BULLGOOSE: Cedricated or medicated on the car that died of name shame

‘The two funniest names in the world are Elmer and Claude – except if your name is Elmer or Claude.’ W.C. Fields (real name William Claude Dukenfield).

Lately, thousands/hundreds/both of my fans have approached me with belligerento/puzzled expressions and raised voices.

Typically, their queries go something like, “Bullgoose! What the hell? Nissan Cedric? Nissan Cedric? Bullgoose! Nissan Cedric? What the hell?”

They, and you, are owed an explanation.

When I was a young boy I had two interests: cars and funny names.

And The Three Stooges, so actually I had three interests.

The Three Stooges.

I loved funny names.  For example, I giggled when I first found out my own name.

Charles Dickens liked a funny name.  W.C. Fields liked a funny name. Annie Proulx liked a funny name. Shaun Micallef likes a funny name.

But compared to me, these people are unranked amateurs.

The collection, appreciation and creation of funny names has been my life’s work.

According to the world’s foremost expert on funny names (me), I am the funny name GOAT.

Incidentally, a funny name for a goat, of any gender, would be Tyrone Abstemious Tong.

And cars. There was a time when I could have told you, for any given model of car, the year  and month of its manufacture, the standard and optional features, the vital stats of its donk, the location and general terroir of the factory it came from, and of course, its top speed.

We were parentally-banned from chewing bubble gum (“coarse, vulgar and highly likely to occlude the bowel”), but I still blew my pocket money on Hot Rod bubble gum, dutifully binned the untouched (I want to say “mint condition”, but I think it was more banana-flavoured) bubble gum, in order to get hold of the cards with their thrilling photos and arcane descriptions of the souped-up mechanicals.

But that was then. I grew out of it. Nowadays I don’t give much of a rat’s about cars and would sooner book three sessions of ‘Cayenne Pepper High Colonic Irrigation Detox’ and entertain a roomful of homeopaths and Scientologists than participate in the tragic panto that is car buying.

I still shudder when I hear people talking about ‘doing wheelies’,

For example, I still shudder when I hear people talking about ‘doing wheelies’, meaning spinning the back wheels.

Oh no, no no!  Pffft!

When I was a boy you weren’t doing a wheely unless you were in a dragster or funny car, opening up your blown Chevy 427 running on nitromethane for about 1200 horsepower, dropping the clutch and getting the thing up on a wheelstand.

That, my friends, was a wheely.

When, and why, did it get so watered-down? Pffft!

Anyhow, so back in my motor nerd days I came across the Nissan Cedric and it piqued two of my three interests.

It was a car, and it had a funny name.

Pique, pique.

The Cedric had some standard features that Holden and Ford owners could only dream about, like a radio and heater, but it was otherwise pretty boring and certainly no Corvette or Iso Grifo (Corvette motor in an Italian body, mmmmm).

The Cedric was named after Cedric in Little Lord Fauntleroy.

What was Nissan thinking? Who knew the story/film was such a hit in Japan? “Cedric. Nissan Cedric.” Oh, how I laughed. Incidentally, probably one of the most inappropriate car names would have to be Toyota Cressida. I mean, why name your car after a perfidious character from Greek mythology who made Jezebel and Delilah look like nuns? They may as well have called it the Toyota Slut, which is catchy, for sure, but highly inappropriate.

But it was the badgework on the Cedric that had me flummoxed with bafflery. It was gold and chrome. Together. Even as a 12-year-old I could tell the aesthetics were way off and stinky. Steak? Fine. Kidney? Fine. Steak and kidney? Yuk! Gold? Fine. Chrome? Fine. Gold and Chrome? Criminal.

So now the stage is set. You have the back story. Stay tuned for a future column through which, like Bullgoose, you will learn that it is better to have preferences than obsessions.

A Lesson to us all.


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