Thursday, March 7, 2013

Animals on Wheels.

There are sound reasons why the alpha man is attracted to a car more than a woman. A car has curves, by design. It’s easier to turn on. It doesn’t mind being horny. You can ride on it for years and it will never get pregnant. And the best part is you can junk it at will without ever having to fork out a hefty alimony.

I, for one, believe that the carmic connection is a natural outcome of the bestial nature of the man and the machine. Which is probably why, automobile marketers have shown a marked preference for naming motorcars after animals.

The Swallow Sidecar Company set the trend by labelling its 2.5-litre steely beast as Jaguar Saloon. The cat fetish found an echo in the sixties when Mercury launched Cougar, Bobcat, Pantera and Lynx in quick succession. Chevrolet kept apace by unleashing the sports car Cheetah. Meanwhile, Buick added one more to the feline stable with Wildcat. Many years later, Ford let loose the Puma on unsuspecting auto enthusiasts. Polish entrepreneur Zbyslaw Szwaj ended the cat lust in 2005 with the Leopard Roadster.

The clowder of cats was evenly matched by the herd of thoroughbreds. Ford Mustang (a nod to the North American wild horse), Ford Bronco (untrained equines), Ford Pinto (patchy skinned white breeds), Dodge Colt (male horse below age four), Subaru Brumby (free roaming Australian horse) and Hyundai Equus (latin for horse) have graced the roads with their horsepower.

Birds have managed equal attention by possessing the exact attributes desired from the car model. Studebaker Sparrow (a sub-compact range), Reliant Robin (small three wheeled wonder), Buick Skylark (initially used for the convertible), Ford Thunderbird (a nod to a mythical bird) and Nissan Bluebird (in blue shades) have taken wings from time to time.

Off and on, snakes have been celebrated (Dodge Viper and Shelby Cobra come to mind). And sometimes, antelopes (Ford Impala is a great example). Fish have caused a splash too (think Corvette Stingray, Plymouth Barracuda and Opel Manta). There’s even been a case of a dinosaur car (Campagna T-Rex). Now you know why they call our cities, concrete jungles!