HomeCar TipsDolphins, Coffins, Sharks and Crab Hondas? Where Do They Get These Names...

Dolphins, Coffins, Sharks and Crab Hondas? Where Do They Get These Names From?

Malaysia’s car culture is a unique bunch and has fostered a heterogeneous range of car owners. With such a wide range of selections, you’ll eventually get a mix-mash of different cultures merged into one. One such example can be found among Honda enthusiasts. You may have heard people calling the tenth-generation Honda Civic sedan, the Honda ketam. Other models may range from Honda dolphin, Honda mayat, and Honda jerung. The new generation of Honda enthusiasts must be wondering – how and where do these cars get their nicknames from? 

Honda Civic EG6/ Honda Dolphin

Honda Dolphin or Honda Civic EG6 HatchbackMalaysia has been blessed with an abundance of seafood choices in our cuisines. Perhaps being spoiled by so many selections is why we colloquially name some of our cars based on fishes. The Honda Dolphin got its name from the Honda Civic EG hatchback. It is a three-door economy hatchback from the fifth-generation Civic produced from 1991 to 1995. The name Honda dolphin, came about due to a local colloquial nickname supposedly the silhouette and the sloping nose design of the car resembles the head of a dolphin.

This hatchback stands out as a fan favorite not just for its powerful and high-revving, naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine, but also for its sleek looks. The Honda Dolphin served as a gateway for a platform offering affordable horsepower with excellent handling capabilities on the road and track. Aftermarket options are endless ranging from engine swaps to wide-body kits to gander from. 

Its portrayal in Initial D, Fast and Furious, and the Kanjozoku racing gangs in Japan caused demand to soar through the roof. Mint, factory-conditioned Honda Dolphins are worth a small fortune to hardcore Honda enthusiasts in Malaysia because of this. 

Honda Civic EF/ Honda Mayat Honda Mayat, or Honda Civic EF Hatchback

Malaysia is not strange to superstitions, even in cars. Some communities can be drastic in their measures. From strongly against having the number four plastered anywhere on their car, to avoiding buying certain vehicle segments because it resembles something inauspicious. Perhaps belief is the biggest reason why station wagons aren’t popular here due to their association with funeral hearses. But nevertheless, the fourth-generation Honda Civic EF hatchback is commonly referred to as the Honda mayat in Malaysia. The term “Mayat” refers to a corpse in Bahasa Malaysia.  

The Honda Mayat got its name due to its angular and boxy design, which some say resembles a coffin on four wheels. This fourth-generation Civic was produced from 1988 to 1991 and had a distinct square-shaped design commonly found on Japanese bubble economy-era cars. 

Honda Accord SV4/ Honda JerungHonda Jerung or Honda Accord 5th Generation

Did you know we have sharks in tropical Malaysian waters and on the streets? No, not loan sharks, but the seventh-generation Honda Accord. You might see them as just another cheap old Honda sedan on the road. This seventh-generation Accord was the big brother of the Civic and was produced from 2002 to 2008 locally in Malaysia. 

Honda Jerung's silhouette looks like a shark

The name, Honda jerung comes from the shark in Bahasa Malaysia, and this sedan got its nickname due to its streamlined body design. Under the hood can be had with two power plants – a 2.0L and a 2.2L naturally aspirated, four-cylinder engine that is famous for its high revving capabilities in stock form. However, the caveat of the jerung’s stock engine is a lack of spare parts available which is why owners perform engine swaps to the more famous K and B-series engines. 

Although not as popular as their coffin and crustacean cousins, the Honda jerung does provide an edge in motorsports and it is still considered to be a desirable modern classic today. 

Honda Civic FC/ Honda Ketam 

11th Generation Honda Civic or Civic KetamThe Ketam Civic is the latest nickname bestowed to the tenth generation of the Honda Civic. Unlike the two previous predecessors in which nicknames were only given to the hatchback models, the nickname stuck with the sedan offering in Malaysia. Oddly enough, the Civic gets its crustacean title due to its taillights resembling… prawns? It is unknown why Honda ketam struck on, perhaps with ketam sounding much better to pronounce. Other sources say the silhouette of the sedan looks like the exoskeleton of a crab and the taillights resemble a pair of crab claws. 

Honda Ud- I mean Ketam

It should be called Honda udang. Why do people call it Honda ketam instead? 

Nevertheless, the Honda ketam isn’t just famous for its merits. The tenth generation is the first Civic in its line to bear a turbocharged engine from the factory. Furthermore, unlike its predecessors, Honda has revamped their brand image into a semi-luxury brand. Gone were the days when their cars were viewed as a cheap economy car brand trying to enter Formula 1. The crab is the go-to choice if you can’t afford a Mercedes C-Class or a BMW 3-series. 

Even after decades since the Civic dolphin, mayat and, jerung’s discontinuation, these cars still turn heads on the streets and parking lots. Their value is also increasing due to demand as these old cars are overengineered for their time plus it reminds owners of the old cars their parents used to drive.

With the 11th generation Civic now released, what would you call it to join the club of 20,000 Hondas Under the Sea? Let us know in the comments below! 



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