How Plymouth cars got their name

#hashtags: #Chrysler #Plymouth #Named #Plymouth Rock #Joe Frazer #Graham Motors #Frazer

Chrysler needed the "perfect car with the perfect name." That name was to be "Plymouth." Named after Plymouth Rock, that great American symbol, right? Well, not quite. Behind the "official line" is a story that surfaced years later. It is about what really happened behind those closed boardroom doors. "What we want," Chrysler had said, "is a popular name, something people will recognize instantly." In that room was Joe Frazer, later to become president of Graham Motors and still later to join Henry Kaiser in a post-war automotive venture. "Well, boss," replied Frazer, "why not call it Plymouth? That's a good old American name." The other assembled executives looked askance the notion of their car bearing such a puritanical sounding * name. Yet against his colleagues' misgivings, Joe Frazer persisted. "Ever hear of Plymouth Binder Twine?" he asked. " Well," boomed out Chrysler, "every goddam farmer in America's heard of that!" The hidden appeal wasn't wasted on this one-time Kansas farm boy. Every farmer had to have a car, and most of them at the time were driving Fords. Now here was an opening to the giant's vulnerability. "Every farmer uses Plymouth Binder Twine," he said, "let's give them a name they're familiar with!" And so the name was Plymouth. The Mayflower ship on its radiator suggested the rock and the Pilgrims, but if it wasn't for the binder twine, there would never have been a car named Plymouth. The new Plymouth sold well, in 1932, while Chevrolet and Ford sales were dropping drastically from pre-depression highs, Plymouth was the only car to gain in sales over 1931. In fact, all through the Great Depression Plymouth continued to gain in sales, a remarkable feat considering the times. Steve!