Home » Happy American Independence Day! Here Are Some Cars Named For Presidents Not Named Ford Or Lincoln Or Franklin

Happy American Independence Day! Here Are Some Cars Named For Presidents Not Named Ford Or Lincoln Or Franklin

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Despite our love for all manner of strange and fascinating cars from far-off lands, The Autopian is based in the United States of America, and since today is the day we commemorate giving King George III instructions to sit, and, where applicable, spin, we’ve given the staff the day off. And this proud American is going to take the day off, too, but not before giving you a little bit of America-related car knowledge, because why not? I’m going to tell you about some cars that share a name with American presidents, and, yes, I know Franklin wasn’t a president, but they made some cool air-cooled cars I always liked and I want to get clicks from fussy chumps who will just jump down into the comments to tell me hey dummy, Benjamin Franklin was never president. I know. Also, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Franklin Pierce were president, so that counts.

So, we all know the two main cars that share names with presidents, and they just so happen to be from the same company and are named for presidents that, based on most common consensus, are the two greatest presidents ever to hold the office: Abraham Lincoln and Gerald Ford. Sure, Ford wasn’t really elected and only accomplished pardoning former President Nixon and falling down the steps of Air Force One, but I’m sure if you ask around most people will tell you he was easily the equal of Lincoln.

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But there’s more! This isn’t even all of them, but delight now to the other cars that share names with presidents!

Adams

Adams

First in our list is America’s secondest president, John Adams. The Adams car was actually British, had an epicyclic transmission that was shifted with pedals only, kind of like a Model T, I think, and that was advertised as being a big advantage, simplicity-wise. They were gone by 1914.

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Carter

 

Carter

Yes, Jimmy Carter gets a car! The Cartercar used a gearless friction-drive transmission, and had lots of novel ads, like this one you see here. Cartercar was bought by GM in 1909, and the year before the founder, Byron Carter, was killed due to injuries sustained by crank-starting his car. Carter was friends with Cadillac founder Henry Leland, and his death was one of the motivators that prompted Leland to push development of the electric starting system (adapted from an NCR cash register motor) which then appeared on 1912 Cadillacs and Carters.

Also, Jimmy Carter was the only president I ever met! I met him in a bathroom in Atlanta, shook his hand, and told him I was a big fan and had all his albums. He was a good sport.

Cleveland

Cleveland

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Grover Cleveland, the only president to be named for a future Muppet and the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms, shared a name with this short-lived carmaker, making fairly conventional cars of the era from 1904-1909. They were sometimes advertised as being “absolutely noiseless” which I’m gonna go out on a limb and say was hyperbole.

Madison

Madison

Yes! Dolly Madison’s husband, President James Madison, for whom the Monroe doctrine is named, has not one but two cars that share the name! The first was the Madison Motors Company, which operated from 1915 to 1921, and even offered a car called the Dolly, after the snack-cake-famous former First Lady.

There’s also kit-car maker Madison:

Madison2

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Unlike most kit car makers and what is suggested by those VW taillights and rear-window design, these are not based on V0lkswagen Beetles. Well, that’s not entirely true: Madison did built Beetle-based kit cars until 1983, when they switched to Ford Cortina platforms. The company still seems to be around in some form, too!

Pierce-Arrow

Pierce

Okay, this one sorta works, because part of the name is Pierce, like President Franklin Pierce. Pierce-Arrow started way back in the 1860s, making things like birdcages, then later bicycles, and getting into the motorcar game by 1901. In 1903 they came out with the twin-cylinder Arrow, and later adopted that model name into the company name, sort of like what Mercedes-Benz did later.

Relatedly, Pierce-Arrows were the first official White House cars when President Taft ordered two in 1909. Hey, speaking of Taft –

Taft

Taft

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The Daihatsu Taft is a fun little kei-class rugged little car, but Daihatsu claims the name isn’t derived from the portly ex-President William Howard Taft, but rather from “Tough & Almighty Fun Tool.” Hm. I’m not sure I’m buying that.

