorado midsize pickup comes in 2- and 4-door versions in Regular Cab, Extended Cab and Crew Cab body styles. Available with either 2WD or 4WD, the Colorado also has a new ZR2 Bison variant that features full off-road capability along with rugged styling.
Named after a city in Switzerland, this next car was a luxury model from a General Motors brand that had no tangible associations with its place name. The city sits on a large lake also of the same name, a majority of its citizens speak German, and a famous landmark is the 14-century Kapellbrucke, or Chapel Bridge.
The Car — Buick Lucerne
Once the top of the Buick model line, the Lucerne was in production from 2005 to 2011. Harking back to earlier Buicks, the Lucerne has “ventiports” on the front quarter panels — small holes corresponding to the number of engine cylinders. Lucernes with V6 engines have six ports (three per panel) while the V8 has four per panel.
Named after a place that is both a western state and peninsula in Mexico, this vehicle was supposed to recall thoughts of the rugged desert lands that inspired its name. The vehicle, with its unique rear-end, was sold for the 2003–2006 model years and never really caught on with the buying public.
The Car — Subaru Baja
With a name intended to conjure images of the 1000-mile endurance race across the Mexican desert, the Subaru Baja recalls a more BRAT-ty past. The Baja looks a lot like Subaru’s BRAT small truck of the ‘80s — the one with rear-facing plastic jump seats anchored to the bed (an afterthought to avoid a U.S. import tariff on trucks).
This place in California is the namesake for a vehicle currently on sale in the U.S. — a minivan at that. Named after the city halfway between San Francisco and Half Moon Bay, the region is known as a popular surfing destination as well as for its hiking trails with majestic views of the Pacific Ocean.
The Car — Chrysler Pacifica
The first minivan in the U.S. with a hybrid powertrain, the Chrysler Pacifica is available in three main trims: Touring, Touring L and Limited, as well as in a number of limited editions. With a starting base MSRP around $40,000, the Pacifica Hybrid has many standard features and amenities including an 8.4-inch infotainment display.
Sticking with another “quiet little beach community,” the vehicle named after this California place is also meant to evoke surf, sun, sand and a laid-back lifestyle. Beaches along the coast of this famous area include Zuma, Leo Carrillo, Topanga and the environmentally sensitive and controversial Surfrider.
The Car — Chevrolet Malibu
Malibu has been a cornerstone nameplate of the Chevrolet lineup for decades. Beginning life as a trim level of the Chevelle, Malibu is currently a front-drive midsize sedan — one of only two passenger cars left in the Chevrolet portfolio, a result of the proliferation of crossovers and sport-utility vehicles.
Home to the University of Arizona, this city is also home to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and the nearby Saguaro National Park, where the above photo was likely snapped. The vehicle named for this place is a Korean compact crossover sold in the U.S. since the 2005 model year.
The Car — Hyundai Tucson
Now in its third generation, the Hyundai Tucson is a top seller in America for the Korean automaker. With a base MSRP of $23,550, Tucson is available in six trims from the SE to the Ultimate and features a 161-horsepower engine, lane-keeping assist, forward collision avoidance, and Android Auto and Apple Carplay.
This port city in France overlooks the Strait of Dover; on a clear day the White Cliffs of Dover (in England) are visible in the distance. Bombed to the ground during World War II, this French city’s name was used by the luxury division of General Motors to name a new entry-level model in the mid-1960s.
The Car — Cadillac Calais
Sold from 1965 through 1976, the Cadillac Calais was available as a 2-door hardtop, a 2-door coupe and a 4-door hardtop. Redesigned one time during its reign (for the 1971 model year), the Calais was always the economical alternative to the more costly DeVille model line.
Keeping within Europe, this city in northern Italy is business and cultural hub, known after economic expansion post-WWII as the “automobile capital of Italy” as well as the “Detroit of Italy.” (To this day Detroit and this place are sister cities.)`Called Turin by most westerners, the Italian word for the city is the car name.
The Car — Ford Torino
Produced in America between 1968 and 1976, the Torino was Ford’s midsize car built as a 4-door hardtop and 2-door coupe. Ford also created some high-performance Cobra-Jet Engines for Torinos — these cars revived the dwindling muscle car era in the early 1970s. Perhaps the most famous Torino of all: the Gran Torino of the 1970s TV show “Starsky and Hutch.”
