Where did the baby name Chevelle come from in 1963?

Part of a Chevrolet Chevelle advertisement from the 1960s
Chevrolet Chevelle

Ready for another car-inspired baby name?

Today’s name is Chevelle, which made a big splash in the data in 1963 when it debuted both as a girl name and as a boy name — an uncommon occurrence.

  • 1966: 35 baby girls named Chevelle
  • 1965: 43 baby girls named Chevelle
  • 1964: 83 baby girls and 5 baby boys named Chevelle
  • 1963: 49 baby girls and 6 baby boys named Chevelle [dual debut]
  • 1962: unlisted
  • 1961: unlisted

But that’s not all! Also debuting in the data around this time were a slew of similar names: Chevell, Chevella, Shevelle, Shevell, and Shavelle.

The source, of course, was the Chevrolet Chevelle. The new car was introduced in August of 1963 and was an instant success.

How did the company come up with the name?

In all, Chevrolet personnel submitted some 3,000 suggestions for a name. Eventually the list was cut to a half-dozen, including Chevalle (which sounded too much like the French for “horse”) and Chevair.

Bunky Knudsen, Chevy’s general manager, made the final choice.

According to another source, Bunky* admitted that Chevelle was “a coined name with no special meaning.”

What do you think of the baby name Chevelle?

*Bunky’s real name was Semon. The nickname “Bunky,” given to him by his father, was a World War I-era term for bunkmate, or buddy.


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