Tang Hua Detroit Fish

As a teenager,  I spent hours playing racing games on our PlayStation, trying to elicit compliments from the miniskirted race queen in Rage Racer or trying to smash all my brother’s records in Gran Turismo. One thing that bugged me in these games was the goofy car names: Rage Racer’s fictional Lizard Hijack truck is as clumsily-named as it is boxy (maybe the bed was full of kidnapped chameleons?) Gran Turismo features real-life Subaru Impreza WRX TypeR STi, which is always annoying to read. I guess they want to say it’ll ‘imprez ya,’ but if it’s got an STI, you might need some antibiotics afterwards.

It turns out I’m not the only one who finds Japanese car names strange and amusing. The search term “funny Japanese car names” is so common that Japanese bloggers are writing about the names that the English-speaking world is talking about. The funniest part is often that the bloggers don’t quite understand why they’re funny, over-explaining a joke that wasn’t there.

Before we look at the genuinely hilarious ones, here are 10 head-scratchers!

10. Nissan Murano

This one isn’t so much ‘funny’ as ‘vaguely interesting trivia.’ One blogger states that it’s named after an island near Venice, Italy, though they’d always assumed it was just designed by a guy named Murayama. Bloggers say the darnedest things, am I right?


9. Renault Megane

This one isn’t actually a Japanese car, but makes the list for being funny in Japan. In Japanese, megane is a three-syllable word, pronounced meh-ga-nay, and means ‘eyeglasses.’ Ah, the Renault Spectacles, what  great car!


8. Daihatsu Charade

This car’s name, which actually means ‘absurd pretence’, has Japanese bloggers thinking that it was clearly a lie.


7. Toyota Chaser

If my puns leave a bad taste in your mouth, try the Toyota Chaser. (Why is everyone groaning?)


6. Honda Vigor

Japanese bloggers were entertained to know the meaning of vigor. What they may not have realized was that it looks kind of tired, making it somewhat ironic.


5. Subaru Sambar

What’s so funny about Sambar? What does sambar even mean? It turns out that it’s a kind of deer.


The real joke may be that the van looks and sounds a lot like the Volkswagon Samba. Oh, plagiarism! I get it!


4. Mazda Bongo

Japanese bloggers think this is funny because there is an African animal called the bongo. (Another hoofed animal!)

Actually, this one always made me laugh when I used to see the car in Korea. To start off, it’s a funny sound (but it also comes in Brawny and Friendee models!). It also looks like it might be owned by a hippie, meaning it’s probably being used to haul a bunch of bongos to a drum circle (and maybe bongs, which would explain why they think drum circles are cool.)


3. Honda Life Dunk

Bloggers report this one sounds like it has a deep meaning, but in fact it has none. It could be the ultra-dramatic sequel to Slam Dunk, but who really knows?


2. Nissan Fairlady Z

Sure, it’s very voluptuous—but  if you’re going to try to woo the Fairlady, at least do it behind closed garage doors!


1. Honda That’s

That’s… what? Apparently Honda forgot to finish naming this model. I’m sure our readers can fill in the blank here: That’s a Car! (Well, that’s not a lie.) That’s Ugly! That’s the Car Version of ‘Duckface’!


Some of those were pretty good, but sadly, they missed out on some car names that are genuinely hilarious.

8. Great Wall Wingle

I’m not entirely sure what ‘wingle’ means, but I don’t think Chinese manufacturer Great Wall does, either. Is it when you wink while you wangle a single wing from a stranger’s bucket of chicken? Maybe!


7. Suzuki Every Joypop Turbo

Now this is what you might expect to hear if all you know about Japan is Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and Harajuku. Shouldn’t it be in candy colors, though?


6. Isuzu Mysterious Utility Wizard

This is definitely an anime series, right? It sounds like a of mix of Cardcapter Sakura and Detective Conan.


5. Daihatsu Scat

This model was known as the Wildcat or Taft in some markets, but was also sold as the Scat. I’m just going to hope they meant scat as “get away” and not something foul.


4. Mazda Scrum Wagon

Mazda’s target market is apparently hordes of sweaty, meaty men grabbing at each other.


3. Mitsubishi Mini Active Urban Sandal

That’s… what? No, not the That’s! What does Mini Active Urban Sandal mean? Are you confused yet?


2. Tang Hua Detroit Fish

To be fair, this Chinese-made car is amphibious. Are fish amphibious in Detroit? Who knows. Bonus points to this one for looking absolutely insane.

Tang Hua Detroit Fish

1. Nissan Homy Super Long

That reads like a senator’s username for an online dating profile.


If you’ve heard of any other crazy car names (even if they were not from Japan) let us know in the comments.

Source: LiveDoorBlog, Complex Rides
Images: Wikipedia (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17), John Lloyd, YouTube