 

So, there you go! A whole bunch of new president-name-sharing cars you can wow people with at your cookout, mouth crammed full of a paste made from masticated hot dog soaked in beer. Have a fantastic holiday, pals!

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NAMiata
NAMiata
2 months ago

How can you forget the Trumpchi?

Myk El
Myk El
2 months ago

For those interested in Franklin cars in the Southwest US, there’s a little, but interesting museum in Tucson, AZ dedicated to the Franklin automobile. You kind of have to know it’s there, but worth a stop if you’re already in the area.

AKA Rukh
AKA Rukh
2 months ago

How about the Jackson, from the town that invented the coney dog? (The car was likely named after the town, which was named after the president.) Also “fun” fact: Jackson MI claims to be the home of the Republican party. There’s a monument/park for it and everything, I used to live a couple blocks away from it. It in a… not great… part of town, but then again the best parts of Jackson are outside of it (perhaps aside from Schlenker’s).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackson_Automobile_Company

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
2 months ago

I might well have guessed Madison was a British kit car make, their kit manufacturers always seem to be more original and creative than the ones we have/had in the US, who mostly just say you can have any replica you like as long as it’s a Gazelle, SS100, MGTD, or Cobra.

Rob Kern
Rob Kern
2 months ago

Fat chance.

Harvey Park
Harvey Park
2 months ago

How about the Ford Maverick, named after presidential candidate John McCain?

Our poutine-eating neighbors had Clinton.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clinton_(automobile)

Last edited 2 months ago by Harvey Park
Kevin B
Kevin B
2 months ago

Jason, did you shake Carter’s hand in the bathroom before or after he washed his hands?

Last edited 2 months ago by Kevin B
Flat6Fever
Flat6Fever
2 months ago

Don’t forget Stephens. He was the vice president of the Confederacy. And an absolutely terrible human being. Ok, we should forget Stephens.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/9jAQD5GkUXSEn5UV6

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
2 months ago

Um.. there’s a Car-Mart in Van Buren Arizona…

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
2 months ago

*Arkansas

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
2 months ago
Last edited 2 months ago by Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Drew
Drew
2 months ago

Car-MartinVanBuren seems good enough for me.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
2 months ago
Reply to  Drew

You’re right.
Being obsessive can be painful sometimes.

Last edited 2 months ago by Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
2 months ago

It is kind of funny that a Kei car is named for America’s portliest president.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
2 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Metcalf

He supposedly carried the girth pretty well, at least, was known as an excellent dancer

Drew
Drew
2 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Metcalf

Can it do a couple of things? Because he’s the only President to have also been Chief Justice. He deserves a wagon that converts to a ute or something.

Christopher Scott
Christopher Scott
2 months ago
Reply to  Drew

And by most accounts, he was a much better Chief Justice than he was a President, and was also much happier in that position.

Chris D
Chris D
2 months ago

So Aston Martin and Martin Van Buren didn’t make the list… I guess that’s a bit of a stretch.
Andrew Jackson makes the list, though. The Jackson Automobile Company was in business for 20 years, until 1923. “No hill too steep, no sand too deep” was their slogan. Overpromising was more a norm than an exception back then, it seems. In 1913 they sold a car with steering controls in the back seat, so that the passengers could ride in the front. That didn’t go over too well.

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
2 months ago
Reply to  Chris D

I used to run with the Van Buren Boys back when I was a young street tough. I still remember the secret sign.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Van_Buren_Boys

Mr. Frick
Mr. Frick
2 months ago

Did you see if Carter washed his hands first?

Kevin B
Kevin B
2 months ago
Reply to  Mr. Frick

Did Jason wash his hands first?

Look, a Volvo!
Look, a Volvo!
2 months ago

I highly doubt me being entirely right here, but y’all forgot the Roosevelt Three-Window:
https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1929-marmon-roosevelt-3-window-landau-coupe-w-rumble-seat/

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
2 months ago

Hey, you get partial credit for Franklin because two presidents, Pierce and Roosevelt, had the first name Franklin.

