Chapter 4: Animal Behavior
Cars have been given all kinds of animal names throughout their history. This makes sense realizing how much animals were utilized for transporting people and their stuff before cars were invented.
A car’s name gives personality and an image that if married with a good product can become a timeless success. This marriage though, can be make it or break it.
Animal Behavior Part 1: Horse Power
What better way to represent freedom, power, strength, and agility than naming a car after something that represents all of these qualities? Horses have been one of the most influential animals on the car industry. They have been used pulling carriages, hauling equipment, as single seat rides, for horse racing, and from our close relationship with horses came our measurement of engine power, horsepower, which was originally used to measure the output of steam engines and it was quickly adopted for cars.
Here is a chronological list of cars named after our equine friends.
Undeniably the most popular car named after one of these creatures, the Mustang paved the way for so many muscle cars to come. It even gave the pony car moniker to the Plymouth Barracuda which was introduced before the Mustang but was not as well received.
Where the Mustang got its name has been debated, but it is said that quarterhorse breeder Robert J. Eggert, division market researcher at the time, suggested the name after receiving a book called, The Mustangs from his wife as a birthday gift. Prior to the gift, he was in favor of naming the car Cougar or Torino, and Henry Ford II wanted to call it the T-bird II. Mustang was most popular in focus groups and so be it Mustang was chosen to be the name of the car.
Since its introduction in 1964, the car has never been discontinued and has kept with its 2-door coupe, fastback, and convertible pedigree.
In response to the success of the Mustang, Dodge was in need of a pony car that could compete. They already had the Barracuda which was born before the Mustang, but was not as popular.
The name Charger was first used as a concept roadster version of the Dodge Polara but first used in production on the 1965 Dodge Dart GT 273 as a limited edition package. A year later an entirely new model of its own was introduced and was to be called the Charger, meaning war horse.
Two years after the Mustang’s success, Ford wanted to add another stallion to the lineup, and one that would compete with the ever successful Jeep & International ORVs (off road vehicles).
The new stallion was named Bronco by the same people who created the Mustang. A bronco is known to be an untrained horse that habitually bucks, hence the bucking bronco emblem. The ORV had a 30-year lifespan and grew larger with time. Production ended in 1996.
In a social context, Maverick has a rebellious connotation but by definition it’s any unbranded range animal. Somewhat ironically, the Ford Maverick was branded with badges that resembled a long-horned cow.
It was introduced in 1970 in 2-door and 4-door models as a sportier compact replacement for the Falcon and was designed to be inexpensive to manufacture and maintain. Unfortunately there was no room for more range animals in the Ford lineup and it was only produced for 7 years (in the U.S.).
Meaning spotted horse, the Pinto was Ford’s competition to the Chevrolet Vega, AMC Gremlin and more compact imported cars from Japan and Germany.
It was available as a 2-door coupe, sedan delivery, wagon, and 3-door hatchback.
A colt is a young, uncastrated male horse. The Colt car was an imported Mitsubishi with new badges. It was intended to compete with domestic compacts but since it was a Japanese car underneath, it competed well within Japanese imported compacts.
The rebadged Mitsubishi made it all the way to 1994 when Dodge/Plymouth replaced it with the Neon.
The word equus comes from the latin word meaning horse. It is Hyundai’s flagship sedan and the most expensive car they’ve ever produced. The Equus name has somewhat of an upscale feeling while still representing elegance in motion. The front and rear have winged-badges which can mean one of three things; 1) the Equus is supposed to be a flying horse (that would make for cool badges!), 2) there was some sort of translation lost after being exported from Korea, 3) Hyundai just didn’t care to make the two relate.
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