And the winner of the most ridiculous name ever slapped onto an American car goes to………may I have the envelop please………………The 1957 Checker Drive-R-Matic Adapt-O-Mobile Special.

Yes this is the name of a Checker introduced outside of the taxicab market as the manufacture started its market expansion program of the late 1950’s.

Now the name is truly odd, but naming cars are always a challenge. At the same time Checker was developing the Model A8 in 1955,  Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Marianne Moore, was approached by a Mr. Robert Young of the Ford Motor Company and asked to assist them in naming a new series of cars.

In Young’s initial letter to Moore, he said “We should like this name to be more than a label. Specifically, we should like it to have a compelling quality in itself and by itself. To convey, through association or other conjuration, some visceral feeling of elegance, fleetness, advanced features and design. A name, in short, that flashes a dramatically desirable picture in people’s minds”.

Moore agreed, and over the coming weeks, she sent to Ford a number of suggestions, her final suggestion was the mindboggling, “Utopian Turtletop.” (see complete list at the end of blog text)

Now credit to Ford Motors for never using any of Ms. Moore’s suggested names.  That said one must wonder: Did Moore’s list get to Checker?

At least Mr. Markin and company did not name the Adapt-O-Mobile the Utopian Adapt-O-Mobile Turtletop!

Now some perspective on the car:  a standard Checker with various features and functions that would allow for use as an Ambulance or mini bus.  Seats could be removed to allow for a stretcher or added such as the bench jump seat that allowed for an extra 9th passenger in place of the jump seats.



Moores suggestions to Ford:

  1. The Ford Silver Sword
  2. Hirundo
  3. Aerundo
  4.  Hurricane Hirundo (swallow)
  5.  Hurricane Aquila (eagle)
  6. Hurricane Accipter (hawk)
  7. The Impeccable
  8. Symmechromatic
  9. Thunderblender
  10. The Resilient Bullet
  11. Intelligent Bullet
  12. Bullet Cloisoné
  13. Bullet Lavolta
  14. The Intelligent Whale
  15. The Ford Fabergé (That there is also a perfume Fabergé seems to me to do no harm, for here allusion is to the original silversmith)
  16. The Arc-en-Ciel (the rainbow)
  17. Arcenciel
  18. Mongoose Civique
  19. Anticipator
  20. Regna Racer (couronne a couronne) sovereign to sovereign
  21. Aeroterre
  22. Fée Rapide (Aerofee, Aero Faire, Fee Aiglette, Magi-faire) Comme Il Faire
  23. Tonnere Alifère (winged thunder)
  24. Aliforme Alifère (wing-slender a-wing)
  25. Turbotorc (used as an adjective by Plymouth)
  26. Thunderbird Allié (Cousin Thunderbird)
  27. Thunder Crester
  28. Dearborn Diamanté
  29. Magigravure
  30. Pastelogram
  31. Regina-Rex
  32. Taper Racer
  33. Varsity Stroke
  34. Angelastro
  35. Astranaut
  36. Chaparral
  37. Tir á l’arc (bull’s eye)
  38. Cresta Lark
  39. Triskelion (three legs running)
  40. Pluma Piluma (hairfine, feather-foot)
  41. Adante con Moto (description of a good motor?)
  42. Turcotinga (turqoise cotinga—the cotinga being a South-American finch or sparrow) solid indigo.
  43. Utopian Turtletop

Source of lists and FoMoCo letter:  Lists Of Note

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