Name that Car!

Nov 19, 2007

This was sent in by a fellow named Charlie Sona from Cliffwood Beach, NJ.

He writes, "I was just watching a car commercial and it reminded me of an old puzzler. A few years back you had a puzzler that asked what is the only car model that's a plural noun." Now I should remind people that cars have two names a make and a model. For example, Ford Mustang, Buick Enclave, Honda Accord. Now all of those model names are singular. It's not Honda Accords.

When we came out with the original puzzler, we had one model in mind that was a plural noun. That model is still sold today and it's been on the market for like 20 years. To our surprise our one listener back then came up with another model that we hadn't thought of that was a plural noun. That car is no longer being sold today. Now we've noticed there's yet another plural noun model name that's on the market. This car was introduced in 2000. The question is what are the three models?

One of them is no longer made. It disappeared in the 2002 model year. Our original puzzler answer model car has been around since the late '80s and is still for sale. And the third has only been around since the year 2000. I'll give a hint. If you get one of them, you'll know the other two pretty easily.
RAY: Well, the original one was the Nissan Maxima, which is the plural of maximum. The one that is no longer made is the Acura Integra, which is the plural of integer. And the model that's currently being sold is the Kia Spectra.

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: Which is the plural of spectrum. Now there was another car that kind of sneaked in, in the intervening years, the Mazda Millenium, but it was never a legitimate contender because they spelled it incorrectly.

TOM: Yeah. They only had one N.

RAY: Do we have a winner?

TOM: You bet we have a winner. The winner is Claudia Ellis from Vero Beach, Florida. And for having her answer selected at random from among the compost heap of correct answers that we got, Claudia is going to get a 26-dollar gift certificate to the Shameless Commerce Division at, with which she can get any of our brand-new 20th anniversary items.

RAY: Well, they're not actually new. For our 20th anniversary of not being canceled, we brought back the original designs from the first early days of our show on NPR.

TOM: You think we're old enough now to go nostalgic?

RAY: I've got news for you. There's nothing we're not old for.

TOM: Well, this design, for those of you who weren't there back in the day, is the Car Talk logo with greasy fingerprints factory installed. The T-shirt comes with greasy fingerprints printed right on them.

RAY: Oh yeah, it'll drive your dry cleaner crazy.

TOM: Anyway, something from the 20th anniversary collection is yours, Claudia, for being this week's puzzler winner. Congratulations.

RAY: And don't forget to ask for your free Car Talk Plaza parking permit. It won't help you park anywhere, but it can cover up some bird droppings on your window.

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