Top Gear’s Top 9: cars with spooky Halloween names
Is your trick-or-treat costume complete without a car named after an undead spirit?
Yes, Rolls-Royce is going to feature heavily here. Weirdly, the tradition of naming Rollers after ghostly apparitions came about by accident, over a century ago.
In 1907, Rolls-Royce’s marketing boss Claude Johnson had one of the company’s new six-cylinder models finished in silver paintwork. The car was officially called the 40/50, a reference to how many horsepower it was estimated to produce.
This single car was christened ‘Silver Ghost’, in the manner of a yacht being named, but the press at the time seized upon the more lyrical title and dubbed all similar Rollers ‘Silver Ghosts’. Rolls-Royce officially launched its first ‘Phantom’ in 1925, and the rest is history.Advertisement - Page continues below
What was once the Dodge Challenger has descended through the seven circles of Hell, through Hellcat and Redeye editions to become this modern-day muscle car legend: the Demon. Thanks to an 840bhp 6.2-litre supercharged V8, it’s capable of 2.1-second 0-60mph runs on a drag strip, and running the quarter-mile in 9.65 seconds at 140mph.
Yes, it’s the one that does wheelies.
There have been eight generations of Rolls-Royce Phantom. Some were reserved only for royalty. The current version is available to anyone… so long as you have a minimum of £363,000 and a very long parking space. It’s the flagship Rolls-Royce model, standing almost six metres long, and weighing in at over 2.6 tonnes.
So you get a lot of car for your money, but you can’t put a price on a name that menacing.Advertisement - Page continues below
The American Motors Corporation Gremlin was an entry-level hatchback designed to compete with the urban-friendly VW Beetle and Chevy Vega. To make it, AMC simply took its Hornet model, and shortened it.
What happened when you got it wet, we’re not sure. It’s a Seventies American car, so build quality probably wasn’t all that. But results were hopefully less deadly than the 1984 horror movie which also featured gremlins…
Guess who’s back? Yep, another superbly titled Rolls-Royce. A ‘wraith’ is defined as a faint ghostly image of someone that usually appears around the time of their death.
What that’s got to do exactly with a 600bhp+ V12 suicide-door’d coupe that looks like the sort of car Dracula would waft about it when feeling peckish, we’ve no idea. But the now-dead Wraith certainly kept up RR's reputation for naming excellence.
How do you get rid of a pesky demon? With an exorcist. So that’s all the excuse Texan horsepower addict John Hennessey needed to plumb 1,000bhp into a Chevy Camaro ZL1, giving the Dodge Demon a sworn enemy, and the annals of American muscle cars another superb name to add to the hall of fame.
Scary car. Lamborghini’s 1990’s V12 wedge was named after a 19th Century Spanish fighting bull which in turn was named diablo – the Spanish word for ‘devil’.
It’s for this reason that priests and members of the clergy are formally forbidden from owning this particular supercar, as to do so would be seen as a Satanic endorsement.
Have you ever seen a vicar in a Lamborghini Diablo? No? Well, there you go then.Advertisement - Page continues below
Alfa Romeo Spider
Cars have been named after big cats with sharp teeth, gnarly reptiles, and birds of prey. Humans are fascinated by nature’s killing machines.
But if you want a creature that will instil maximum primordial fear just by galumphing across the living room floor and disappearing under the sofa while you’re halfway through a nice cosy episode of The Great British Bake Off, then the most terrifying species on the planet is an ol’ incy-wincy.
So let’s end where we started off – with another ghostly Rolls-Royce. One that's as silent as the grave.
The Spectre is Rolls-Royce’s new coupe, which replaces the Wraith and points the direction forward for the Spirit of Ecstasy. Obviously, that's all-electric, but what's intoxicating about the first EV is how it remains every bit as indulgent and special as a Roller ought to be, despite swapping all those smoothly reciprocating pistons for a series of zeroes and ones. The future's not so scary, for Rolls-Royce at least.Advertisement - Page continues below