Four car badges with interesting stories (and one dull one)

Okay, so a badge isn't always the first thing you notice on a car. But some have fascinating stories behind them.
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Okay, so a badge isn't always the first thing you notice on a car. But some have fascinating stories behind them.

 

This is our second instalment of the interesting stories behind car badges. We'd love to include Mazda this time to complement the CX-5 piece on this page... but we can't. Because while the company likes to say its logo "symbolises the company's flight toward the future", it's really just an M. Sorry. But it does show that not every logo has a colourful back story, so let's celebrate the ones that do.

Like these five. Well, actually, it's the interesting stories behind four car logos and one notable for being incredibly tedious.

Lamborghini

Lamborghini has a bull on its badge. It's a bull that's really angry at Ferrari (possibly).
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Lamborghini has a bull on its badge. It's a bull that's really angry at Ferrari (possibly).

Much like the company, Lamborghini's logo was basically born out of spite.

After being insulted by Enzo Ferrari, Lamborghini - a tractor manufacturer -decided to build his own high-performance sports cars. He also chose to make his new car company's logo a shameless ripoff of the famous Ferrari prancing horse on a shield shape. Except instead of a horse it was a raging bull and instead of yellow, it was gold, because if you are gonna one-up someone else's logo, you gotta go all the way with it. A bull was chosen because Lamborghini was a Taurus and a huge fan of bull fighting. And because bulls are way tougher than horses, no doubt.

Peugeot

Peugeot's lion-logo was directly inspired by a saw. No, really.
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Peugeot's lion-logo was directly inspired by a saw. No, really.

While the current incarnation of the Peugeot logo looks remarkably like a man in an ill-fitting lion costume, it actually has a long and proud history.

Back in 1847 when Jules and Emile Peugeot asked a French jeweller and engraver Julien Blazer to design a logo for identifying all Peugeot products (they made everything from saw blades, coffee grinders and tools through to bicycles, guns and, eventually, cars). Blazer chose the lion to represent the company's main product at the time - saw blades. He said the blades had strong teeth, like the lion, the suppleness of the blades was like the lion's spine and the swiftness of the cut was like the lion pouncing on its prey. We wonder what part of the lion represents "poor gearbox calibration"?

Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi branding is often referred to as "three diamonds". Ah, that old chestnut.
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Mitsubishi branding is often referred to as "three diamonds". Ah, that old chestnut.

According to the company, Mitsubishi is a combination of the Japanese words "mitsu", which means "three", and "hishi", which means "water chestnut". Yep, that's right: three water chestnuts. But, it also happens that in Japan the word is also used to denote the rhombus or diamond shape. Which is much better.

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The three diamonds came from the fact that Yataro Iwasaki's first employer was the Tosa Clan that used a three-leaf crest in the same shape, while Iwasaki's family crest was three stacked rhombuses. So he chose to honour both of those in his new company's logo.

Cadillac

Cadillac was named after a big fake French explorer. Oops.
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Cadillac was named after a big fake French explorer. Oops.

Cadillac is named after the bloke who founded Detroit in 1701 - French explorer and trader Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac - and its logo is based on his coat of arms. While Cadillac was considered something of a hero in the early pioneering days of the USA, this changed in the early 1950s (long after the car company had decided to use his name) when it was discovered that he was actually a bit of git and did, in fact, simply make up his coat of arms, along with all of his noble ancestory.

The company has revised the logo several times over the years, sadly removing the ducks in 1999 (okay, so they were actually Martins, but they looked like ducks).

Toyota

Toyota rings symbolise the unification of... oh, never mind.
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Toyota rings symbolise the unification of... oh, never mind.

There are a number of theories floating around the internet about Toyota's logo.

One of the best is that you can actually spell "Toyota" out of the various shapes in the logo; you actually can, if you are very drunk. But the real story is as desperately dull and blandly corporate as a Corolla.

This is directly from Toyota's website, and sums it all up very nicely: "The Toyota Ellipses symbolise the unification of the hearts of our customers and the heart of Toyota products. The background space represents Toyota's technological advancement and the boundless opportunities ahead."

 - Stuff

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