Why Do People Name Their Car Betsy?


I knew an old lady named Betsy. She made the world’s greatest sandwiches, cut into triangles with the crust removed, served on a plaid table cloth alongside a plate of cookies. Betsy was great, as was the feast she often made. But I still wouldn’t name my car after her.

And yet many of you already have.

October 2 is “National Name Your Car Day.” Rather than America — and indeed most of the English-speaking world — picking a vehicular nickname that sounds cool or menacing or sexy, even, Betsy is the most popular choice.

And it’s not just Betsy, either. While it remains clear in the top spot, the second and third most favored nicknames are Bessie and Betty, according to one report from AutoNation. Basically every old person’s name that starts with the letter “B.”

And it’s the same story in England and Australia.

In total, 35 percent of Americans name our car, with Betsy ranking first for both male and females. The automaker most people give names to is Ford, and the favored model, the mighty Mustang.

Wait, Americans are naming their famed pony cars Betsy? Apparently so.

Some folks have even taken to the internet to ask what’s going one, and no one has a clear answer: A few commenters claim it has something to do with the novel “The Betsy” that went on to birth a 1978 movie starring Robert Duvall. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about the flick: “A fading family-owned automobile manufacturer and its owners pin their hopes for a return to profitability on a new model named for the great-granddaughter of the firm’s founder.”

I assume that’s Betsy.

But I also refuse to believe that this novel/movie is the reason millions of people worldwide call their prized machines that. I mean, vehicles named after little old ladies? I’m all for triangular sandwiches, but this takes the cake.