The following vehicle, named after an island that is part of a water-bound city in Italy, is built by an automaker being featured on this list for the first time. The island also happens to be known for its glass making, and tourists flock to the Museo del Vetro by the thousands to appreciate and explore the history of glass.
The Car — Nissan Murano
A 5-passenger luxury crossover from Nissan, the Murano and its name are intended to evoke the artful nature of this stylish yet rugged SUV. Murano comes in three trim levels: the S, SV and SL; the latter has a base MSRP of about $40,000 and features a premium interior as well as Nissan Safety Shield 360.
This popular ski resort in Colorado gives two former vehicles of the same automaker their names. The city also is a year-round outdoor recreation hub, and quite popular with celebrities and the well to do, hence the highfalutin’ boutiques that line its downtown core — and exorbitant real estate prices.
The Car — Dodge Aspen
Produced for the 1976–1980 model years, the Dodge Aspen was a compact car (at the time), available as a 4-door sedan and wagon as well as a 2-door coupe. The above OEM press photo reveals a lot about the car in its heyday; the 1976 Aspen Special Edition 2-door coupe featured swanky wire wheel covers and a premium vinyl roof.
The Car — Chrysler Aspen
The second Chrysler vehicle named after the popular Colorado ski locale, the Chrysler Aspen luxury SUV was produced for the 2007–2009 model years. A sibling vehicle to the Dodge Durango SUV, the Aspen features three rows of seating for up to eight occupants, and had available all-wheel drive.
A southern city in Spain’s Andalusia region, this place name evokes a sense of conquest and history since it is home to the Alhambra, an Arab palace and citadel. Perhaps the American automaker that chose to name a car after this place desired customers to think of strength, purpose and permanence.
The Car — Ford Granada
The Granada joined Ford’s U.S. model lineup from 1974 through 1982. The design of the Granada as a new luxury compact model was influenced in part by the impending oil crisis and embargo of the early 1970s. Offered in three trim levels (L, GL and GLX), the second-generation Granada shared many design elements with the aforementioned Ford Fairmont model line.
A town in Wisconsin on the Mississippi River, this next vehicle place name has a bit of a colorful history. Although intended to be a strong vehicle place name and a fine choice for the American market, in Canada this vehicle name has a few off-color meanings that might have put enough nails in the coffin for GM to abandon the moniker in 2019.
The Car — Buick LaCrosse
Although some might argue that this Buick sedan is named after the rough and tumble sport of lacrosse, it also shares its name with the city in Wisconsin. The LaCrosse was in production for model years 2005–2019, and in Canada the car was called the Buick Allure, since lacrosse in French Canadian slang can mean a number of things, including a scam and, ahem, self-pleasuring.
In a bit of redemptive fair play, this next place name has been around for quite some time on one of the GM brand’s full-size pickups. Named after a California historical landmark, this place is located in the Santa Ana mountains and connotes a “strike it rich” feeling.
The Car — Chevrolet Silverado
A longtime member of the Chevrolet model line, the Silverado pickup constantly nips at the heels of the Ford F-Series in an attempt to gain dominance as the best-selling pickup in America. The Silverado is available in many variants, including the Rally Edition, Midnight Edition and Custom Sport HD.
The next car model’s name is a French toponym after a township in New Jersey, and if the horizon in the image above was clear, a famous skyline might provide a clue based on the photographer’s location within the Watchung Mountains. (The defunct American vehicle’s brand got its name from a planet close to the sun.)
The Car — Mercury Montclair
Manufactured from 1955 to 1960 and again from 1964 to 1968, the Montclair was a product of Ford’s mid-level Mercury division. Available as a 2-door coupe or 4-door sedan, the Montclair has chrome accents, unique two-tone paint, and for a time was manufactured in the state where Montclair is located: New Jersey.
The vehicle named after this sovereign principality of the wealthy is also from an American automaker. The territory occupies a hillside about five miles from the Italian border and nine miles from the French border. The Grimaldi family has ruled this place for more than 700 years — a fairly good run.
The Car — Dodge Monaco
The Monaco moniker has appeared on various Dodge vehicles throughout the Chrysler division’s history. Monaco was considered the Dodge flagship, living up to a name that reflects royalty and prestige. The Monaco has been a full-size car (1965–1977), a midsize car (1977–1978), and in its last guise again as a full-size flagship of the line (1990–1992).
