Something made me go "Hmm. I wonder." Yesterday, while
tinkering on my late dad's (now my) '69 Ford Bronco, & also finding
out before that a lot of Bronco parts are also '60s-ish Mustang parts,
it occurred to me that NAA also built both a Mustang (P-51, of course)
& a Bronco (OV-10). Is there some deep, dark kinship with FoMoCo &
NAA?? Or just one of those coincidences that make me go, "hmm'?
No relation, but the P-51's moniker didn't hurt the decision Ford made to
name the car after the breed of horse. The original project name for Ford's
original ponycar was "Cougar". Ford was on a real western tear there for a
while - Maverick, Mustang, Pinto, Bronco, Lariat (on the F-150),
I could be wrong, but I think we have the Brits to thank for the name
Mustang, not NA. Offcially the USAAF went with number designations only
before the planes started picking up names. Don't know if "Apache" for the
A-36s was official or not or equally applied to the first P-51 fighter
models - but it's in the mix there somewhere.
The Brits came up with some good names - except for maybe Martlet (Wildcat)
and I think they christened the F2A as the Buffalo, too. Not exactly
I believe that one USAAF combat group in Italy also campaigned for the
adoption of the name "Invader".
The F4F was indeed initially called "Martlet" in FAA service. However, the
FM-2 version was known as the "Wildcat VI".
The F6F was originally named "Gannet" in FAA service. However, by the time
they reached squadron service, the FAA had reverted to the name "Hellcat".
Similarly, the TBF was originally named "Tarpon", but reverted to "Avenger".
P-40s were given the name "Warhawk" in US service, but the more recognisable
"Tomahawk" and "Kittyhawk" were British names.
The P-39 was taken into RAF service as the "Caribou".
The SB2U Vindicator was known as the "Chesapeake" in FAA service.
The SBC Helldiver was known as the "Cleveland".