Moross On Naming Cars

Promoter extraordinaire Ernie Moross wrote this April 9, 1910 Indianapolis News article opining about how race cars get named. His main point that while manufacturers and teams introduced names the monikers that stuck boiled up from newspaper reporters or fans. Among the classic racers he mentions are the Peerless Green Dragon, the Peerless Blue Streak, the White Whistling Billy, the Fiat Cyclone and the Blitzen Benz.
Most interesting of all were the various names that popped up for the car that eventually won the first Indianapolis 500, the classic racer best known today as the Marmon Wasp. When it ran in Atlanta Moross reports that it was referred to as a Yellow Jacket and at Playa Del Rey in Los Angeles the Yellow Peril. This is a sign of the times in that the world had not yet entered the information age and its homogenizing effects. People and their ideas and cultures were more isolated and less influenced by national or global opinions. The result is that names like these popped up as different geographic regions popularized their unique views.

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