The places from which this next vehicle — no longer in production — got its name are both an island and a bay in Florida. The tropical name suggests sun, sea and sand — keys to a laid-back beach lifestyle that is likely the reason this vehicle takes its name from a temperate location.
The Car — Chevrolet Biscayne
Produced between 1958 and 1972, during its heyday the Chevrolet Biscayne was the entry-level model of the Chevrolet lineup. Biscaynes were available with little chrome and practical, no-frills interiors. In 1960 Chevy produced an even more minimalist Biscayne for fleet sales, aptly called the Fleetmaster.
Another location in Florida, this place is most famous for a 12-hour sports car endurance race that occurs each year in March at an eponymously named racetrack. The track is on the former site of Hendricks Army Airfield, which was put on the fast track to become a fully operational airbase following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
The Car — Chrysler Sebring
A midsize car produced from 1994–2010 during the period of Chrysler’s demise as an American-owned automobile manufacturer, the Sebring was available at various times as a coupe, sedan and convertible. Mitsubishi Motors built the Sebring coupe, which had little in common with the sedan and convertible — other than its name and a few styling cues.
This place in Utah is synonymous with speed. A large, arid salt flats, the location has been the site of numerous land speed record attempts by all types of vehicles. Name any vehicle after this place and immediate positive associations with high speed seep from the subconscious of most consumers.
The Car — Pontiac Bonneville
One of the most recognized vehicle lines of the defunct GM brand, the Pontiac Bonneville lasted eight auto generations from 1958–2005. The model line began as a 2-door hardtop and convertible. The most valuable Bonneville today? The 1954 Bonneville Special concept car that started it all, which sold at auction in 2015 for $3 million.
Something funny is going on here, and it might be an oversight caught too late or simply some creative spelling. To describe the vehicle named after this next place, we should have been showing you an image of a lush seaside town in Italy. But, because of a typo, the place shown here is in Illinois.
The Car — Kia Sorento
The Kia Sorento is a midsize crossover produced since 2002. The name is supposed to evoke a sense of the Italian coastline, yet Kia’s spelling puts it in a small village in Illinois — not the worst place to land, but we think this might be a typo no one caught. Or an unintentionally amusing word shortening.
Before we leave Italy, let’s take a look at a contemporary vehicle (although now discontinued) that employs the name of a city in the northern country — and the second-most-populous city other than Rome. It is a cultural hub of fashion, fine arts, architecture, finance, design and tourism, to name a few.
The Car — Mercury Milan
Although a last vestige of Ford’s defunct Mercury brand, back in its day the Mercury Milan was an attractive automobile. Sharing a platform with the Ford Fusion, the Milan was in production from 2005–2010, until Ford decided to shutter its Mercury brand to tighten its portfolio during the Great Recession.
This place in France is a town but also the location of one of the most famous palaces in the world, and the principal royal residence from 1682–1789. The palace and its grounds have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site; only the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre receive more tourists each year. The car named after this place is no longer in production.
The Car — Lincoln Versailles
Although not as breathtaking as its namesake place, the Lincoln Versailles midsize luxury car ruled from 1977–1980. In actuality it is a rebadged Ford Granada (or Mercury Monarch) with some fancier options, including the first halogen headlights and clearcoat paint on a production car in North America.
Called the birthplace of NASCAR, this place in Florida is home to a huge, banked tri-oval racetrack that hosts some of America’s most prestigious automobile races — to name them would give away the place name and thus the car named after it, so we’ll dodge that bullet for a moment, at least.
The Car — Dodge Daytona
The Dodge Daytona name has been around for a long time. Although the actual Daytona model is a 2-door, front-drive compact car built from 1983–1993, in their heyday certain Daytonas — especially Dodge Charger Daytonas — were the coolest cars around.
This majestic place that gives the next vehicle its name is a vast swath of remote land in the center of Australia. Pictured above is Mount Connor in western Australia. Contrary to popular Western perception, the Australian Outback has a variety of climatic zones, and it plays a big part in Australian folklore, literature and history.
The Car — Subaru Outback
Subaru began selling the Outback — a station wagon with high ground clearance — in 1994, and it is still in production today. Present-day Outbacks have morphed from wagon into crossover territory, still sporting high ground clearance and the same spirit of adventure that the moniker bestowed upon the vehicle from the start.
