Luxury car aficionados are more than familiar with alphanumeric vehicle names like the BMW 650i Convertible or the Mercedes-Benz C300. Fancy cars need no fancy names, as they stand on the brand's reputation and the actual vehicle specs. Yet this hasn't always been the case. The mid-20th century saw an uptick in fun names for luxury cars. Take the Spyder, for example.
Some car manufacturers have dubbed their cars as 'Spiders' while others choose to use the edgier 'Spyder'. Alfa Romeo has used Spider throughout its history since the design and manufacture of prewar Alfa Romeo Spiders. Fiat has also been consistent in using the 'I' for its 124s. On the other hand, brands such as Lamborghini, Audi and Porsche use Spyder. Ferrari used Spyder for their early 250 GT California, but have since shifted to Spider.
The use of the term Spider can be traced back to horse-drawn carriages, like other automotive vocabulary. The spider was a lightweight carriage, and it was also called a spider phaeton. This horse drawn structure was not intended for cross-country exploration like other counterparts. It was intended for show and sports, and there were no permanent windows for protection. The spare body of the phaeton coupled with tall wheels gave the carriage a spider-like look.
When the automobile was developed and closed car bodies became popular, the alternative open cars became discretionary choices. Basically, the position of convertible and open cars was similar to that of the spider phaeton. The use of the borrowed term 'Spider' for these automobiles helped people understand the car design and purpose.
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