Why are some convertibles called "spyders"?

What is the origin of calling a convertible car, such the latest Mitsubishi Eclipse, a “spyder” or “spider”? I’ve usually only noticed this on foreign cars.

It may resemble a very celebrated earlier model in some Porsche, er, portion.

I believe spider is an Italian (pronounced Eye-talian) pseudoword for “speeder”. You might think it is funny or even ridiculous but turn it around: I believe there is an SUV “pajero” which, more or less, in Spanish means “masturbator”. :slight_smile:
I guess they are just running out of words to name new vehicles

I heard about that about 15 years ago, only then the slang was from (Brazilian) Portugese slang. The vehicle was from Mistubishi (“Mitsubishi Masturbator” actually has a nice ring to it), and I thought it was named “Montero”… until I tried to look up the “real” name. Guess what? It is called the “Pajero” in some places! http://www.mitsubishi-motors.co.jp/PRODUCTSS/pajero.html

I searched infoseek for “pajero” and “masturbator” with no hits. Then I tried misspelling “masterbater”. One hit. There was a footnote, but it turned out that the page author received the information via e-mail. Sounds like an Urban Legend. Then I searched “masterbates” and “pajero”. One hit. The Alternative Spanish Dictionary http://www.notam.uio.no/~hcholm/altlang/ht/Spanish.html has this to say:

“I must leave this planet, if only for an hour.” – Antoine de St. Exupéry

Are you a turtle?

I owned a Fiat Spyder about thirty years ago. It was a neat two-seater sports car (until the electrical system started falling abart after about eighteen months, but that’s another story).

ok, totally off topic but…

Montero is a Spanish word derived from monte, hill, bush, small mountain, uncultivated terrain, and means a person who is there, originally a ranger, today more like a hunter.

Paja means “straw” and is slang for masturbation. I have no idea if there is any connection but I cannot imagine it. Pajero is derived from paja.

i, for one, am still interested in the question. don’t we have any car afficianados amongst the teeming millions who can answer this definitively? don’t make me have to do research myself.


Car term Glossary

In the early 1900s, a light two-seater car. In the 1950s the word was revived by some Italian manufacturers for an open two seater sports car.”

Alfa Romeo- Spider
"So just how did Alfa Romeo’s open two-seaters come to be called Spiders?

It all goes back to the days when horse power, not horsepower, ruled the road. A ‘spider’ was a light, four-wheeled horsedrawn carriage with a compact passenger compartment and uncommonly high wheels. It was more properly called a ‘spider-phaeton’ and was one of the more dashing vehicles in the equine cart-park."

For more on the origin of the term check out the Alfa Romeo site linked above.