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Cars from the Stars – Vehicles Named After Stars, Planets and Celestial Bodies

Chris Kaiser

Some look to utility or price or design to decide what car to buy. Others look to the stars to guide them. For all you astronomy fans, we’ve compiled a list of the cars named after stars.

Look Up, Just Not While You’re Driving

If you’re into astronomy, one of the larger gravitational pulls toward a particular vehicle might be the celestial associations of its name. Car companies like naming their cars after animals, take the Tiburon (Spanish for shark), the Mustang, or the Cougar as examples. They like naming them after towns in the American southwest, like the Tucson and Santa Fe. They even like using the names of trees, like the Sequoia. However, the most popular names throughout the decades have been interstellar in nature.

Subaru Impreza hatchback with galaxy vinyl wrap - gatorwraps.com
Subaru Impreza hatchback with galaxy vinyl wrap - gatorwraps.com

And it’s not limited to model names, either. Whole companies have chosen to brand themselves after heavenly objects. Take Subaru, named after a cluster of stars in the Taurus constellation, or Mercury and Saturn, after the planets, or even Geo, after our own planet Earth. Whether it’s make or model, we love cars named after stars, planets, and celestial bodies. Here’s a rundown of our favorites.

Pontiac Solstice

2009 Pontiac Solstice - carsforsale.com
2009 Pontiac Solstice - carsforsale.com

The summer and winter solstices mark the longest and shortest days of the year (as determined by the amount of sunlight). The Pontiac Solstice was a short-lived two-seat roadster built by GM from 2005-09 (model years 2006-10). The Saturn Sky was produced using the same Kappa platform as the Solstice.

Chevrolet Equinox

2020 Chevrolet Equinox - carsforsale.com
2020 Chevrolet Equinox - carsforsale.com

The spring and fall equinoxes occur when light from the sun is equal between day and night. The Chevrolet Equinox is a two-row crossover first introduced in 2004. It’s known for its balance of affordability, quality, and sterling practicality (it is a crossover after all).

Toyota Celica

1994 Toyota Celica GT-Four - carsforsale.com
1994 Toyota Celica GT-Four - carsforsale.com

Celica comes from the Latin word for celestial. The Toyota Celica was a long running nameplate for Toyota. The 2-door coupe was produced from 1970 to 2006. It was also a champion rally car in the short-lived Group B in the mid-1980s.

Ford Galaxie

1963 Ford Galaxie - carsforsale.com
1963 Ford Galaxie - carsforsale.com

Why Ford chose to spell this with an “ie” rather than a “y” is a mystery. Perhaps they thought it looked cooler that way (it doesn’t). A galaxy is a cluster of stars gravitationally bound together, usually around a massive black hole at its center. The Galaxie was Ford’s answer to the Chevrolet Impala. It was produced from 1958 to 1974. The first generation Skyline trim featured an option for a pretty nifty retractable hard top.

Chevrolet Nova

1969 Chevrolet Nova - carsforsale.com
1969 Chevrolet Nova - carsforsale.com

Nova are “brightened” stars produced by the interaction between a larger star and a white dwarf star in a binary star system. Supernova are larger, cataclysmic events involving the death and collapse of large stars, sometimes resulting in the creation of a block hole. The Chevy Nova was a compact car built on the X-body platform and produced between 1961 and 1988. The Nova came in a variety of body styles including sedan, wagon, coupe, and convertible.

Ford Taurus

2016 Ford Taurus SHO - carsforsale.com
2016 Ford Taurus SHO - carsforsale.com

Taurus is a constellation of stars, some of which comprise the Pleiades cluster a.k.a. the Subaru cluster in Japanese. The Ford Taurus was a mid- and full-size sedan produced between 1985 and 2019. The Taurus was a best-seller for Ford, with over eight million produced in North America alone.

Chevrolet Vega

1974 Chevrolet Vega - carsforsale.com
1974 Chevrolet Vega - carsforsale.com

Vega is a star in the Lyra constellation. The Chevrolet Vega was a subcompact two-door produced between 1970 and 1977. The promotional launch of the Vega was overseen by none other than DMC-12 creator John DeLorean and sold just over two million units in its seven year run.

Toyota Camry Solara

2007 Toyota Camry Solara - carsforsale.com
2007 Toyota Camry Solara - carsforsale.com

Solara directly translates from Latin as “of the sun.” The Camry Solara was a two-door coupe/convertible version of the popular Camry produced between 1998 and 2008.

Mercury Comet

1966 Mercury Comet - carsforsale.com
1966 Mercury Comet - carsforsale.com

A comet is a ball of frozen gas, ice, dust, and rock; they are often remnant debris left over from the formation of the solar system. The Mercury Comet was a sedan produced between 1960 and 1977. It came as a two- and four-door sedan and as a station wagon. It came with a number of engine options over the years, the largest of which was a 7.0L V8 in the fourth generation.

Mitsubishi Eclipse

1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder - carsforsale.com
1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder - carsforsale.com

An eclipse occurs when the light of sun, moon, or other object is obscured by another object. The Mitsubishi Eclipse was a sports car produced between 1989 and 2011. Though it survived through four generations and numerous updates, we’re partial to the first generation and its pop-up headlights. The Mitsubishi resurrected the Eclipse name in 2017 for the Eclipse Cross which is, you guessed it, a compact crossover.