The next vehicle’s name is associated with the Greatest City in the World — home to the Yankees, the Empire State Building, and another tourist attraction lined with shops and cultural destinations that runs past Central Park and Millionaires Row through what is known in tourist guides as the Museum Mile — a dense section of nine museums.
The Car — Chrysler 5th Avenue / New Yorker
The vehicle suggested by the previous image could be either the Chrysler New Yorker or the Chrysler Fifth Avenue. The original Fifth Avenues were produced from 1979–1993 as special editions of the New Yorker. The original New Yorker model had a continuous production run from 1940 through 1997. The final generation of the New Yorker appears above.
As an island in the Mediterranean, this picturesque location is part of France and near Sardinia and Italy. Given the natural beauty and relative lack of development when compared to other Mediterranean islands, this locale has breathtaking coastlines as well as splendid mountains — a place that exudes a beauty and desirability that any automaker would want associated with its car.
The Car — Chevrolet Corsica
Although named after a beautiful location, this relatively bland front-drive GM compact car was produced from 1987 through 1996 and offered as a 4-door sedan as well as a 5-door hatchback for a brief period. Unfortunately, the Chevrolet Corsica does not live up to the enduring beauty and mystery of its romantic Mediterranean name.
Sticking with another island locale, this one is back across the pond in the Caribbean — Jamaica, to be exact. A bay and port city also known as the “Second City” after Kingston, this place is the epitome of a tropical paradise — outside the city limits of MoBay, of course. Inside the city limits it’s an urban paradise.
The Car — Mercury Montego
Named after the island paradise, the Mercury Montego was produced by the Ford Motor Company for its Mercury brand from 1986–1976, and again from 2004–2007 — three generations in total. The third and final Montego wave came after a 28-year hiatus; for the 2005 model year the name returned on Mercury’s full-size sibling to the Ford Five Hundred.
This place — birthplace of Enzo Ferrari — is also home to the museum that bears his name, but this city is not the location of his factory. That is reserved for a vehicle farther down this list. Located in central Italy, this city in question is rife with history and culture, especially of the automotive variety. Every Italian automaker that ends in “i” has (or had) associations with this place at some point in its history.
The Car — Ferrari 360 Modena
Named after the Italian town, the Ferrari 360 Modena — a 2-seat sports car initially available as a berlinetta and later as a spider (convertible) — was in production from 2000 through 2004. Today Ferrari Modenas are highly valued and highly collectible.
A town and municipality in the southern Alps of Italy, this hotbed of cool winter outdoor activity will host (along with Milan) the 2026 Winter Olympics. The area has attracted writers, poets and intellectuals from the world over, including Ernest Hemingway and Saul Bellow in their heydays. For those who like snow, cold and winter sports, this is the place.
The Car — Ford Cortina
Named after the Italian town known for winter sports, the Cortina was a Ford automobile produced in Great Britain from 1962 through 1982. Also called the Ford Consul Cortina, this large car (at the time) was the United Kingdom’s best-selling car in the 1970s. The car pictured here is a Ford Cortina Lotus — a popular variant among collectors.
This next place is both multiple towns in the Pacific Northwest as well as a mountain in Washington state. Originally known as Tahoma to native peoples of the area, this majestic peak rises 14,411 feet from sea level and can be seen from many distant areas of the state — when skies are clear.
The Car — Buick Rainier
Named after a large mountain in the Cascade Range of Washington state, the Rainier from GM’s now-defunct Buick brand is a midsize SUV manufactured from 2003 through 2007. Rainier features a 4.2-liter Vortec V6 engine, 5-occupant configuration, an available (at the time) small-block V8 engine as well as rear- or all-wheel drive.
As the capital of Andalusia, Spain, this next place is known for its vibrant art, architecture and controversial yet historically significant sport of bullfighting. The city also is home to the huge art installation by German artist Jurgen Mayer called Metropol Parasol — a timber frame structure completed in 2011 and the largest of its kind in the world.
The Car — Cadillac Seville
Billed as a smaller size premium Cadillac, the midsize Seville was in production from 1975 through 2004. The Seville name had been used on a number of previous Cadillacs, most notably the 1956 Eldorado Seville, which set the precedent that any model with the Seville designation was a hardtop, as opposed to a Biarritz, which was a convertible.
