Monday, May 08, 2006

Archer Investigative Reports

I was at the grocery store yesterday picking up some munchies for reading week. It was a beautiful spring day: the birds were chirping, the weirdo power walkers were out doing their thing. You know it's spring when the Middle Life Crisis toys come out. No, not those 50 year old geeks who fly RC planes, I mean real toys: sports cars. As I was walking back to my car through the parking lot, all the sports cars were out. 'Vettes, Convertibles, you know...all those cars that are completely wasted on men who have beer bellies and bald spots and yet, ironically, who are the only people who can afford them.

In any event, I was fascinated by the penchant of humans to attach letters and numbers to their automobiles. You know, cars with titles like Jaguar XK. XK...do letters like that have a meaning? Is there some sort of Rosetta Stone for Car-roglyphics? Inquiring minds want to know, so the Archer went home to do some investigative reporting.

I surfed around the web, the information superhighway if you will, to look closer at this odd phenomenon. American varieties range from the Chevy Corvette Z06 to the Ford F-250. At least the 250 has some reason, as that's the horsepower, but the F-not so much. I wondered if this was simply an American phenomenon, but, no, all manufacturers do this. Nissan has the Sentra SE, BMW has the Z4. even Aston-Martin has the DB-9. And apparently, this goes beyond sports cars. Hyundai has the GSL. Volvo ("We're square but we're safe") has the XC70. Ford even wants you to think their Passenger van is sexy by calling it the Express LS. Yeah, baby!

The most popular letters are, by my count, Z and X with S and M in 3rd and 4th. It makes one wonder if there is some sort of illegal letter discrimination going on here. You never hear about an automobile called the Hummer FU 400 or the Ford Plenty BO.

As far as I can tell, there is absolutely no reason for any of these letters. One of the manufacturers actually replied to my e-mail by saying they just "sound cool." Slow days at the production plant apparently lead to this ongoing, if bizarre, game of automotive scrabble. I guess I should rewrite the story of the Emperor's New Clothes and change it to the Emperor's New Wheels YO. And like in the old days of Sesame Street, remind my readers that this blog is brought to you by the letters B,O,R,E,D, and the number googleplex.

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