Car names have always fascinated me.  Brands yes, but particularly model names.  There have been countless quirky ones over time, and many that have stood the test of time. 

Did you know one of the names under consideration for what became the Edsel was “Utopian Turtletop?”  Whatever that is.  Shelby’s Cobra was and remains perfect for that iconic roadster.  So many of the Italian car names have the rhythm and the romance that goes along with that language:
De Tomaso Pantera always sounded good on my ear.  Ferrari had the SuperFast and the SuperAmerica.  Mustang was an inspired choice for Ford’s world-changing pony car in 1965.  Thunderbird was another particularly brilliant naming choice.

De Tomaso Pantera – ©2020 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

In the mid-50s Dodge began to backhandedly acknowledge how important women are in the automotive purchase and ownership process, so they developed a special model tailored (or so they thought) to “Her Majesty, the American Woman.” 

This full-sized luxury two-door hardtop came only in the two-tone paint combination of Sapphire White and Heather Rose (aka pink) and the exterior model badging was gold plated.  The cabin was heavily brocaded, riffing on the same color palette as the exterior. 

Each car came with a special purse outfitted with all sorts of cosmetic aids, a wallet, coin purse, and a cigarette lighter. The car also contained its own raincoat, bonnet, and umbrella in a special rear seat storage compartment.  Dodge condescendingly named it the La Femme.

As you might guess, the La Femme La Failed for a variety of reasons.  The first and most likely is that the entire concept was patronizing beyond words.  A handful of women may have appreciated it, but the rest stayed away in droves.  And men simply wouldn’t drive them. 

1955 Dodge Royal Lancer La Femme- Source: Mecum Auctions

Less than 2500 La Femmes were made during the car’s mercifully short two-year production run (1955-56) before this ill-conceived model option and name were put to rest.  Forever.

A couple of more recent naming choices equally confound me.  For decades, Mercedes-Benz model names clearly conveyed the series and model and the engine displacement.  You may recall back in the 60s that Mercedes-Benz minted the original super sedan, called the 300 SEL 6.3, which denoted its exceptional, powerful, hand-built 6.3-liter engine.  When the engine’s displacement was raised to around 6.9-liters, the car was renamed and rebadged as the 6.9.

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By: Matt Stone
Title: What’s in a Name?
Sourced From:
Published Date: Mon, 12 Apr 2021 09:02:23 +0000

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