One of the 32 states that make up the Federal Entities of Mexico, this next place is home to the Camino Real Pass between this seacoast location and Mexico City. This place also contains a significant chunk of coastline along the eastern portion of the region bordering the western part of the Gulf of Mexico.
The Car — Hyundai Veracruz
Another testament to the Korean automaker’s use of western-themed names (Tucson, Santa Fe anyone?), Hyundai’s Veracruz midsize crossover was in production from 2006 through 2012, until being replaced by the Santa Fe LWB and eventually the Palisade.
Long associated with the Union Pacific transcontinental railroad (which established the city), this location is the capital of Wyoming and also the name of an indigenous people of the Great Plains. The city’s Union Pacific Depot is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Car — Chevrolet Cheyenne
The Cheyenne name has been associated with Chevrolet C/K pickup trucks for a long time. The C/K was in production from 1971 through 1998, the year before the Silverado series of trucks began. Cheyenne was often used as a trim name for C/K pickups, such as the 1971 Chevrolet C-10 Cheyenne shown above.
A summer resort rich in sailing history, this city in Rhode island is alive with pleasurable leisurely pursuits, and the location of the first U.S. Open tennis tournament. The city is also the location of a major Naval Station on the East Coast.
The Car — Chrysler Newport
With a name intended to evoke feelings of summer resorts, coastal towns and all things nautical, the Chrysler Newport was a low-priced large car on the market from 1961–1981. However, the very first Chrysler Newport was created in 1940; a show car based on the New Yorker platform, only six original Newports were built — five remain in existence today.
This island off the coast of California — 22 miles long, 8 miles at its widest point — is known by the short form of its full name. The population is less than 5,000 people, 90 percent of whom live around the town of — wait, this town is also a vehicle name that we will get to at the end of this article . . .
The Car — Pontiac Catalina
In production from 1950 through 1981, the Pontiac Catalina is a full-size sedan. The name was originally used only for Pontiac models that had a 2-door hardtop body style, or what some call a hardtop convertible, since there was no B-pillar. In 1959 the Catalina became its own separate model line.
Known for silver mining as well as a historic steam train, this Colorado town sits between Mesa Verde National Park and Chimney Rock National Monument. Although some say the name comes from a sister city in Mexico, it’s interesting that the name of the railroad that founded the town (Denver and Rio Grande) contains a lot of letters that make up the town’s name. Coincidence? Perhaps.
The Car — Dodge Durango
The Dodge Durango name recalls a westward, expansive spirit of individualism, grub stakes and mining. The Durango full-size SUV has been in production since 1997 under the auspices of Chrysler, then DaimlerChrysler, then Chrysler Group and currently FCA. The current Durango shares its underpinnings with the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
This location is a city in the Lombardy region of Italy and site of a Formula One circuit of the same name that has an older, banked racetrack within its borders, rich with racing history.
The Car — Chevrolet Monza
A subcompact produced by Chevrolet for the 1975 through 1980 model years, the Monza was available as a 2-door coupe, 2-door 2+2 couple, a 2-door hatchback and even a 2-door station wagon. The Monza shared its chassis and 4-cylinder powertrain with the Chevrolet Vega.
Remaining in Italy, this next place is the headquarters and home of Ferrari and the Scuderia Ferrari Formula One racing team. Located in northern Italy, the town is only 18 km from a town (and car) covered previously, both of which also begin with the letter M — as this next town and car do.
The Car — Ferrari 575M Maranello
A sports car produced from 2002 through 2006, the Ferrari 575M Maranello has a 5.7-liter V12 engine and an available (at the time) Magneti-Marelli electrohydraulic F1 gearbox. This grand tourer was available as a 2-door berlinetta or a 2-door retractable hardtop convertible (the Superamerica).
While technically a place in South Tyrol, Italy; a neighborhood in Talega, California; a municipality in Milan, Italy; and a cemetery in Rome, the next vehicle is likely not named after any of these places. Instead, it is likely because the name means summer in Italian.
The Car — Buick Verano
In production in the U.S. from 2011 through 2016, the Verano is an entry-luxury car from Buick. The standard engine is a 2.4-liter Ecotec four cylinder mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission; the Verano is still manufactured and sold in China.
