Who here likes planets? I know I do—hell, I even live on one! I suspect there’s many fellow planet-enthusiasts out there, which is why I decided to do this: try and find cars named for every planet in our solar system, including our disrespected pal, the dwarf planet Pluto. Aside from a couple of well-known examples, this was trickier than you’d expect. And now we’ve got it all for you in an animation. Nothing but the best for you!
Since you, my charming, attractive readers are too good for some simple text-based list that a miserable animal could slap out on a keyboard, I made you a chart of my findings:
If you want a link to it nice and big, you can click right here.
And, even better, we’ve just taken the time to take that static, immobile chart and dyna-hyper-transform it into a moving, living breathing animation! All because we love you so! Hot damn!
By far the best known of these are two now-defunct American car brands, Ford’s Mercury and GM’s Saturn. Mercury also provided a sort-of entry for the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, the Mercury Meteor.
Oh, and I know it’s only a meteor/meteorite if it enters an atmosphere, geeks, so save it.
The next reasonably well-known car is probably the Jowett Jupiter, a wonderful little British sports car that used a front-mounted flat-four engine. Earth I had to cheat a bit on, using the Latin name for Earth, which also happens to be the name of a Nissan, the Terra. Not the XTerra like we had, but just Terra, which is a Chinese-market Nissan.
Plunging deeper into obscurity are the only two other series-produced planet-named cars, the early, wicker-bodied British three-wheeled cyclecar called a Mars, built in low numbers from 1904 to 1905, and an appealing German cyclecar/sports car called Pluto, built in the mid-to-late 1920s.
The Pluto was actually named for the Greek god of the underworld, since that whole company lived and died before the planet Pluto was discovered in 1930. The company had a fantastic radiator badge, though, as you can see above.
The remaining planets have to make do with one-offs: Venus gets an interesting fibreglass one-off made by Texans in 1954, and the other gas giants, Uranus and Neptune, both get foreign-named concept cars: the striking Chinese LvCHi Urano concept from this year’s Geneva Motor Show, and a 2009 Renault concept, also quite dramatic, called the Neptun.
This article has been updated since its original publication.