Top Gear's Top 9: cars named after running
Plymouth Road Runner
Arriving at the end of the Sixties, the Road Runner was designed to be simple and cheap. Plymouth paid a reputed $50,000 for the rights to name the car after the cartoon nemesis of Wile E Coyote, and use a silhouette of the speedy character on the side of the bodywork. Beep beep!Advertisement - Page continues below
Nothing about this boxy seven-seat bargain is racy. But no one ‘wins’ a jog either. A jog is leisurely. You don’t take jogging seriously. It takes no specialist equipment, so it’s probably the cheapest sport. Turns out Dacia’s latest family hero has an appropriate name after all.
The sister car to the Checker Taxi, the Marathon was aimed at the company car market. Despite being ugly and slow, it was fit for purpose, living up to its name with a marathon 12 years of production between 1960 and 1982. You could even get it with a 5.7 diesel V8 in its later years.Advertisement - Page continues below
Strictly, the Sprinter was a sportier variant of the Corolla, but we’ll let this slide. And slide is the correct term, given this spawned the AE86 in its third generation: immortalised in Initial D and subsequent drift culture. But when it comes to driving a Sprinter, you may well think of...
... one of these. Usually with a rusty door, dented sides, a dead headlight and about 8mm between it and the back of your car. Mercedes’ big van is one of the most aggressively driven vehicles – and also holds the record for being the most stolen van in the UK. Maybe those things are connected.
Volvo V40 Cross Country
Going dashing across rough ground? Then jump in a lifted Volvo with some trusty plastic cladding. Volvo’s been applying the XC treatment to its cars for a while, and our favourite is the V40 XC, which was available with the 2.5 turbo 5cyl from the Ford Focus ST. Now that’s what we call a crossover.
Nissan Trail Runner
Back in 1997, this off-road sports car concept arrived at the Tokyo Motor Show and promised a future where ground clearance was the new, um, lack of ground clearance. What’s baffling is Nissan fitted it with a 185bhp engine – and then drained most of that with a CVT gearbox.Advertisement - Page continues below
Bit obscure for you? Yeah, us too. We’ll hand the baton over to Citroen, which also sticks a badge reading ‘Relay’ on a useful box – its big panel van. Which is like a Mercedes Sprinter, except not as many people want to steal them.
We were going to nominate the Toyota 4 Runner, but let’s have a supercar instead. Italdesign’s 2013 Geneva motor show concept married a 542bhp Audi R8 V10 drivetrain with a lifted body, and was named after the French urban active nuttiness that fuses sprinting, gymnastics and mild vandalism.Advertisement - Page continues below