Created By: DarkLiterati on May 13, 2013 Last Edited By: DarkLiterati on June 17, 2013

Affectionate Automobile Alias

When a person gives their car a human (usually female) name.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
"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).

Rolling Updates

Examples of this trope include:

Advertising
  • Marilyn Monroe once did a TV commercial for Royal Triton gasoline where she calls her car "Cynthia."
  • Hilariously subverted here.

Comic Books
  • 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.

Film
  • 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.

Literature
  • 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.

Live-Action TV

Western Animation
Community Feedback Replies: 37
  • May 13, 2013
    intersection
    Culture Jamming

    • A powerful subversion here
  • May 13, 2013
    SquirrelGuy
    In Archie Comics, until 1983 Archie had a jalopy he called "Ol' Betsy".
  • May 14, 2013
    DaibhidC
    Literature
    • 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.)

    Live Action TV
    • The Third Doctor's vintage car Bessie in Doctor Who.
  • May 17, 2013
    Arivne
    Literature
    • 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".
  • May 17, 2013
    MorganWick
  • May 17, 2013
    DracMonster
    ^I love this title, but he's probably right.

    Affectionate Automotive Alias

    My alliterations, let me show you them...

  • May 17, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    ^^ Yeah Freud Was Right, but I love the title too, so I say go with it, and fuck 'em if they can't take a joke ;). (Seriously, why does everything have to be sanitized in this day and age?)
  • May 17, 2013
    DarkLiterati
    The suggestive title was intentional...but Affectionate Automotive Alias sounds nice too. Anyone else second this?
  • May 17, 2013
    DracMonster
    ^^It's not offensiveness so much as it's a non-intuitive title. It would probably get misused on work pages.
  • May 17, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    ^^ Nah, don't cave... nothing wrong with suggestive, the Moral Guardians have enough sway as it is ;). Shes A Great Ride is brilliant. (Although I guess you have to lose the apostrophe to make it work right.)
  • May 17, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    I agree with DracMonster. The title is supposed to describe the trope as well as possible and this one is really easy to misunderstand. I myself have read the title about five to eight times already and every single time the first thing that comes to my mind is something sexual. That means the name is misleading and doesn't work well.
  • May 17, 2013
    DracMonster
    @We Are All Kosh: I guarantee a mod will come along and kill this title for the clarity reason. The "screw the man, rebel for life" thing isn't gonna work here. It's not really a debatable topic. Again, it's not a Moral Guardian thing (we have Intercourse With You and plenty of other sexual titles) but if what the page is about isn't obvious from a glance at the title it's an automatic veto.
  • May 17, 2013
    DarkLiterati
    All right then, I'm changing it. Sorry, Kosh.
  • May 17, 2013
    DracMonster
    ^Save it for if you ever try to introduce a trope about having sex with your car -- it might actually fly for that. :)
  • May 17, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    ^^ It's okay, I'm half drunk right now (I work nights) so I was feeling my curmudgeonly Gen X oats... but it ain't no thing, I got the meaning from the title but I can see where others may not. But when men name their cars female names (or I suppose when women name them male names), I can almost guarantee it's a Freudian thing--but so what? It's part of life. But the present title (Affectonate Automotive Alias) is fine, so whatever... ;) . Peace (or something like that) :).
  • May 17, 2013
    jbrecken
    Marilyn Monroe once did a TV commercial for Royal Triton gasoline where she calls her car Cynthia.
  • May 17, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    I just noticed a misunderstanding here: when I posted ^^^^^^^ above, it was in response to the post two (not one) above that--classic cross-posting. I get dismissing Shes A Great Ride on the grounds of ambiguity. I was responding to Dark Literati, not Drac Monster (have since edited that post to show two arrow-thingies (^^)).

    (Oh, and Drac Monster (Re: ^^^^^)): I don't have some juvenile kneejerk attitude of "screw the man, rebel for life" (I did kind of have that attitude maybe 25 years ago)--although I will feel free to state my opinion against prevailing social trends when I disagree with them :). But again, on the grounds of ambiguity (which didn't occur to me when I made that post), the name change is probably for the best. Peace (for real) :))

    (I'll bet tonight at work, when I'm on this site and sober, I'll be embarrassed I even made an issue of this. So carry on ;).)
  • May 17, 2013
    DarkLiterati
    ^^^ Doesn't that already go under Cargo Ship?
  • May 17, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    .

  • May 18, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Male example: on The Dukes Of Hazzard the Dukes drive a 1969 Dodge Charger named the "General Lee." Yet when they use a pronoun they still call it "her/she" (I think).
  • May 18, 2013
    Stratadrake
    Can't we just swap out "automotive" for "automobile" ?
  • May 18, 2013
    DarkLiterati
    All right, that's a good idea too.
  • May 19, 2013
    Hodor
    • In The Boondocks, Granddad calls his car "Dorothy" and a flashback reveals he called his plane the same during World War II. The name is because he has a crush on he actress Dorothy Dandridge.
  • May 20, 2013
    maxwellsilver
    Doesn't I Call It Vera cover any naming of an inanimate object?
  • May 20, 2013
    DarkLiterati
    ^ By its very definition (right down to the context in which the trope was named), I would say no. Perhaps there's a Missing Supertrope in play here?
  • May 21, 2013
    maxwellsilver
    Perhaps we need to open a TRS to exapnd I Call It Vera to include naming of inanimate objects in general? It's already being missused that way.

    Also, Gone In Sixty Seconds 2000 is a remake of Gone In Sixty Seconds 1974, where every car is given a name and only referred to as such.
  • May 22, 2013
    Raconteur
    Do we want to specify or broaden? That's the question. I like the idea of expanding I Call It Vera to cover all inanimate objects,cars, weapons, pens, etc. Or we could put I Call It Vera and Affectionate Automobile Alias as subtropes of some "Sentimental Attachment Nickname for Objects" trope. (We'll...work on the name later.)
  • May 25, 2013
    DarkLiterati
    bump
  • May 25, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    In the novel The True Meaning Of Smekday by Adam Rex, Gratuity refers to her augmented-with-Boov-technology car as "Slushious", which she and her Boov friend J. lo drive across America in despite her being too young to have a formal driver's license.
  • May 25, 2013
    chicagomel
    Pat Brady, Roy Rogers' sidekick on the Roy Rogers Show, had his Jeep, Nellybelle. (live action TV. No wikilink because the show doesn't have a page.)
  • May 26, 2013
    BearyScary
    Western Animation
    • Pops on Regular Show nicknamed his hot rod Carmelita (IIRC).
  • May 26, 2013
    maxwellsilver
    Let's broaden I Call It Vera. That way, we won't need to have two tropes when one will suffice.
  • May 27, 2013
    nemui10pm
    ^ We already have two tropes - Besides I Call It Vera, there's Names Given To Computers and even I Call Him Mister Happy. Might as well keep this draft and make another page for a supertrope.
  • May 27, 2013
    Arivne
    ^ Yes, it looks like we have a case of Missing Supertrope Syndrome here.
  • May 27, 2013
    Skylite
    I don't know the names for both cars, but the parents of Kick Buttowski each call their car by an affectionate "sexy" name.
  • May 27, 2013
    randomsurfer
    • In the first film of the series, The Love Bug is named "Herbie" by its owner's mechanic friend Tennessee. In Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo Herbie meets and starts seeing a "female" car named Giselle by her owner.
  • June 17, 2013
    DarkLiterati
    bump
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