What’s in a name?

Plenty when it comes to beastly car name choices from a bygone era and their accuracy in terms of wild animal performance.

Our non-humanoid list includes mammals, fish and bird names that were fastened to the sheet metal (or fiberglass) on some of the most interesting rapid retro rides in our opinion here at MyStarCollectorCar.

No list would be complete without a Studebaker Golden Hawk built during the Fabulous Fifties by the little car company from South Bend, Indiana. Studebaker was not exactly swimming in cash during this era, but its acquisition of Packard gave it a leg-up in the power department, if not the handling department when Studebaker wedged Packard’s heavy big block into their ‘56 Golden Hawks.

In subsequent years, the brute force Packard engines were replaced by Studebaker’s famous supercharged 289 small block engine that also delivered big performance-but with less weight. The Golden Hawk could easily fit the early muscle car bill if one considers its Elvis-era time frame, so this fast Studey is a solid member of our beast mode retro ride list.

The second member of our list is an easy one, namely the ground-breaking C-2 Corvette Sting Ray, a legendary car model that became even more powerful during its five-year production run.

Adding a Sting Ray to our list is a little like shooting fish in a barrel, but these cars with a marine creature name need to be on everybody’s list of beast mode rides.

The third member of our list may strike some of our MyStarCollectorCar readers as an unusual choice because we believe the first-generation Mercury Cougar also belongs on our animal list. The Cougar was an upscale pony car with a good pedigree (Mercury) that fought a credibility battle because it had a luxury car background and was never considered to be a street warrior by many car guys.

However, Mercury upped its game in a big way when it introduced the 1969-70 Cougar Eliminators equipped with the legendary 428 Cobra Jet engine and put a large bite into the competition on the street and track. Mercury even added an extra cubic inch with its extremely limited edition 429 track versions.

Either way, a Mercury Cougar Eliminator equipped with a big block was a bloodthirsty beast of a car.

The fourth addition to our list is another feline, namely the Sunbeam Tiger made famous by Maxwell Smart, TV’s funniest spy. The Sunbeam Tiger was a British sports car equipped with Ford’s small block V-8 engines, initially the 260 and eventually the legendary 289, both under Carroll Shelby’s watch. 

The Sunbeam Tiger was an unlikely beast of a car and rightfully deserves its place on MyStarCollectorCar’s animal list.

The fifth and final member of MyStarCollectorCar’s beast mode list is the Plymouth Road Runner, an affordable big block bird from the late 1960s. Surprisingly, the actual Roadrunner bird is an unlikely carnivore that will dine on lizards (and even rattlesnakes) whenever the opportunity arises, so it is a bloodthirsty beast in feathers.

BY: Jim Sutherland

Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section.