Eggsalad
Eggsalad
2 months ago

If you’ll expand the definition of “car”, My workplace has a lot of “cars” from the Taylor-Dunn corporation, which was probably not named after President Zachary Taylor.

https://www.taylor-dunn.com/

Citrus
Citrus
2 months ago

“Tough and almighty fun tool” is also what my boyfriend calls me.

Last edited 2 months ago by Citrus
Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
2 months ago
Reply to  Citrus

Oh, my.

AlienProbe
AlienProbe
2 months ago

I’m kinda disappointed Dwight Eisenhower does not have a car named after him. He presided over the Interstate Highway System as we know it. That evolution of transportation roadway pretty much changed automobiles in the united states granting faster (safe? lol) speeds for American travelers. A good portion of US safety evolution spawned from our ability to travel at highway speeds. I would argue that, of all the US presidents, Eisenhower in-directly had the biggest influence on the American motorcar as we currently know it.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
2 months ago
Reply to  AlienProbe

Maybe we give him General Motors?

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
2 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

That sounds good, but he has to share it with Grant and Washington.

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
2 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Metcalf

Also Arthur, Garfield, Harrison (both Benjamin and William Henry), Hayes, Jackson, Johnson (Andrew), Pierce, and Taylor.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
2 months ago
Reply to  AlienProbe

I could have sworn I read a science fiction story years ago that featured a fictional luxury car brand called Eisenhower, think it had been published in the ’40s or ’50s and was set in the then-far off future of the 21st century, having a really hard time remembering the title or many other details, other than that the economic system depicted in the future US was eerily similar to how China operates, except with consumer goods instead of real estate development (new products would leave the factory and immediately go into the crusher to be destroyed and recycled back to raw materials to feed back into the factory, since continuous industrial production was how economic growth was reported and tracked, like China’s constant building and demolition and rebuilding of unneeded vacant structures) .

Nlpnt
Nlpnt
2 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

Seems like we’re already doing that with movies.

TJ Groeling
TJ Groeling
2 months ago

I was surprised that you didn’t mention the Studebaker President (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studebaker_President ), although I guess that’s named after the presidency, not a president.

Six Inna Row Makes it Go
Six Inna Row Makes it Go
2 months ago

In another timeline, the Cleveland was steam-powered, and the “Cleveland Steamers” were only mentioned in car-enthusiast circles, and usually not followed by low snickers from those listening.

Stu Riegel
Stu Riegel
2 months ago

There’s a carpet-cleaning company called Cleveland Steamer. I always get a LOL when I see one of their trucks.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
2 months ago
Reply to  Stu Riegel

Cleveland is also a line of steam pressure cookers for commercial kitchens, I remember cracking up the first time I saw one and nobody else got why it was funny

Larry B
Larry B
2 months ago

Is it true that Hummers were President Clinton’s favorite?

Maymar
Maymar
2 months ago

Cleveland also got an engine named after him, so I have to assume Ford’s other V8 was named after former Canadian head of state and ex-mechanic Elizabeth Windsor?

Phuzz
Phuzz
2 months ago
Reply to  Maymar

So the engine is named after the town in Canada where it was built, and that town is named after the town in the UK. That town in the UK contains a castle, (named after the town), and the royal family (formerly the “House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha”) renamed themselves the “House of Windsor” in 1907 (when they wanted to play down their Germanic roots).
As the Canadian town was named before the royal house, we could argue that Liz was actually named after the engine, or at least the town it was built in.

Tom Herman
Tom Herman
2 months ago
Reply to  Phuzz

How do you guys know this stuff?

Phuzz
Phuzz
2 months ago
Reply to  Tom Herman

Wikipedia helps with the details, but I’d heard the “Ford engines are named after where they were built” fact before, and basically every placename in North America is taken from somewhere in the UK.

Maymar
Maymar
2 months ago
Reply to  Phuzz

Heh, I used to live in Windsor, I checked the etymology of the name before posting, I was just (probably poorly) following the gist of the article.

RootWyrm
RootWyrm
2 months ago
Reply to  Maymar

The hilarious thing is that the 351 Cleveland isn’t even built in Cleveland.
It’s built in Brook Park.

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