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.
- The Ford Silver Sword
- Hurricane Hirundo (swallow)
- Hurricane Aquila (eagle)
- Hurricane Accipter (hawk)
- The Impeccable
- The Resilient Bullet
- Intelligent Bullet
- Bullet Cloisoné
- Bullet Lavolta
- The Intelligent Whale
- 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)
- The Arc-en-Ciel (the rainbow)
- Mongoose Civique
- Regna Racer (couronne a couronne) sovereign to sovereign
- Fée Rapide (Aerofee, Aero Faire, Fee Aiglette, Magi-faire) Comme Il Faire
- Tonnere Alifère (winged thunder)
- Aliforme Alifère (wing-slender a-wing)
- Turbotorc (used as an adjective by Plymouth)
- Thunderbird Allié (Cousin Thunderbird)
- Thunder Crester
- Dearborn Diamanté
- Taper Racer
- Varsity Stroke
- Tir á l’arc (bull’s eye)
- Cresta Lark
- Triskelion (three legs running)
- Pluma Piluma (hairfine, feather-foot)
- Adante con Moto (description of a good motor?)
- Turcotinga (turqoise cotinga—the cotinga being a South-American finch or sparrow) solid indigo.
- Utopian Turtletop
Source of lists and FoMoCo letter: Lists Of Note
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