The Funny Thing About Auto Industry Names

The traditions of the auto industry are littered with some seriously smart and intellectual inventors. From the internal combustion engine to tires to the car brands on the market, the advancements made in a little over 100 years are staggering. The same cannot be said for naming these devices.

Terry Pratchett is an author of the famous disc world books. In one, he writes about the exploits of a great inventor. The man can invent just about anything and often does. When it comes to naming his inventions, the brilliance is replaced by a blank slate. For instance, he invents the submarine but the only name he can come up with is "the device that travels under the waves" or some such thing. The inventors in the auto industry seem to be related to this fictional character if only from a metaphysical perspective.

As a group, the inventors in the auto industry were absolutely brilliant at coming up with mechanical devices.

That being said, they were definitely mentally challenged when it came to names or at least had huge egos. Consider the car. The creator of the first car is highly debated, but there is little argument that a German man put it all together and sold the first cars as a functioning business. His name? Karl Benz. You've probably heard of the car company that carries his name - Mercedes Benz.

In America, we have Henry Ford creating...Ford Motor Company. How about exotic car makers? Enzo Ferrari started Ferrari. Ferruccio Lamborghini got into an argument with Enzo and decided to one up him by starting...Lamborghini. Like going for a spin in a Porsche? You should thank Ferdinand Porsche for coming up with the idea. Ah, but the crippling naming illness extends beyond the founders of car companies.

What is the most important interface between your car and the road? The tires.

Guess who invented the vulcanized rubber used in tires? Charles Goodyear. Rubber needs a shape, however. John Dunlap was the first person to create a rubber tire filled with air, although he created it for a bike not a car. It was Andre Michelin who created the first tire filled with air for a car tire. Perhaps you recognize these three last names as also being used by three of the biggest tire companies in the world.

Now, I am the first to admit that there is no Fred General Motors. Of course, there may be no "General Motors" at all soon. Still, it is a very odd truth that the name of a great many companies and devices related to the automobile come from the individuals inventing.