Nissan Pulsar

1991 Nissan Pulsar GTI-R - carsforsale.com
1991 Nissan Pulsar GTI-R - carsforsale.com

A pulsar is a neutron star that emits electromagnetic radiation from its poles. Because these stars spin so fast their light pulses, hence the name. The Nissan Pulsar was a subcompact and compact hatchback produced from 1978 to 2005 and revived in 2013. During its early run, the Pulsar’s name varied depending on the market and also went under names including the “Cherry,” the “Langly,” the “Sunny,” the “Sentra,” and it was sold as the Datsun 310 in the US.

Ford Aerostar

1994 Ford Aerostar - carsforsale.com
1994 Ford Aerostar - carsforsale.com

The Ford Aerostar and its successor the Windstar/Freestar were family friendly minivans. The former was produced from 1985 to 1997 and then followed by the Windstar/Freestar from 1994 to 2007. The reason for combining Aero/Wind/Free with stars is anyone’s guess.

Nissan Xterra

2015 Nissan Xterra PRO-4X - carsforsale.com
2015 Nissan Xterra PRO-4X - carsforsale.com

Terra is Latin for Earth. The Xterra was not, as you might reasonably guess, an extraterrestrially derived crossover from Nissan. At least I don’t think so. The Xterra was produced from 1999 to 2015. Our favorite design elements include the beefy fender flares and oddly proportioned passenger and rear windows.

Lotus Europa

1974 Lotus Europa - carsforsale.com
1974 Lotus Europa - carsforsale.com

Europa is one of Jupiter’s moons. The Lotus Europa was also a sports car made by the Lotus corporation from 1966 to 1975. It was best known for its super low profile and oddly styled rear deck (due in part to its mid-engine set up).

Pontiac Star Chief

1957 Pontiac Star Chief - carsforsale.com
1957 Pontiac Star Chief - carsforsale.com

Star Chief sounds like Star-Lord’s real-real dad (no way it was that evil planet-dude Ego played by Kurt Russel or some guy who can’t spell named J’son). The Pontiac Star Chief has become equally obscure over time, but in its day it was a full-size chrome classic sedan made by GM from 1954 through 1966.

Saturn Astra

2008 Saturn Astra XE - carsforsale.com
2008 Saturn Astra XE - carsforsale.com

Astra is the plural form of astrum which is Latin for star. The Astra name was used extensively by GM for related compact cars including ones from Opel and Chevrolet and by Holden and Vauxhall. There was a whole lot of cross-pollination and badge swapping involved, but we don’t have time, space or attention span to get into it all here. Suffice to say, there were a lot of very similar cars all named the Astra. The Saturn Astra replaced the Ion in their lineup and ran from 2008 to 2010, when GM folded the brand. The Saturn Astra was succeeded by the Buick Verano in 2012.

Studebaker Starlight

1949 Studebaker Starlight - carsforsale.com
1949 Studebaker Starlight - carsforsale.com

The Studebaker Starlight was a classic 1950s two-door coupe made between 1947 and 1952. After that, the names Starlight and Starliner were shifted to designate coupe variations of the Champion and Commander models.

Dodge Polara

1963 Dodge Polara - carsforsale.com
1963 Dodge Polara - carsforsale.com

Polara refers to Polaris, otherwise known as the pole or North star. The Dodge Polara was a full-size two-door car produced between 1960 and 1973. The naming convention was a dig at the direct competition, the Ford Galaxie.

Dodge Aries

1984 Dodge Aries K - carsforsale.com
1984 Dodge Aries K - carsforsale.com

Aries is a constellation and astrological sign. The Dodge Aries (also cross/re-badged as the Plymouth Reliant) was the first of Chrysler’s K cars. It ran from model years 1981 to 1989. The compact Aries/Reliant was designed to be a smaller, lighter, more fuel-efficient alternative to the gas-guzzling behemoths of the 1960s and ‘70s, and along with the rest of Chrysler’s K cars, is credited with saving the company from financial ruin.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2014 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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Chris Kaiser
Chris Kaiser

Chris’ greatest passions include topiary, spelunking, and pushing aging compact cars well past 200,000 miles on cross-country road trips. His taste in cars runs from the classic and esoteric to the deeply practical with an abiding affection for VW Things, old Studebakers, and all things hybrid-crossover.

  • 1

10 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Steve May 18, 2017

    does the Aerostar qualify?

    Reply
    1. Carsforsale.com Team
      Carsforsale.com Team April 6, 2020

      This could work as well!

  2. Avatar
    Steve May 18, 2017

    How about the M3

    Reply
    1. Carsforsale.com Team
      Carsforsale.com Team April 6, 2020

      Could work!

  3. Avatar
    Steve May 19, 2017

    Cirrus, Stratus, Strato Chief, Aurora, Solstice, Sunfire, Astra (From astralis meaning of the stars), Equinox, M37, M45, M35, M56

    Reply
    1. Carsforsale.com Team
      Carsforsale.com Team April 6, 2020

      This is great, thanks for sharing Steve!

  4. Avatar
    Emmett April 3, 2020

    Nissan made a Pulsar model back in the day .

    Reply
    1. Carsforsale.com Team
      Carsforsale.com Team April 6, 2020

      Interesting… thanks for sharing!

  5. Avatar
    Anestis September 5, 2020

    Nissan Pulsar?

    Reply
    1. Carsforsale.com Team
      Carsforsale.com Team September 8, 2020

      Another great one!

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