Posted by Ben on 05 30th, 2012
Have you ever wondered where automobile logos originate from? Have you ever asked yourself why Ferrari emblem has got a horse on it? …or what Audi rings stand for? Today we’re recalling the history of the most famous car logos on the market to find out about their symbolism. After all, once you read this post, next time you’re stuck in traffic , you will know why the Mercedes-Benz in front of you has a three-pointed star. While a good story can go a long way toward embellishing a brand’s corporate identity, tell us which logo do you like better.
You’ll be surprised to get to know the story behind the Chevy logo. Well, guess what… It was the wallpaper pattern in the hotel room that inspired Louis Chevrolet to create the Bowtie emblem, altough his wife claimed that it had nothing to do with the wallpaper pattern, but it was the advertisement with similarly shaped logo that Louis Chevrolet had noticed.
Chevrolet marked its 100th anniversary last year and the video below was made to celebrate this event and emphasize the iconic character of Chevy vehicles. Check out the spot titled ‘Then & Now’ video to realize the importance of brand’s 100-year history!
Cadillac’s first logo originated from a family crest of a minor aristocrat that the brand was named after (Antoine de La Mothe, Seigneur de Cadillac).With absolutely new design philosophy named “art and science”, Cadillac’s logo was redesigned in 1998. What was gone is the six birds, the crown, and the entire fabricated de La Mothe family crest.
According to Jaguar, the logo has dramatically changed in 40 years: while the icon received a metallic fill and shadow, the type became wider and shorter. Others consider it an evolution of what was created ten years ago rather than a radical change that the brand has made to its visual identification.
While most people have heard of Henry Ford as the founder of Ford company, they have no clue that it’s his third automobile company. Henry Ford’s Detroit Automobile Company went bankrupt in just 2 years, but he never gave up and later founded Henry Ford Company which existed only one year though. Henry Ford went on and established his third automobile company, the Ford & Malcomson, Ltd. in 1902. The company’s first chief engineer and designer who has put a hand to designing the Model T, also created the legendary Ford logo. The iconic blue oval that remained in use until nowadays was added later for the 1927 Model A.
It’s not really mentioned on the company’s website, but Volkswagen (that translates as “People’s Car” btw) traces its history to Adolf Hitler. When cars were too expensive for most peeps after World War I, Hitler spoke at the 1933 Berlin Auto Show about creating an absolutely new and affordable car. Meanwhile, Porsche was working on the odd-looking yet inexpensive car that was later named Volkswagen Beetle. It was Hitler who provided Porsche a sketch of the car’s basic design and specifications it should have, such as: a top speed of 62 mph, a fuel consumption of 42 mpg, and an ability to carry 2 adults and 3 kids.
The badges for Chrysler have been rather various during 80 years: they were ranging from ribbon seals to ribbon seals with wings, to Pentastar, etc. In 1962, Chrysler Chairman Lynn Townsend decided to go modern and make the log less fussy. When the Pentastar was chosen out of approximately 700 designs, many people though it symbolized the five divisions of the company, but it didn’t. The logo was designed so to simply look good.
David Dunbar Buick, the Scottish-American inventor of the overhead valve engine, founded the Buick Motor Company in 1903. Regarding the logos, the earlier badges were just variations of the cursive word “Buick”, but in 1930s, Ralph Pew, General Motor styling researcher decided to use the family crest of the Scottish “Buik” as a radiator grille decoration. The logo was changed in 1960 again incorporating three such shields which was a representation of three Buick models (LeSabre, Invicta, and Electra).
Back in 1913, BMW (aka Bayerische Motoren Werke AG) was formed from two aircraft factories founded by Karl Friedrich Rapp and Gustav Otto. While Rapp and Otto had nothing to do with manufacturing of cars, it was Josef Popp, Max Friz and Camillo Castiglioni who made BMW a modern car manufacturer. As for the logo, it was a representation of a spinning propeller of a Bavarian Luftwaffe. The colors used (white and blue) replicated the colors of the Bavarian flag.
