Chapter 4: Animal Behavior
Part 2: Other Creatures with Hoofs
Horses aren’t the only animals used for naming cars. Other animals from the hoof ungulate used for our reference are deer, bull, and ram.
Most popular is the deer which symbolizes speed, grace, and agility and is somewhat peaceful in nature. While the bull is quite the opposite, symbolizing power, brute, and ferociousness. Ever since their beginning, Lamborghini’s logo has been a bucking bull. The ram also embodies power and brute with more of a stubborn, head-banging attitude.
Contrary to popular belief, the Chevy Impala was not the first car to be named after a jumping antelope. The British-born Gazelle came to market in 1956, two years prior to the Impala.
It was well-powered for the time, it came in saloon, drophead, & estate (to be ‘Britishly’ correct) forms, and it featured a jumping gazelle symbol for branding. The original Gazelle body was designed by Raymond Loewy, and one can easily see the resemblance this car had to the Loewy-designed Studebakers.
Introduced as a top of the line Bel Air in 1958, it followed the Gazelle by two years with a similar jumping African-antelope badge. It was available in coupe and convertible body styles.
The Impala name was originally used for a 1956 Chevrolet Corvette-based show car with design cues transferring directly to future production Impalas and although it wasn’t the best handling car the late-50s had to offer, Chevrolet marketed the car to have “quick, eager-to-please handling that lets you know you’re the boss.”
The second British car to be named for a hoofed creature was the Triumph Stag. A Stag is a single adult male deer, having no mate. So fittingly, this car was only available as a 2-door convertible, ready to pick up a special passenger. Not much room for kids in the back.
It was introduced in 1970 and also had a jumping deer emblem. The car was styled by Giovanni Michelotti after the Triumph 2000 and was intended to compete with the Mercedes-Benz 300SL.
The Ram has been an American workhorse (wrong animal reference there) since it was introduced in 1981 and has only gotten bigger and stronger. The iconic ram horns (starting with a classic-style 3D emblem, now it’s a 2D style) are front and center on the front grille of Ram trucks.
Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable
The Taurus was the first bull from the blue oval company. Its Mercury brother was called the Sable, which is a type of antelope. Not really the best name for either seeing that neither of them was brute or agile.
As previously stated, if you’re going to name your car after an animal, it should be a fitting name, otherwise there is a disconnect between the car and the name.
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