How 30 iconic car models got their names – 24/7 Wall St.
In 1955, famous modernist poet Marianne Moore was approached by the Ford Motor Company to help them come up with a name for a new line of cars the company was developing. His suggestions included Intelligent Bullet, Ford Fabergé, Anticipator, Astranaut, Pastelogram, Mongoose Civique, and Utopian Turtletop.
Unsurprisingly, none of his proposals found favor with Ford, and the company ended up calling the new car the Edsel, named after founder Henry Ford’s son Edsel B. Ford – with individual models wearing names as drab as Corsair, Pacer and Ranger. The Edsel lasted only three years and was one of the biggest flops in American business history. (Here are some of the most and least reliable car brands.)
The automakers themselves sometimes bear the names of their founders (not just Henry Ford, but Louis Chevrolet, Enzo Ferrari, and Soichiro Honda, among others). Other times, they are given nicknames meant to be evocative (Hyundai borrows its name from a Korean word meaning “modernity”; Volkswagen translates to “people’s car”), and on occasion, automakers have names which are basically generic (General Motors; BMW – meaning Bayerische Motoren Werke, or Bavarian Motor Works).
However, when it comes to individual models produced by these companies, the imagination is sometimes overflowing. The cars are named after animals, geographic locations, ships and planes, groups of people, and even fighting bulls.
Of course, some manufacturers play it safe and just use boring old letters and / or numbers. If you drive a Volvo, it could be a PV51, XC90 or C202. Your new Mercedes could be a GLC or an SL, unless you shelled out around $ 175,000 for a Maybach. (On the other hand, check these amazing cars of yesteryear.)
24/7 Wall St. compiled a list of some of the most iconic car models that bear actual names, and then researched the origins of those names through a variety of sources, including Road and track, Can and pilot, Motor trend, Driving authority, Automatic week, Between axles, GM Authority, Car name emblem, The news wheel, and Cherokee Forum, as well as many auto manufacturer and dealer websites.
Note that the years that cars were introduced in the United States refer to the year of sale, not the model year – that is, automakers typically introduce the model for each year l ‘last year.
Click here to see how 30 iconic car models got their name