Picking the right name for a car is a risky business and that’s why many legacy brand automakers (VW, BMW, etc) stay in the safe lane and just give them unimaginative, boring alphanumeric names.
Sometimes automakers name their cars after something else and get it right, and sometimes they get it terribly wrong.
I thought I’d my throw negativity out the window today and pick three sportscars named after birds. Why? Two reasons. One, ‘cause these cars fly and two, so we’re off to a flying start. Sorry. Had to.
1. Aspark Owl
The Owl is an obscure battery-powered supercar built in Italy by a Japanese company called ‘Aspark’. It weighs the same as a small planet (nearly 2,000 kg) even though it’s made out of carbon fibre. It only has a range of 280 miles but it flies, thanks to its four-motor setup for a combined power output of 1,984 hp and 1,475 lb-ft of torque.
It also has so-called ‘dihedral’ doors, basically like gullwing doors but cooler.
2. Stutz Blackhawk
This semi-unknown American car from the 70s is equipped with an ugly grille, massive headlamps and the coolest name ever: the Blackhawk.
Stutz Motor Company, a now-defunct automaker from Indianapolis, marketed this as an ‘ultra-luxury personal car’ – whatever that means – and called the Italians to help them build it.
It’s nearly six metres long and back when it was new, it was available with about six million engine options – most of which were V8s – including the iconic 429 Cobra Jet.
Unfortunately, it didn’t do too well in the market. Possibly because a hawk and a cobra don’t really see eye to eye.
3. Plymouth Superbird
You can’t really write a list about cars – or birds for that matter – without mentioning the Plymouth Superbird, the coolest car wing ever.
The Superbird is not – technically speaking – named after an existing bird but it is based on the Road Runner and that is a real bird. It was available with three engine options, all three were V8s and all three were given cool names like the ‘Super Commando’ and ‘Hemi’.
This being an American-made car from the 1970s, you’d expect it to be underpowered but it wasn’t: it delivered up to 426 bhp and that, back then, was not bad at all.
4. Ford Falcon
Ford originally launched the Falcon in 1959 and kept it in production for a little over ten years and three and half generations. Yup, three and a half, because in 1970, they replaced the third-gen Falcon with something called the ‘Intermediate Falcon’.
All three and a half cars are quite interesting but in my view, the first model (pictured) and the last model – the ‘Intermediate’ one – are the most compelling, partly because it’s related to the Ford Torino and the Ford Fairlane, and also because the 2-door sedan looks like a proper pony car and it was, par for the course, equipped with a V8. Three of them, actually, ranging from the smaller 4.9 L to the 7 L (429 cu in).
And of course, the Falcon lived on as Australia’s iconic homegrown Ford, pitted in a decades-long war against the Holden Commodore before local manufacturing ended in 2016.
5. Eagle Speedster
The Eagle Speedster is arguably the most beautiful and probably the most expensive car named after a bird ever. It is designed as a modern-day version of the Jaguar E-Type. It’s built in England combining modern technology like fuel injection, independent wishbones with Ohlins adjustable dampers and carbon fibre intake manifolds with a good old 4.7-litre V12.
It’s not the most powerful car in the world, the V12 delivers 350-hp and 360 lb-ft of torque, but it only weighs 2,288 lbs, meaning it can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 5 seconds and it will reach a top speed of 170 mph.
And the price? A cool million.