“What fools indeed we mortals are
To lavish care upon a Car,
With ne’er a bit of time to see
About our own machinery!”
- John Kendrick Bangs (1862-1922), American author, editor and satirist.
Indeed, we care about and for cars more than we care for ourselves. And often, the first thing we care about is the brand, symbolized by the logo. Some of these car logos are famous throughout the world, instantly recognizable at a moment’s notice. The Mercedes Benz three-pointed star, the Ferrari prancing horse, the Chevrolet bow-tie – they represent the brand wherever there products are found. Here, we present the not-so-well-known stories behind some of these well-known logos, in no particular order. We have intentionally not included logos that are self-explanatory, such as those that include the name (or initial) of the brand – Ford, Honda, etc.
- Mercedes Benz: Two German car manufacturers, Benz & Cie. and Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft, merged in 1928 giving rise to Daimler Benz Co. The famous three-starred logo was originally designed by Gottlieb Daimler in 1909, and subsequently featured on Daimler Benz cars. After Daimler’s death, his partner, Wilhelm Maybach, took over the company and sold many Daimler cars to wealthy businessman Emile Jellinek, who later bankrolled development of a new line of cars named after his daughter Mercedes. Hence, the name. The logo is supposed to represent the brand’s “domination of the land, the sea, and the air.”
- Ferrari: The famous Cavallino Rampante or “prancing horse” logo has its origins in a chance meeting between company founder Enzo Ferrari and Countess Paolina, mother of Count Francesco Baracca who had been an ace of the Italian air force and used to paint a horse on the side of his planes. The Countess asked Ferrari to paint a horse on his cars for luck. The black color was used to symbolize grief at Baracca’s death in action while the yellow color represented his birthplace of Modena.