A big part of a car`s appeal is its name. Of course, the cool name won`t make a bad car good, but it will resonate better with the customers. From the beginning of the car industry, carmakers tried to give their cars memorable and influential names in order to provide them with an edge over the competition. As the old Latin saying goes “Nome Est Omen” (the name is the destiny), providing a strong and meaningful name will predict good future and success on the market. That is why many car manufacturers named their models after wild animals or even after mythical creatures. Here are 10 cars named after animals.
1. Shelby Cobra
Let`s start the list with the classic and immensely powerful Shelby Cobra. Introduced in 1962 and powered by Ford`s V8, Shelby was lightweight roadster with dangerous handling and brutal performance. The legend goes that Carroll Shelby got the idea in his sleep, woke up and wrote the name on a piece of paper and went back to sleep.
2. AMC Gremlin
Introduced on 1st April of 1970, AMC Gremlin was considered a joke since it was only American sub-compact car on the market. It looked like somebody chopped off the rear of the vehicle. However, it proved to be very influential and popular and gave the company much needed financial stability which AMC always lacked. Unfortunately, it wasn’t able to save it from a demise in the early `80s.
3. Ford Mustang
Wild horses from prairies of the Wild West were an inspiration to Ford`s marketing guys who gave their new coupe this legendary name. Even though the original Mustang had pretty ordinary technology, engines, and suspension, the combination of design and powerful name launched it into collective consciences as an automotive horse for modern-day cowboys.
4. TVR Cerbera
TVR borrowed a name from Greek mythology for their legendary sports car introduced in 1996 and produced until 2003. The Cerbera was a fast, capable, and somewhat dangerous car with the overwhelming performance and fire-breathing V8 engine. Some say it was just like three-headed beast called Cerberus which stood on the doors of the underworld in Greek mythology.
5. De Tomaso Pantera
With specially designed chassis, powerful Ford V8 engine and wedge-shaped design, De Tomaso Pantera was one of the best sports cars in the early `70s. Amazingly, it stayed in production until 1996 and managed to remain relevant even though its technology was a bit outdated. Alejandro DeTomaso named it Pantera (Panther) since it was fast, agile, dangerous, and ready for an attack at any moment.
6. Plymouth Barracuda
Introduced just two weeks before Ford Mustang, Plymouth Barracuda was actually the first pony car. Named after well-known and hard to catch fish from the depths of the sea, first Barracuda had a characteristic profile with big rear glass and stylized fish on the trim pieces. Although never as successful as the Mustang or Camaro, Barracuda become one of the fastest muscle cars when equipped with legendary 426 Hemi engine.
7. Chevrolet Impala
The mid-century Chevrolet model names are all very cool. Nameplates like Bel Air, Del Ray, Camaro, Chevelle are all very memorable, but Chevrolet Impala is probably the most recognizable and legendary. Introduced in 1958 as the full-size family sedan and still sold today, this landmark four-door model was named after elegant and wild antelope from Africa. We bet you didn’t know that, but if you look at the Impala`s logo, you will recognize the stylized antelope.
8. Triumph Stag
The Triumph Stag was a very ambitious project from British Leyland, and it was designed to be a competitor to Mercedes SL models. With the 3.0-liter V8 engine, convertible body, well-equipped interior, and respectable performance, Triumph needed a cool name to complete the package. Since the car was introduced in 1970, in the height of the sexual revolution, Triumph marketing guys decided to call it Stag since it symbolized machoism and playboy lifestyle. We are not sure it worked since Stag was produced in only 25,000 examples and was plagued by quality problems.
9. Dodge Viper
Envisioned as the successor of legendary Shelby Cobra and even co-created by Carroll Shelby, Dodge Viper really didn’t have much choice when it comes to its name. With V10 engine up front, massive power and torque and notoriously dangerous handling, this monster could only be called after something poisonous and lethal. That is why the Viper is such a perfect name for this car since it symbolizes all of its characteristics and makes you scared and fascinated by this automotive beast.
10. Skoda Yeti
You have probably heard the legend of a Yeti, mythical snowman living in Himalayan Mountains. Although locals swear that the Yeti is real or even saw one in the wild, we still don’t have proof of its existence. However, if you want to own a Yeti, you can, since Skoda introduced compact crossover called Yeti in 2009. Even though it is not capable of crossing mountain ranges of central Asia, Yeti can be capable vehicle if you order it with all-wheel-drive and lifted body.