So here’s an interesting case. The baby name Chevette debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1965:
- 1969: 5 baby girls named Chevette
- 1967: 8 baby girls named Chevette
- 1966: 6 baby girls named Chevette
- 1965: 6 baby girls named Chevette [debut]
- 1964: unlisted
- 1963: unlisted
You’d think it’d be the car, right? The Chevrolet Chevette? Except, the car didn’t arrive until 1975. You can see the corresponding spike in usage in 1976:
- 1977: 7 baby girls named Chevette
- 1976: 17 baby girls named Chevette [peak]
- 1975: 6 baby girls named Chevette
The only pop culture reference I can find for the mid-1960s is, weirdly, another car: a custom-build race car. Created by engineer Bob McKee, it was called the “Chevette” because it was made out of parts from the Chevelle and the Corvette. It was driven in various American road races in 1964 and 1965, but I can’t find any press coverage.
Another (more likely) possibility is that the name emerged naturally, given the stylishness of -vette names during the ’60s. The name Yvette saw peak usage (125th) in 1967, for instance, and the Chevette-like names Charvette and Jevette popped up in the data just before Chevette did.
What are your thoughts on this one?
Source: Pace, Harold and Mark Brinker. Vintage American Road Racing Cars 1950-1969. St. Paul, MN: Motorbooks International, 2004.