Alternative Names Once Planned for Popular Cars
The Datsun 240Z is a momentous vehicle in securing Nissan’s place in the United States. With most Japanese imports consisting of small trucks or economy cars in the 1970s, the 240Z’s introduction in 1970 was a watershed event for the consumer perception of Datsun. The beautiful sportscar quickly won over American drivers who were largely oblivious the car was intended to be sold under rather docile Fairlady branding.
Known as the Fairlady Z in Japan, Nissan sent the first examples of the new Datsun sports cars with Fairlady nameplates to the disapproval of the company‘s United States operations president Yutaka Katayama (affectionately known as Mr. K). The story behind the removal of the Fairlady name from the Japanese sports car took place within days before they arrived for showrooms. Mr. K refused to allow the vehicles to be sent to dealers under the Fairlady moniker until simpler “240Z” badges were affixed to the cars. Accepting the 240Z’s legacy, it is difficult to assume American drivers would have been easily won over with a sports car named Fairlady.
Dodge Zipp (Dart)
While the Dart model name was intended for the vehicle through the development in the late 1950s, top brass with the Chrysler Corporation thought the Dodge would be better suited as the Zipp. Sounding more like a soft drink than a car, Zipp was generated through a market study. Take into account that Ford’s Edsel car line was also a product of extensive market research in the 1950s. Dislike for the Zipp name and a desire to use a letter ‘D’ in the model identity insured the Dodge Dart’s introduction.Chevrolet Panther (Camaro)
Preparing to go toe-to-toe with the mid-1960s breakout success called the Ford Mustang, General Motors’ divisions Chevrolet and Pontiac scrambled to ready their pony car variants for the youth-driven performance car sector. Chevy would be the first out of the gate with a vehicle conforming to the new vehicle criteria developed under the codename Panther.
Just months prior the General Motors’ pony car sale, the Panther name was used to promote this pivotal new vehicle. In a cunning marketing move, the name was "changed" with a Chevrolet press release announcing a meeting for the “Society for the Eradication of Panther from the Automotive World” on June 28th. That live conference in 1966 presented the Camaro nameplate.
Though the Chevrolet Panther never came to life from the factory, performance tuner SLP has recently applied the Panther designation to a limited lot of modified Camaros (lead image).
Porsche 901 (911)
Celebrating its 50th year of production, the Porsche 911 is being chronicled as one of the classically pure examples of a sports car. Pronounced as "nine-eleven," would Porsche and performance car enthusiasts have celebrated a "nine-oh-one" designation?
As the Porsche’s replacement to the 356 transitioned from the T7 concept, the German sportscar company had deemed their new car the 901. Introduced at the 1963 IAA in Frankfurt. The Porsche 901 attracted a great deal of attention. With the majority of the fanfare positive for the new Porsche, French auto company Peugeot was not pleased by the vehicle. Peugeot claimed they have rights to three-digit automotive numbering schemes using a '0' as the middle number. More than a year after its introduction at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the sportscar would officially enter production as the Porsche 911.
Declared as pilot cars, there were 82 Porsche 901 sports cars built. These initial Porsche 901 sports cars weren’t meant for sale to the public but at least one is confirmed to be in private hands.
This article was originally written by Chris Nagy for Automoblog.net