View Full Version : Name choice

08-11-2013, 06:55 PM
Finally asking a question I've wondered for many years, actually.

Who's idea was it to pick Dictator for a car model and think it was a good choice?! Even though the descriptor, "...it was used to describe the model that dictated results that others followed...', really?

And yet, it was used for 10 years here in the States, which is saying something in and of itself.

08-11-2013, 07:10 PM
That was before "dictator" became a bad word!

08-11-2013, 07:43 PM
I'm at a loss trying to think of when being called a DICTATOR was a good thing IMHO.

08-11-2013, 07:57 PM
I'm at a loss trying to think of when being called a DICTATOR was a good thing IMHO.

Believe it or not, there was a time when the Biens Pensants in England and North America admired dictators like Stalin, Mussolini, and that other guy. When that other guy tore up the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, and invaded the Soviet Union, suddenly, for no explicable reason, the Biens Pensants stopped admiring Mussolini and that other guy, but the Stalin-admiration persisted. Make of it what you will.

08-11-2013, 07:59 PM
And when Dictator became a bad word, Studebaker dropped it.

08-11-2013, 08:15 PM
Prior to the events that led to WWII, dictator was simply a term for someone who had an authoritarian rule. While many were negative, it arguably didn't have that negative aspect woven into its meaning quite yet. Don't forget Garibaldi, who in the mid to late 1800's was simultaneously called "The Dictator of Sicily" along with "the hero of two worlds". He was a dictator, and the people loved him. At the same time the Studebaker brothers were building America's finest wagons, he was building a reputation of greatness overseas. In the 20's, people still remembered that there was such a thing as a good dictator, like Garibaldi, and so what better name for a car that should lead all others.

Then jump ahead to the late 30's. Several dictators were coming to a rise, most notably Hitler. It was at this time when dictator really became synonymous with tyrant (ironically, another word that initially didn't have a negative connotation). So, doing what was best for the company, Studebaker dropped the name from the lineup. And it never came back.

In historical context, i can see why the name came, and definitely why it went.

08-11-2013, 08:23 PM
The 'Dictator' name was applied to other consumer products besides Studebakers. I posted a photo of a Dictator radio from the early 1930's here: http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/showthread.php?25892-Time-and-technology-marches-on&highlight=dictator+department


08-11-2013, 09:28 PM
i wouldn't be surprised in the "P.C." world of today that any "real" word a vehicle has been named may be found "offensive" by someone somewhere!:rolleyes:

08-11-2013, 09:59 PM
Didn't Studebaker substitute the model name "Director" on cars made for export rather than use "Dictator"?

08-12-2013, 02:30 PM
Politically correct: The ability to pick up a turd by the clean end. I'll never get there.