For the Birds
Some automobiles that sport a bird’s name
Thunderbird: FORD- A personal luxury car produced from 1955 until 2005 across 11 distinct generations. It always represented an attractive mix between sportiness and luxury. It was considered an ‘Inexpensive Luxury Car’. It appears in the successful series of 007 films- One Her Majesty Secret Service & Goldfinger.
Lark: STUDEBAKER- A compact car produced from 1959-66. The cars were exported to number of countries as completed units and completely knocked down kits (CKD) kits which were then assembled at a local factory. The company ceased automobile production in 1966.
Firebird: PONTIAC- Produced from 1967-2002, it designed as a ‘pony car’ to compete with Ford Mutstang. Between 1978-1982, they sold more cars than any other period in history. Later many enthusiasts of the brand were disappointed by its flashy yellow color and new designs that strayed from the original look that people had fallen in love with.
Falcon: FORD- A full sized car manufactured from 1960 to 2016. American advertising for the first Falcon in 1960 was the time Charles Shultz’s beloved Peanuts had Snoopy and Charlie Brown shill the Falcon.
Skylark: BUICK- A passenger car, that was made in six production runs, during 46 years, over which the car’s design varied dramatically. It was created in 1953 to mark the 50th anniversary of Buick Motor Company. It had lots of extra features such as power windows, full carpeting, power brakes, AM radio set and a new 12 Volt electrical system.
Road Runner: PLYMOUTH- A mid-sized car produced from 1968-1980. The named it after ‘The Road Runner’- the cartoon character created by Warner Bros. They paid US$ 50,000 to Warner Bros for the rights to the name.
Hawk: STUDEBAKER-PACKARD- ‘A family sports cars’ produced between 1956-1964. This company was in business for 114 years, began back in 1852, with the creation of horse-drawn farm wagons. They met their demise in 1966 when they failed to continue competing with other modern-day brands. Interestingly, they had a car named ‘Dictator’ until Hitler began to rise to power. In 1937, they dropped the name due to negative association with Hitler.
Bluebird: DATSUN- A popular Sedan produced by Nissan from 1979 to 1984. It was designed by the famed Italian design house- Pinifarina, who were best known for their work, with Ferrari and Fiat. They came up with a distinctive modern design which had obvious Italian looks, yet at the same time they managed to give it a definite oriental feel.
Sunbird: PONTIAC- Produced between 1976-94, to compete with Ford Mustang, Toyota Celica and Volkswagen Scirocco. It was available in coupe, station wagon and hatchback.
Eagle: AMERICAN MOTORS- A compact four-wheel drive passenger car produced from 1980-87. It was the most advanced four-wheel drive around that time. It also had a clever ‘Select Drive’ system that could disconnect the front driveshaft in order to improve the car’s overall fuel efficiency.
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