Car Logos: The Neatorama History

March 12, 2008
Ever wondered why the Audi in front of you has a logo of four interlocked rings? Did you know that the Cadillac emblem was inspired by a family crest of a nobleman who later turned out to be a fraud? Or that Volkswagen was Hitler’s idea?

We did, but we still love this page from the Neatorama blog. It's a deep dive into the history of car logos, with some great illustrations of the progress of logos from Alfa Romeo, BMW, Cadillac and others. The Caddy crest, for example, turned out to be somewhat fabricated. And BMW's whirling propeller has gone through some interesting iterations in the past near-century.

Bookmark their page below, for the next time you're stranded at Starbucks (not while you're sitting in traffic like the "driver" I witnessed this morning.) And read more in depth about these logos and more:

Audi: Audi was born in 1910, but actually came together in 1932 as the union of four car brands. Eventually, the logo of one of them, Auto Union, was adopted for the group.

BMW: It's supposed to look like the spinning propeller of a Luftwaffe plane. You kind of have to squint.

Cadillac: The first version was based on the family crest of Antoine de La Mothe, Seigneur de Cadillac (Sir of Cadillac), who founded the fort that would grow into the city of Detroit. He claimed nobility but history suggests he fled France under mysterious circumstances.

Ford: Ford's first designer, Childe Harold Wills, used the font from his personal business card to write out the company name. The blue oval was added in 1927.

Mercedes-Benz: What's that three-pointed star for? Vehicles "on land, on water and in the air," Neatorama says.

Volkswagen: Like all things VW, the logo is inextricably linked to Porsche. In this case it was designed by a Porsche employee.

What's your favorite car logo? Tell us in a comment below.

Read It: Neatorama's Web page on car logos

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