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Naming cars after animals is a popular naming convention amongst automakers. After all, who hasn’t heard of the Ford Bronco, AMC Eagle, and Dodge Viper? These mighty animals aren’t the only ones with a car or other vehicle named after them. It turns out that bugs and insects are pretty popular among cars, too.

The earliest bug cars

According to Collectors Auto Supply, even some of the earliest cars were named after bugs. There was the Chicago-made Bugmobile (1908-1909), the Auto Bug (Ohio, 1909-1910), and New Jersey’s Red Bug (1924 to 1930). Could these naming conventions have been because those early vehicles “bugged” the many horses common on the roads back then?

Here’s a list of other cars named after these pesky little six-legged creatures a bit more recently.

1. Volkswagen Beetle

From an infamous, murderous dictator’s dream car to the favorite car of the “peace and love” generation to a beloved movie icon, the ever-popular Volkswagen Beetle has run the gamut since its introduction in 1938 Germany.

Known as the people’s car, the Volkswagen in German was initially known as the Type 1. It wasn’t until 1971 introduced the Super Beetle that the regular bug became officially known as the Beetle. However, it had already been dubbed that by its adoring fans for decades. explains that thanks to a well-thought-out marketing campaign, this inexpensive, reliable, and cheerful compact car exploded into a cultural icon during the 1960s. Hotcars reported that it became the most popular car ever named after an insect, with more than 15 million units sold.

2. Plymouth Cricket

In the early 1970s, a cash-strapped Chrysler didn’t have the money to create a new subcompact car to compete with the Ford Pinto or the Chevy Vega. So it imported the British-made Hillman Adventurer and rebranded it the Plymouth Cricket. Unfortunately, it didn’t draw as much attention as its namesake, the noisy cricket.

3. Pontiac Firefly

Pontiac Firefly parked indoors.
Pontiac Firefly | Getty Images

Named after the flying insect that uses flashing lights in its courtship rituals, the Firefly was the smallest Pontiac ever sold. Young people loved it because it was inexpensive to purchase and drive, easy to park, and a fun ride.

The Daily Drive reports that this petite vehicle was eventually available in 3-door, 5-door, and convertible body styles.

4. Datsun Honey Bee

The country was in the midst of an energy crisis in 1976. That’s when Datsun, later Nissan, introduced the compact Honey Bee. This stripped-down version of the B-210 was billed as “the lowest-priced, highest-mileage Datsun.” 

5. AMC Hornet

The Hornet has been described as “a less gawky version of the Gremlin.” This small sedan, coupe, or Sportback wagon was very popular in its time but lost out with AMC’s demise. That was a shame since this family car’s unique style, and small but functional size might have taken it far.

6. Dodge Hornet

Hudson originated the Hornet name on its high-performance car back in the early 1950s. This early NASCAR success story transferred to the newly minted American Motors in the mid-1950s, then reappeared in the 1970s.

The Chrysler Corporation purchased the name from the defunct AMC in the late 1980s and recently started production of the Dodge Hornet. The Dodge Hornet is actually the only insect-named vehicle on this list that is still in production. The 2022 Dodge Hornet hit dealerships in the summer of 2022.

7. Hudson Hornet

Hudson must have really liked naming its vehicles after insects! First came the Hornet, its NASCAR-dominating early muscle car, in 1951. It was followed by the Wasp, Super Wasp, Super Hornet, Custom Hornet, and the Hornet Super Special. Whew! It dropped the Hornet name around 1957 when it merged with Nash to become American Motors. However, from 1970 to 1977, American Motors revived the name for a new compact car. 

8. Dodge Super Bee

Not to be confused with the Datsun Honey Bee is the mighty Dodge Super Bee, a high-performance vehicle offered from 1968-1970. This rebranded Plymouth Road Runner B-Body was offered as an entry-level Dodge muscle car. 

9. Hudson Wasp

Conceptcarz describes the Hudson Wasp as a mid-size sedan with a similar sporty flair to the line’s earlier performance cars. It was built with early ’50s families in mind. 


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