A Matter of Nomenclature

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It seems to us that quite the best way of naming a competition car is by its maker’s name, i.e., call a Bugatti a Bugatti. Difficulty arises in the case of a “special,” but then the make of the chassis, or a combination of engine and chassis if these differ — as Anzani-Bugatti — is adequate. If the car is really a hybrid, then it should be called after its maker, i.e., Wharton-Special, Strang 500, etc. Just recently we have noticed some very queer names given to cars appearing before the public in competition. We are going to be frank and list some of them — Tiger Kitten, Wasp, Chatterbox, Kaiserwagen, Bloody Mary, Rabelro Special, Jaguar, Mephistophelgatti, Fuzzi, Red Gauntlet. We will be franker still and suggest that the programme names of such cars would be far happier as Lanes 500, Moor-G.N., Woodall-Special, Fry-A.C., Bolster-J.A.P., Orlebar-A.C., S.S., Norton-Special, Waddy-V8, and Invicta. The use of pet names in place of makes undoubtedly arises because entrants fill up entry forms casually, and organisers do not bother to sort things out before the programme is sent to the printers. The R.A.C. or B.R.D.C. might like to issue a bulletin about this matter of nomenclature. No one minds if a car is known to its owner by a pet name (although normally one prefers that it is not blazoned on the bonnet), and such names can be very useful in identifying cars of one make. In the Shelsley Walsh programme, for example, The Hutton “Little Dorrit,” Mercury-Nash “The Spook,” and G.N. “Martyr” showed how it should be done. All we ask is that there is some means of linking a car in an entry list with its maker or owner. Does it matter all that much? Well, we have seen what has happened at Indianapolis, where Maserati becomes Topping-Special or Boyle-Special, and Bowes Seal Fast conceals the identity of a perfectly good Alfa-Romeo. And where quite nice things like Millers’ Duesenbergs and Offenhausers, etc., are dubbed Holabird Red Cedar, Refinoil Motor Oil Special, Noc-Out Hose Clamp Special, Wonder Bread “B” Special, Sure Stop Brake Equal, Domont’s Pepsi-Cola Special, Hollywood Pay Day Special, and so on. Surely we must at all costs stop that sort of nomenclature, even if diluted, from creeping into British programmes.