"If your car won't start, curse it...and be sure you curse it female."
Boats and ships may have names, but in this they're not alone among vehicles. Cars too can get names from their owners. Usually, this name is something properly human, and more often than not it's female, for whatever reason.
Compare to I Call It "Vera"
(the same idea, but applied to weapons) May either apply to a Cool Car
or The Alleged Car
(yes, both of these can elicit such sentimental attachments).
Examples of this trope include:
- Marilyn Monroe once did a TV commercial for Royal Triton gasoline where she calls her car "Cynthia."
- Hilariously subverted here.
- Archie Comics: Until 1983, Archie drove a jalopy called "Ol' Betsy."
- The Boondocks: Granddad calls his car "Dorothy" (after actress Dorothy Dandrige, on whom he has a crush) and a flashback reveals he used the same name for his plane during World War II.
- Gone in Sixty Seconds (both 1974 and 2000) does this for every car. For example, a Mustang in the 2000 version is known as Eleanor.
- "Herbie," The Love Bug. Not only that, but in Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, Herbie meets and starts seeing a "female" car named Giselle by her owner.
- Stephen King's Christine, natch.
- Non-female example: In Good Omens, Newton calls The Alleged Car Dick Turpin, in the hope that someone will ask him why. (Wherever he goes, he holds up traffic.)
- John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee novels. The title character has a custom Rolls-Royce that was converted into a pickup truck and painted a horrible electric blue before he bought it. He calls it "Miss Agnes."
- The True Meaning of Smekday: Gratuity refers to her augmented-with-Boov-technology car as "Slushious," and she and her Boov friend J. Lo drive it across America in despite her being too young to have a formal driver's license.