What is a “haiga” car? Where did the term come from?

First of all, the term “haiga” may seem like a bad conjugation of the verb “to have”, and it is. In fact, you have probably heard it from someone whose speech is not the most sonorous or the best in terms of grammar. However, the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) does accept this curious word as Spanishism in its language dictionary.

This acceptance has its roots in the postwar era in Spain, a time when a part of the population got rich by dealing in black market dealing. There are those who also point to the famous “indianos”, who, upon their return to Spain after visiting the Americas, came with a good fortune under their arms. These, even with a good eye for doing business of dubious legality and increasing the value of their assets, in practice were illiterate and lacked education.

Returning to bad speech, as a result of this situation, other errors arose in speech such as “asín”, “arradio”, “amoto”, “me se”, and of course, “haiga”, a word that brings us to the topic. from today. One of the things we want to do when having good cash flow is buy. And what’s one of the first things you do when you make a lot, a lot of money? Well, if you moderately like cars, you probably you will buy the most luxurious and striking one on saleNo?

A car or a mistake?

During the 1950s, as there was not a wide variety of cars for sale in our country, those aspiring to buy one simply asked the salesperson “the biggest there is”. And for so many trained salespeople and people with “slurries” when speaking; Thus, in a colloquial and ironic use, “haiga” is registered by the RAE as a “very large and ostentatious automobile, usually of North American origin”.

Remember that it was at the end of the 50s and beginning of the 60s when some cars imported from the other side of the Atlantic began to arrive in Spain, many of them accompanied by their owners who were returning to their country after exile due to the Civil War. And something very Spanish is to rub against your neighbor what you own. At first you will remember the Dodge that left Eduardo Barreíros’ factory.

As we said, the most outstanding “haiga” were the models Dodge Dart built by Barreiros, known as “The haiga of Francoism”. With the passage of time, the “haigas” of national origin stopped being seen as surprising vehicles, especially due to a cultural advance in the country that removed the errors of this speech with a more cultured, prepared and educated population.

But, even so, while the RAE perpetuates the haiga concept, it will remain in the imagination of many generations of drivers. It must also be said that, further away from the sales of Villaverde’s Dodge, American brands such as Chevrolet, Buick, Chrysler either cadillac They continued to attract the attention of the new rich while becoming the object of irony or ridicule of their compatriots, perhaps with some shame or unhealthy envy. In a very short time, the term “haiga” was postulated as a quick and easy way to define the huge American sedans, very different from the national and European automobile fleet of the time. Because it was the biggest, most expensive and the best that “haiga”.

In essence, before you bought a “haiga” and now you buy an SUV.

(NOTE: Article originally published on 5/23/2022, corrected and expanded)

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