Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Utopian Turtletop

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On October 19th of 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. Said Young in his initial letter:
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, beginning October 21st, she sent to Ford a number of lists of delightful names, all of which I've compiled in a single list below, ordered chronologically. Her final suggestion, sent to Young on December 8th, was the amazing, "Utopian Turtletop."

Incredibly, Ford ignored all of Moore's ideas and instead named their new car, "Edsel." It flopped.

(Source: Letters from and to the Ford Motor Company; Image: Marianne Moore in 1935, via Wikipedia.)

  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