Claim: Hilarity ensues when a clueless car owner misreads the model name of the family car.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 1998]
"A what?" says the confused parts guy.
"My husband says he needs a
As the parts guy writes down "Datsun,
"Finally," she says. "You're the first place I've called that knew what I was talking about."
"Yes ma'am. That's because we're a full service parts warehouse. It's our job to have the parts you need, like a
Origins: One of the more powerful marketing tools available to a car manufacturer is the choice of model name to be bestowed upon its latest
This proclivity for alpha-numeric naming has given rise to a special type of auto legend, that of the misunderstood car name. In the realm of lore, any stray bit of data that can be misconstrued is transmuted into a tale wherein it was misinterpreted — the merest possibility becomes a tale told as true thanks to the magic of storytelling. The one who gets it wrong will invariably be either a woman (who by virtue of her sex is deemed incapable of comprehending anything automotive) or a foreigner (who can't be counted upon to grasp the subtleties of our language and culture).
These two stereotypical figures (clueless woman and hapless foreigner) are common to the automotive legend genre. Another legend in which they feature is the venerable
As for the background of this misnaming tale, the
Datsun has since become Nissan, and the
Other cars bearing alpha numeric names have also attracted the tale to themselves, notably the
There is a story circulating here in Toronto (and was mentioned on the radio) about an auto mechanic who is approached by a man who asks if he can fix a "Pontiac Goolie." The bewildered mechanic tells him to bring it in, and discovers that the customer, whose second language is English, is actually seeking help for his
One of our readers says the following happened to him when he was in college:
I answered the phone in the Automotive Shop one morning and talked to a woman who was calling because husband's car wouldn't start.
I set out to get the information for the work order, and when I asked the model, she told me it was a "Guttoe".
She say's, "It's a "Guttoe". Says right in the grill:
Apparently this feller was in a local car parts shop when a woman walked in and asked for a seven ten cap. Two blokes behind the counter and our hero looked at each other and one said, "What's a seven ten cap?"
She said "You know, it's right on the engine. Mine got lost somehow and I need a new one."
"What kind of a car is it on?" someone asked. She said a Ford.
"How big is it?" She makes a circle with her hands about
"What does it do?" She said she didn't know, but it had always been there.
Someone gave her a note pad and asked her to draw a picture of it. She drew a circle and in the centre wrote 710.
The blokes behind the counter who are looking at it upside down as she writes, fall about laughing and one goes and gets her an oil cap.
Note: write "710" upside
Last updated: 22 July 2013
Brunvand, Jan Harold. Too Good to Be True. New York: W. W. Norton, 1999. ISBN 0-393-04734-2 (p. 451).