10 cars named after animals

Updated Mar 22, 2021 | Same topic: Automotive FYIs

Cool cars deserve to be named after something equally awesome after all.

Ever since humans learned to bang rocks and twigs together to make tools, we’ve always been fascinated by animals. We are in awe of their power and form, and so we have given them equally powerful names.

A picture of a Lion's face

Some animals are outright symbols of power

Fast forward to the current internet age, we still admire the power and beauty of many scaly, furry, feathery creatures. This is so evident to the point that we have always given products and entities cool animal names. The same is true of course when it comes to the automotive world.

Do note though, animal naming conventions aren't that common on Japanese brands. Instead, Japanese-made or branded cars bear the name of concepts and ideas. The Americans and Europeans on the other hand, currently have several famous cars named after animals.

1. Cars named after animals: Ford Ranger Raptor

The Ford Ranger Raptor is a truck that bears a very cool name. But did you know that apart from referring to that extinct predatory dinosaur, the word Raptor also refers to birds of prey like eagles, hawks, kites, buzzards, owls etc.

A picture of the Ranger Raptor

Regardless of whether its the predatory bird or the dinosaur, the Ranger Raptor is a badass truck

As for the truck, it is definitely as fast as the Raptor dinosaur, and/or the Raptor the bird. Come to think of it, its name can be interpreted as Ford saying that the Ranger Raptor is “preying” on other less powerful trucks.

2. Cars named after animals: Ford Mustang

The Ford Mustang is actually named after the famous World War II-era P-51 Mustang fighter plane. John Najjar, the designer of the Ford Mustang, was a huge fan of the P-51 after all. The plane in turn is named after the free-roaming horse species that roam North America.

A picture of the Ford Mustang GT

The Ford Mustang's symbol itself is a horse mid-gallop

For many, the Mustang symbolizes limitless possibilities, freedom, heroism, and the romance of roaming and exploring the plains of America.

3. Cars named after animals: Jaguar

Before bearing the cool, sleek, and macho Jaguar name, the British carmaker in question was known as the Swallow Sidecar Company. When the said company worked together with Standard Motor Co. they made cars that bore the name Jaguar as a model name. S.S. Cars Limited then took the name later on.

A picture of the Jaguar hood ornament

Let them hear your Jaguar V12 roar

If you don’t know what a Jaguar is, it’s a large cat species native to the Americas. Currently, it is one of the top predators living in the Amazon rainforest. It hunts primarily by stalking or ambushing unwary prey.

>>> Related: Car logos and names list & 15 FAQs about car logos

4. Cars named after animals: Nissan Bluebird

The midsize Nissan Bluebird that was sold in the Philippines from 1991 to 1993 was named after a group of bird species that live in the Americas. As you might have guessed, all Bluebird species are colored blue.

A picture of the Nissan Bluebird PH-spec

No, the Nissan Bluebird didn't come exclusively in blue

As for the car itself, it was based on the Nissan Cedric and was one of Nissan’s longest-running models. It was however discontinued in 2001, although several variants were sold in China until 2007.

>>> Related: [Philkotse collection] Design features unique to specific car brands

5. Cars named after animals: Mitsubishi Colt

A colt is a young male horse. Just like its name, the Mitsubishi Colt is a small, practical, but maneuverable car that was sold by Mitsubishi since 1962. Later on however, larger vehicles like the L200 pickup truck and the second-generation Delica were also marketed under the Colt name.

A Picture of the Mitsubishi Colt sold in Taiwan

The Taiwan-spec Mitsubishi Colt

Currently, the Mitsubishi Colt Plus is the name for a five-door station sold in China. It is based on the smaller Colt models that came before it.

6. Cars named after animals: Volkswagen Beetle

Originally, the Volkswagen Beetle was known as the Volkswagen Type 1. Because it looks like a beetle, many people began to call it the Käfer, the German word for the beetle. In other parts of the world, it was also given the affectionate nickname of “bug.”

A picture of the VW Beetle Type 1

The iconic VW Beetle Type 1

>>> Related: Brand consciousness: What different car brands are known for?

7. Cars named after animals: Spider or Spyder

In automotive nomenclature, the term Spider or Spyder refers to two-seat, open-top sports cars. Note however that most cars that fall into this category are not classified as Spiders or Spyders.

A picture of the Audi R8 Spyder with the roof down

The Audi R8 Spyder

So why the arachnid moniker? Well, this dates back to small, lightweight horse-drawn carriages that look like spiders. These also had open tops and were the predecessors to open-top two-door sports cars.

A picture of a phaeton/spider carriage

Do you think it looks like a spider?

8. Cars named after animals: Toyota Tamaraw

Named as the Kijang in its country of origin, the Toyota-made Asian Utility Vehicle bore the name of “Tamaraw” when it was sold here in the Philippines from 1977 to 2002.

A picture of the Toyota Tamaraw

It's rough around the edges, but it certainly is tough

Just like the native species of dwarf buffalo it was named after, it was stout, tough, and reliable. Of note, the Tamaraw vehicle was a bit on the slow side. But you know what they say, slow and steady always wins the race.

>>> Related: Toyota Tamaraw: The immortal symbol of Pinoy mobility

9. Cars named after animals: Porsche Cayman

The word Cayman is the alternate spelling of Caiman. If you don’t know what a Caiman is, it’s a species of crocodile that inhabits the rivers and lakes of Central and South America. It usually gets to its prey through lightning-fast ambush tactics.

Like the Caiman, the Porsche Cayman for sale is deceptively fast. We say that since many that are unfamiliar with this car will often overlook it in favor of its larger and faster 911 brother.

A picture of the Porsche Cayman

It might be smaller than the 911, but don't underestimate the Porsche Cayman

10. Cars named after animals: Geely Coolray

While Geely didn’t exactly say that the Coolray was named after a marine animal, we would like to think so. That’s because rays are cool animals that are commonly seen gently gliding in many of the world’s oceans. Like the Geely Coolray however, a ray will also wield its sting when provoked. It can, after all, make an impressive 177 horsepower out of a turbocharged 1.5-liter inline-3 engine.

A Picture of the Geely Coolray in an urban environment

Just like actual rays, the Coolray can be powerful whenever it wants to be

For more interesting car related articles like this, keep reading here on Philkotse.com.

Cesar G.B. Miguel

Cesar G.B. Miguel


Cesar Guiderone B. Miguel was born and raised in Iligan City, Lanao Del Norte. He graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in English degree from Mindanao State University - Iligan Institute of Technology. He previously worked as a freelance writer for various websites, as a member of the Iligan City Disaster Risk Reduction Management's training staff, and as a medical sales representative.

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