A grammar debate earlier this morning brought up a curious problem. If marketing executives get paid to intentionally spell incorrectly, is it our duty to correct them? Is the spelling truly incorrect? Our fans like to hit us with the hardest questions to test our automotive knowledge and the argument between the “spider” and “spyder” always seems to come up.
Mechanical questions are easy, but diving into spelling and semantics can be tricky. Our showroom is one of the few places you will find an Audi R8 V10 Spyder in close proximity to a Ferrari 360 Spider. English is Germanic in origin, so why does Audi choose to be different? Several theories exist as to how the insect became automotive.
Before gasoline powered our commute, a Spider was a two person carriage with a convertible roof. More than just a Surrey with a fringe on top, it had four bows holding the fabric, with two straps on each bow. This made the top look like 8 legs of a spider hanging over the small body. It had to be open to the breeze because the exhaust fumes from horses can ruin a nice evening. Porsche was the first manufacturer to release a “Spyder” on the iconic 550 Spyder. Chevrolet must have seen a parallel between Porsche’s air-cooled sports car and their own, because it was bestowed upon turbocharged Corvairs as the “Corvair Monza Spyder”. Things got worse when the Monza was resurrected as a re-skinned Vega, and its hardtop version was the 1976-80 “Monza Spyder” That’s right, Chevy used a great name on a disco-era rust bucket. If you can’t afford a Porsche 918 Spyder, Lamborghini built a topless version of the Gallardo at a much more reasonable price and used the “spyder” moniker on that one.
But Spider has remained synonymous with Italian performance, and that might be for another reason altogether. A conversation on ClubScuderia sheds some light on English translations. Italians might pronounce Spyder as “Speeder” meaning a fast car. It is probably irrelevant at this point because everyone from Alfa to Zagato have built Spiders and Spyders, so here are just a few from our dealers: