Like the just-announced Renault Rafale, many cars have had names referring to the wind. From the Pagani Zonda to the Volkswagen Bora via the Citroën Eole and many Maseratis (Grecale, Levante…), here is an overview from the air.
Renault has just revealed that its future “coupé” SUV will be called Rafale. This word, already used as a proper name for airplanes, initially designates a short-lived wind acceleration. In this, the Renault Rafale is part of a long line of cars whose names refer to the wind.
The names of winds, always in tune with the times
Evocative of speed and power as well as escape, the wind has been inspiring automakers for decades, especially from the mid-20th century when aerodynamics came to prominence in car design. Some take direct wind names, sometimes simplifying the spelling. Maserati has even made it a trademark, more than any other. His Ghibli, Grecale, Khamsin, Shamal or Kharif, to name a few, are so named after winds.
Other (very) sporty cars were baptized on this model such as the Pagani Zonda, the Lamborghini Diablo, the Rimac Nevera or the Bugatti W16 Mistral, without forgetting the ephemeral manufacturer of Chinook racing cars. Less extreme cars were also entitled to it, like the Hyundai Kona and the Volkswagen Scirocco.
More or less direct evocations
Builders sometimes refer to the wind indirectly. Some, like Renault with the Rafale, use the associated lexical field. This is the case of the Lamborghini Huracan, GMC Typhoon and Hennessey Venom F5 for example. Others derive the name of their cars from that of deities linked to the wind, such as the Renault Austral or the Citroën Eole concept car. But sometimes they go for the simplest, like Renault with the Wind or Volkswagen with the Vento.
The wind being a recurring inspiration in the automobile, it happens that two cars more or less share the same name. Volkswagen and Maserati both had their Bora for example. Will one dare to tell the other that he is not short of air?