What’s In A Name? Nothing, If I Can’t Remember It
By Janis Hirsch
I used to have an Infiniti but I kept forgetting. Not where I parked it. I kept forgetting what kind of car it was. I’d look at the steering wheel, see something that looked like an upside down slice of watermelon with a wedge cut out of it and I STILL didn’t know. Maybe some enterprising math teacher has the copyright on the actual sign for infinity or maybe the designer thought a literal representation of the name would be too obvious, but either way, I couldn’t remember what kind of car I drove even as I was driving it.
Cars that use a stylized version of their first initial on their badge? Thank you for the clue. Cars that slap all their initials on their badge? Was that so hard? And cars that use their whole names as part of their logo? I love each and every one of you for playing directly to me, the lowest common denominator.
Gear-heads can look at a car whizzing past them at 70 and know the make, the model and year. Granted, I can do that with plastic surgery patients whizzing past me who ARE 70 – I know the doctor, the procedure and judging by the size of their sunglasses I can tell you within 12 hours when they went under the knife.
But I’m an independent, self-sufficient VroomGirl. I want to know at least as much about what people are driving as I do about why people can’t close their eyes.
Granted, certain car makes and models don’t need explaining. Remember the Plymouth Valiant? I get it. You want me to think of my car as my knight in shining armor. That’s a good, strong image… unless you’ve actually seen a Plymouth Valiant. Or their famous old muscle car, the Barracuda. Again, it looked nothing like that big ugly fish with the mean face and rows and rows of fangs, but the implication is there so I’ll let it slide.
Let’s look at Bentleys: don’t lean against them unless you’re planning on buying one but looking is free. The Azure? A beautiful name evoking the Mediterranean and meaning bright blue, although it does come in cream and several shades of black. But their Arnage and Mulsanne? Sure, once I Googled them and found that those were towns near the famous race mecca Le Mans I understood but how about an alternate name for those of us who consider exotic travel a long weekend in Tucson?
Like, the Bentley “Nicer Than My House.” Or the Bentley “I Should Only Be This Pretty.” Both accurate, both elicit images of everything that the Bentley brand is.
What about all those auto manufacturers who assign their models various letters and numbers? I loved my Volvo but had no idea what Series I owned. Or my son’s BMW? I know there’s a capital letter and at least one number after that but come on: I can’t remember my Amazon password and it’s my middle name, how the hell am I supposed to remember random numbers and letters?