This List of Top Car Baby Names Will Amuse, and Possibly Inspire, You04/10/2020
Congratulations! You’re expecting a child! I hear it’s a lot of work, so good luck with all that.
Also not easy, I’ve been told: Choosing an appropriate name for your kid. Social scientists are still trying to figure out exactly how a given name impacts an individual’s life outcome—it’s a complicated thing with a lot of cultural factors swirling around it—but you really want to do your best to get it right.
Given that you’re reading Autoweek right now, you obviously like cars. Have you considered turning to an automotive marque or model for inspiration?
The folks at choosemycar.com, apparently branching out into the lucrative (?) baby name selection biz, have compiled a list of the 10 most and least common car-derived names for boys and girls in both the U.S. and the U.K. since the year 2000.
I don’t want to give everything away, but here are the top car names for boys and girls in the U.S., along with the number of children given each name:
Obviously, you’ll also want to check out the uncommon names, which include the likes of Audi, Ford, Jaguar and Cadillac. The transatlantic crossover is fascinating, as well. Morgan tops the list for girls on both sides of the Atlantic.
But this collection raises a lot of questions. What constitutes a “car name,” for example? A huge number of automakers have come and gone over the past century-plus, and an awful lot of them were christened in honor of their founders (typically their last name). Some are so common—like the Thomas Motor Co., founded by E.R. Thomas—that they didn’t even make the list.
With that in mind, I suspect that most people in the U.S., and a good chunk of those in the U.K., didn’t even consider the automotive association when choosing a name like Austin, Morgan, Lincoln or Bentley for their child (though realistically, that last one is borderline).
Others, like Mercedes, are more common in non-Anglosphere cultures, and in that context the car connotation may not factor in at all (remember, the brand derived its name from Mercédès Jellinek, daughter of Austrian automotive entrepreneur Emil Jellinek).
That claim is a little harder to make for, uh, Subaru; that name was apparently given to at least five boys in the U.S. over the past 20 years.
Having no children of my own, I cannot profess to be a baby name expert. However, I am something of an expert on sharing a name with a car brand. Graham is, in my opinion, a very solid and highly respectable first name, and it could also be interpreted as a reference to automaker Graham Brothers, which became Graham-Paige in 1927. Paige, incidentally, is my sister’s name. You’d have to be fairly far down the path to prewar automotive anorak-dom to make that connection on meeting us, though.
I may be a little bit biased here, but I think this is the way to do it: Choose a name that stands on its own, but with occult automotive significance—think more along the lines of Hudson and less along the lines of Nissan or Chevrolet. It might be a good way to get your kid interested in cars, but if it doesn’t work out that way at least you’ve got plausible deniability.
Anyway, check out the whole list here. You’ll find it amusing, horrifying, inspiring or some combination of all three.
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