My first car was a ’49 Ford. That was it. Just Ford. If the trend toward naming cars after cities had begun, it might have been called the ’49 Ford Fresno. But, no…just Ford. Other popular cars were Chevy, Plymouth, and so on. Most didn’t have an extra name – with some exceptions. The Buick Roadmaster comes to mind.
Durango is a city nestled in the mountains of southwest Colorado. It is one of several towns which, today, have cars named for them. Dodge chose the name for its versatile sports utility vehicle, to reflect the character, strength, and durability of this city of classic beauty. Also, because the alliteration sounds good.
Of the cities we could think of without looking it up, most of them are west of the Mississippi, one is ON the Mississippi, that being LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Buick named one of their newer and more expensive sedans after LaCrosse, because it sounds classy and because a lot of old people live in LaCrosse. Another takes us all the way to the east coast, Chrysler New Yorker. Buick chose to name a car after just one street in New York, the Park Avenue. Cities in the Southwest seemed to be famous for which cars are named. Two are in Arizona; Hyundai’s Tucson and the Kia Sedona. New Mexico’s Santa Fe is Hyundai’s’ larger version of the Tucson SUV – even though Santa Fe is a smaller city than Tucson. Two west coast cities have cars named for them: Tacoma, Washington, and Malibu, California. Tacoma’s a small truck, Malibu a mid-sized Chevy.
We tried to think of any cars named for cities farther east than LaCrosse, and all we came up with was Dodge Daytona and the now-defunct Chrysler New Yorker. Austin-Healy makes a “Cambridge,” but I don’t think it is named after the place in Massachusetts. It seems there is some sort of prejudicial automotive nomenclature going on here. But, when you think of it, it is hard to think of cities in the East that would sound good as car names. Imagine parking a Mazda Buffalo in your driveway, or pulling up to a stop light in a Ford Philadelphia.
I’ve often thought a dream job would be thinking up the colors of cars – sparkling graphite, moondust gold, sierra dream red, coconut white, etc. I think it would also be fun to think up the car names. Let’s try it, with eastern U.S. cities. I’ll name a few. The Cadillac Cleveland, The Toyota Tampa, The Ford Miami, The Nissan Newark. Alliterations aside, how about the Chevrolet Bloomington or the Acura Charleston? Hmm… .all a bit bland.I’m starting to think cities west of the Mississippi sound best for car names. Although there could be some notable exceptions. Imagine driving a Toyota Tombstone, a Chevy Walla Walla, or a Kia Copperopolis (yes there is a city in California with that name.)