The influence of heavenly bodies pervades our car culture in more ways than one
Space may be the final frontier, but there has been an age-old relationship between man and sky. And with the advent of the automobile, even car manufacturers have drawn inspiration from celestial elements and astronomical phenomena; such is the depth of its influence. To shed some light on the matter, we list out some of the car brands, models and machinery that are namesakes of the many stellar terms.
The Ford Taurus is a favored family car that rolled out of showrooms since 1985 and hasn’t stopped since. The Taurus full-size sedan has been a cash cow for Ford in the past, with apparently over eight million produced in North America alone. In the night sky, the Taurus is a constellation of stars, which includes the Pleiades cluster, and represents the bull.
The Equinox is a popular 2-row crossover SUV, first introduced in 2004, that has found its place in many homes thanks to its balance of style, practicality and affordability; and that balance is reflected in its name as well. The term ‘equinox’ comes from the Latin words ‘aequi’ which means ‘equal’, and ‘nox’ meaning ‘night’. It is the time of the year when day and night share equal durations of the 24h clock, which happens once during the summer and once during Autumn.
The Northstar is also known as the Polestar. And if you have been keeping track of news concerning sustainability and electric cars, you may have come across the Swedish automotive brand called Polestar. It was established in 1996 by Volvo Cars’ partner Flash/Polestar Racing and was later purchased by Volvo in 2015 and by Geely in 2010. The firm that is headquartered in Torslanda, Sweden concentrates on developing a range of electric performance cars.
And if this isn’t enough, we also have several others examples that evince the connection of cars with stars, such as the Sunstreaker Autobot from Transformers, the Ford Galaxy MPV, the Mercury Comet from the 70’s and the Saturn Sky (rebranded as the Pontiac Solstice).
Do you recall the stately Cadillacs from the 90’s and 00’s. These were equipped with the Northstar engines — a range of 90° V8 engines produced by General Motors between circa, 1993 and 2011. Besides sounding cool, they were also relatively complex and rated for high-performance, thanks to technologies like the double overhead cam , the four-valve-per-cylinder arrangement and aluminum block and head. The engine, which started off with a 4.6-litre displacement transitioned to a 4.4-litre supercharged version.
How does it relate to the night sky? Well, the Northstar, also called Polaris is known to remain in roughly the same location every night from dusk to dawn. This makes it an invaluable marker for those navigating the northern hemisphere by determining latitude and north-south direction.
Toyota Camry Solar
Though it was never officially released in the GCC, the Toyota Camry Solara has been spotted on the streets of Dubai more than once. The 2-door coupe/convertible variant of the popular Camry produced between 1999 and 2008, gave more of a cushy GT vibe than that of an all-out sports car. And if you are into the etymologies, you’d guess that the name Solara has something to with the sun. In fact, it directly translates from Latin as “of the sun.”
Recent blockbuster movies of Dr. Strange, the Marvel superhero who draws inspiration from Eastern philosophies, have ensured that all of us are familiar with the term astral projection. Speaking of which, the term ‘astra’, comes from the Latin word astrum or ‘star’. And it has been the namesake of the affordable compact car that has been sold under almost every brand in GM’s portfolio including Opel, Vauxhall, Chevrolet and Holden. Yes, there was a whole lot of intermixing of brands, after all ‘Astra’ is the plural or ‘Astrum’. How befitting!
Mitsubishi Eclipse / Eclipse Cross
If you’re a fan of the Fast & Furious series, you are sure to know the Mitsubishi Eclipse. The sports car drew many to Mitsubishi showrooms between 1989 and 2011, thanks to its unique styling and budget-friendly price tag. But after four generations the nameplate was retired and the thing is, he did not retire gracefully. Recent manufacturer-taken photos of the last Eclipse produced have emerged, and they do not look good. Then in 2017, Mitsubishi revived the Eclipse name in the form of Eclipse Cross, which to everyone’s surprise is a compact crossover!
Oh, and about its connection to the topic concerned, no one needs to be told what an eclipse is. It is the obscuring of the light from one celestial body by another as it passes, as observed by us on Earth.
The fact that Subaru vehicles are popular around the globe and that the North American market has a special pinchant for these 4×4 range of vehicles is no secret. But have any of you noticed that the Subaru logo consists of a blue oval with a star cluster? If yes, bless your skills of observation. The term subaru signifies a Japanese word meaning ‘unite’. It also identifies a cluster of stars, six to be precise, called the Pleiades by the Greeks. And as far as mythology and rumours of alien life go, some believe the ancestors to many a civilisation, have come from these stars.