Update: Despite the well-known rumor that BMW logo was a representation of a spinning propeller of a Bavarian Luftwaffe, it is still a rumor. It was New York Times who discovered that the emblem is rather a tribute to the Free State of Bavaria, than a spinning airplane propeller. It was created in 1917, at the time when the usage of national symbols in commercial trademarks was illegal. As for the association between BMW emblem and an airplane propeller, it comes from the 1929 advertisement.
Updated thanks to Chhun Tang.
The story behind the name of Audi company is kinda funny, because August Horch, the founder of Audi couldn’t name it after himself as “Horch” was already in use for the other company. Meanwhile, his last name means “hark” what became the lawyer-friendly “Audi”. In 1932, four companies (Audi, DKW, Wanderer, and the original Horch) joined under the corporate banner of Auto Union and that’s when four interlinked Audi rings occured.
A.L.F.A. stands for Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili (Lombard Automobile Factory, Public Company) and its distinctive logo was designed in 1910. The design itself comes from the red cross on the Milan Flag and the Coat of Arms of the noble House of Visconti. The second part of the brand’s name “Romeo” came when Neapolitan businessman Nicola Romeo purchased the company and used its factories to produce machineries for World War I. Even though the company went back to manufacturing automobiles, it kept the name “Alfa Romeo”.
Aston Martin company was founded in 1913 by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford. Manufacturing Singers racing cars at the beginning, they decided to build more sophisticated models later on. The name of the company comes from the founder Lionel Martin and the racing course Aston Clinton, where their car had taken the victory previously.
Fiat, or Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino (Italian Automobile Factory of Turin), was established in 1899 with Giovanni Agnelli in chief. The logo of the 1960′s was made up by the company’s chief designer who once saw the outline of the factory’s neon sign against the dark sky as he was driving past the factory.
Two brothers, Jean-Pierre Peugeot and Jean-Frédéric Peugeot started their automobile business from bicycles while turning into the largest bicycle manufacturers in France. Based on the flag of the Région Franche-Comté, the “lion” logo was created in 1847 by Justin Blazer, a jeweler and engraver.
The most recognizable logo of all time, Ferrari’s horse was first noticed on warplanes flown by Francesco Baracca, the hero of World War I. Enzo Ferrari was offered to use prancing horse badge on his race cars when he met parents of Francesco Baracca in 1923. Since Francesco died, the horse badge was meant for both, the good luck, and as the homage to Francesco. The yellow background of the emblem stands for the official color of Modena, Italy, Enzo Ferrari’s hometown.
The emblem of Mercedes-Benz is another logo that originates before the dawn of the car. Its three-pointed star actually symbolizes the usage of Mercedes-Benz engines on land, sea and air. However, the star was first noticed in the personal note of Gottlieb Daimler, the company founder. This famous star marked the location of Mr. Daimler’s family’s new home.
Image Credit: myoldpostcards, dmentd, sanders, HoskingIndustries, exfordy, John Mayhead, Bill Jacomet, dketchum, My_Private_Photographer, Roderick, Florian Hardwig, Triborough, zuffi hausen, Ate Up With Motor, Shot by Shane
Car emblems appear on everything, from steering wheel hubs to shirts, to giant billboards. Indeed, logos influence our minds greatly, since the designers put much effort into creating strong and effective logos. While it’s essential to look long-term and not too trendy, some logos are more successful than others. What CARiD offers drivers who want to look up-to-date on the road is an an extensive selection of aftermarket accessories that unveil the beauty of your vehicle. Check out some of the examples below:
CARiD.com · Eight-A Corporate Center · 1 Corporate Drive · Cranbury · New Jersey · 08512 · USA
Toll Free: 800.505.3274 · International: 609.642.4700 · Fax: 609.964.1983
All manufacturer names, symbols, and descriptions, used in our images and text are used solely for identification purposes only.
It is neither inferred nor implied that any item sold by CARiD.com, is a product authorized by or in any way connected with any vehicle manufacturers displayed on this page.
Copyright © 2003-2012 CARiD.com. All rights reserved.