The next vehicle is named after a city in Spain — the largest one in the southern province of Andalusia. The entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its Moorish architecture. Saying that the vehicle named after this city is known for its “rich Corinthian leather” might be too much of a clue for those of the 1970s TV era.
The Car — Chrysler Cordoba
The first Chrysler not a full-size car, the Cordoba was known as a “personal luxury car.” In production from 1975 through 1983, the 2-door coupe is most remembered for its TV ads in which actor Ricardo Mantalban touted the luxurious features of Cordoba, famously noting the car’s “rich Corinthian leather.”
Located on California’s Central Coast, this place is home to Cannery Row, a famous aquarium, and a well-known annual jazz festival, although the most famous musical event in the area was a pop festival in 1967. The vehicle name is likely meant to evoke a breezy confidence and relaxed coastal California.
The Car — Mercury Monterey
The Monterey is a full-size car from Ford’s Mercury division, built from 1952 to 1974. During its tenure it came as a 4-door hardtop, a 2-door sedan, a 2-door coupe, a convertible and as a station wagon. The Monterey was the only continuous Mercury nameplate of the 1960s.
This next car name is actually two places — one a mythical city of gold, the other a luxurious beach community in southern France near the border with Spain, home of the opulent Hotel du Palais. The vehicle named after these places is supposed to evoke luxury, wealth and relaxation.
The Car — Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz
The Eldorado Biarritz is a luxury Cadillac known for its immense proportions and dynamic fins. A shiny parade float with two doors, the 1959 Eldorado Biarritz shown above is a part of the collection at the GM Heritage Center in Sterling Heights, Michigan. Now that is American luxury.
A location in New York City, this next place is a syllabic abbreviation of the “triangle below Canal street.” Home to actors, musicians, models and other celebrity types, the place is also host to a famous film festival created after the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center.
The Car — Subaru Tribeca
With a name intended to be hip and trendy, the Subaru Tribeca is a crossover built from 2005 to 2014. For some reason Tribeca never caught on in the crowded midsize crossover segment, and Subaru ended up selling a little over 77,000 units in total during the vehicle’s 10-year run.
Known for its nickname as “Big Sky Country,” this northwestern state is the fourth largest in the U.S., and the name comes from the Spanish meaning mountains. Naturally, the state is home to numerous mountain ranges that comprise the Rocky Mountains.
The Car — Pontiac Montana
A minivan sold by GM’s Pontiac division from 1997 through 2009, the original Montana was a trim of the Trans Sport (transport, get it?) van until the Trans Sport part of the name was mercifully dropped for the 1999 model year. The Montana was a sibling to the Chevrolet Uplander, Buick Terraza and Saturn Relay.
This next location can be found in a few southern areas of the country. The name is an Anglicized spelling of the Spanish Del Rey, meaning “of the king.” The states of Georgia, Texas, West Virginia (and outlier Michigan) have places with this name, but Florida has both a city and a beach.
The Car — Chevrolet Delray
Produced from 1955–1958, the Chevrolet Delray was initially a trim level on mid-range Chevrolet vehicles before becoming its own model for the 1958 model year. The most notable Delray is a 2-door sedan delivery vehicle popular among hot-rodders and car customizers.
A fitting finale, this place is both real and mythical. It is a town on an island off Southern California, a seaside resort for the affluent in New Jersey, and the mythical island from the legend of King Arthur.
The Car — Toyota Avalon
The flagship sedan of the Toyota lineup now in its fifth generation, the Avalon has been in production since 1994. As the crown of the Toyota lineup, the car’s name is fitting as a successor to all Toyota vehicles named after the word crown in various languages, including Camry, Corona and Corolla.
A fitting finale for cars named after places, this last vehicle does not arrive in showrooms until late 2021 as a 2022 model. It derives its name from a picturesque town and region in northern New Mexico. Known for outdoor activities and as a haven for artists, the place name comes from the region’s native people and pueblo, the only living Native American community designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO as well as a National Historic Landmark.
The Car — Volkswagen Taos
A new contender in the hot compact crossover market, the 2022 Taos slots into the Volkswagen lineup below the Tiguan. Smaller and more affordable than Tiguan, the new 5-seat crossover will be available with both front-wheel drive or 4Motion all-wheel drive. Scheduled to go on sale in the U.S. market in summer 2021, the Taos will be built at Volkswagen’s production facilities in Puebla, Mexico.