This article, however, has one moment of sheer genius. Colapinto tells of a wide-ranging effort by the Ford Motor Company in 1957 to come up with the perfect name for a new mid-price car--and he reveals that Henry Ford wrote to, of all people, Marianne Moore to ask if she had any ideas. And Moore wrote back! Colapinto describes Moore's response perfectly:
Moore responded with a list of names that demonstrated a serene distance from the commercial marketplace: among them were Intelligent Bullet, Utopian Turtletop, Bullet Coisone, Pastelogram, Mongoose Civique, and Andante con Moto.It's no surprise that Moore chose some animal names; I'd like to see the whole list--maybe there's hedgehog or two on there. Unsurprisingly, Ford didn't take Moore up on any of her suggestions . . . instead they named the car the Edsel.
I would suggest that car companies looking for ideas today turn not to poet's imaginations, but to their actual names. Imagine a stately town car called an Eliot; a beast of a motorcycle named Lord Rochester; a convertible called the Herrick. Detroit, I'm reachable at the e-mail address in the sidebar if you want more.