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A Brief History of Cars Named for Birds

Cool bird names can sell a lot of cars!
© Pete Walkden/JB Harvard Ave CC View Large

Birds can be sleek, aerodynamic, and powerful — all in one package. Automakers picked up on this early: a cool bird name will sell cars. So far, more than twenty models of cars have been named for birds — some real, some mythical — and they go way back.

Ford Thunderbirds, Buick Skylarks, Plymouth Roadrunners, AMC Eagles, and more... How many can you name?

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®  
A Brief History of Cars Named for Birds
Written by Bob Sundstrom
 
This is BirdNote.

Birds can be sleek, aerodynamic, and powerful – all in one package. Automakers picked up on this early: a cool bird name will sell cars. So far, more than twenty models of cars have been named for birds—some real, some mythical — and they go way back.

In 1928, you could buy a Stutz Blackhawk. The following year, a Kissel White Eagle.
All through the 1960s, Ford Falcons glided over the roadways, dodging Thunderbirds, Buick Skylarks, Plymouth Roadrunners, and AMC Eagles.

Did you know the Toyota Tercel [tur-SELL] shares the name of a male falcon, a tercel [TUR-suhl]? And then there was the Pontiac Sunbird — a name shared with lovely, real birds in Africa and Asia.

Bird-named cars peaked in the ‘60s and ‘70s, with Pontiac Firebirds and Jeep Golden Eagles.

Today, instead of soaring bird names, we’re more likely to drive cars with names that seem a little less… inspired. The Thunderbirds have been replaced by AMG S63s. [resigned] I guess we’ve traded our falcons for Priuses…

For BirdNote, I’m Michael Stein.

                                                                               ###
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler. Music: Spending Spree. Album: The Golden Age of Light Music. Artist: Andy Thurlow and Dolf Van Der Linden & His Orchestra. Publishing: Guild Light 2012
Producer: John Kessler
Managing Producer: Jason Saul
Associate Producer: Ellen Blackstone
© 2019 Tune In to Nature.org   January 2019   Narrator: Michael Stein

ID#      automobile-01-2019-01-08   automobile-01         

References include https://www.windingroad.com/articles/lists/thanksgiving-list-13-cars-nam...
and
http://www.rantnow.com/2014/11/25/cars-named-for-birds/#slide_8
 


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