Development of car marque and model badges
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  1. #1
    XTC
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    Default Development of car marque and model badges

    The first motor cars built by Carl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler did not bear any company or marque identification on their bodywork. Neither did large factories bother displaying any emblem or logo at the start of the last century, to indicate to the outside world what was being manufactured behind the forbidding high walls. Very few companies had the remotest clue about promoting the company or product name.

    It was not until around 1900, when people were slowly getting used to horseless motorised vehicles, that car manufacturers hesitantly started to display a company logo or marque badge on their vehicles. It did not take long for the importance of a marque name to be recognised, because the early cars were so similar to one another that these motorised coaches (at the time, many motor cars were nothing more than this) were frequently mixed up.

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    In most cases, the first marque names were attached to the side of the body. They were mostly of a very simple design, because the flowing curves or the wording were easy to stamp from brass. But the odd badge was cast in relief in bronze, and it was these versions that, in the ensuing years, developed into the marque badges that we typically see today. From around 1907, our cars were adorned by brass radiator grilles, and the top part of the radiator grille was an ideal place to attach small badges. Many manufactures had al last realised the promotional qualities of a marque badge. The name stamped in sheet metal slowly lost ground, and those who could afford it commissioned prominent artists to design a striking emblem.

    Up until around 1914, enamelled badges were manufactured from brass sheet. Their precision and multicoloured design are unmatched today, and so it is easy to understand that collecting historic car badges has now become a hobby for people who might not be remotely interested in old cars.

    The best known manufacturing method started out with a piece of copper alloy sheet which was first stamped in an “engraving press”. This produced various patterns, elevations or edges into which melted, coloured glass was poured. Following this pressing, a number of grinding and polishing stages were carried out, transforming these small badges into little gems.

    Many car manufacturers, however, were not satisfied with just having the one badge on the radiator grille. The hubcaps frequently also bore the company logo. In many cases, the companies simply engraved the hubcaps, but there were also numerous cast copper alloy versions. The cast variants had the advantage that they allowed relief and embossed forms to be produced. Like the badges, the hubcaps also changed their appearance and their manufacturing methods over the following decades...

    There were no limits to the imagination. Symbolic animals, heraldic coats of arms, even Greek mythology made inroads into the history of the small badges. Names of gods and goddesses were intended to bring luck and success, but even the home links of many manufacturers were expressed in the designs.

    The Jaguar badge on the “XK 120” referred to the top speed of 120 mph. The supplementary wording “230 SL” on a Mercedes Benz reveals that this car has an engine in the 2.3 litre capacity class. The list of such examples could be continued ad infinitum. The car badges did not escape the decades of automotive history without modification. The initially round, glazed emblems started to take on interesting shapes, particularly in the post-war era, sometimes taking an oval form, occasionally that of a coat of arms or a rhombus. There were no limits to the imagination. Symbolic animals, heraldic coats of arms, even Greek mythology made inroads into the history of the small badges. Names of gods and goddesses were intended to bring luck and success, but even the home links of many manufacturers were expressed in the designs. Here are just a few examples:

    The trident in the emblem of Maserati’s sports car is borrowed from the Neptune fountain in Bologna. Alfa Romeo, too, used symbols from its home town for its marque badge: the logo (red cross and green snake with dragon’s head) is from the Milan coat of arms. Porsche acknowledged its origins by borrowing the key elements of the Stuttgart municipal coat of arms. Ferruccio Lamborghini selected a bull as a symbol for his heraldic emblem to indicate that he was producing sports cars with plenty of power! But even very simple combinations made an impact. Volkswagen simply fused the letters VW inside a circle. This badge, together with the three-pointed “Mercedes star”, is even today one of the best known car badges.

    Probably the oldest car badge of all, however, was created in an era before motor vehicles rumbled over our roads: Peugeot’s lion. Emil Peugeot designed this symbol back in 1857, and used it for his product range (cutting tools, saw blades, etc.). This lion then adorned his early motor cars (Peugeot was building cars from 1889), symbolising the robustness of these new products. BMW’s badge also goes back to an era before cars were being built. Long before the company started building motor cars (from 1928) it was producing aircraft propellers, and the blue and white logo is nothing more than a stylised white propeller on a blue sky.

    If one were to take the time to research the history of each individual marque badge, the origin of the company could be found in virtually every logo. Naturally, even company badges have undergone development and occasionally been modified. The good old times, when the radiator grilles of cars were embellished with beautifully intricate emblems, are long gone. The badges of today have shed every superfluous element. They have been increasingly simplified and cut down to their essential geometric forms, which are quickly internalised and therefore rapidly recognised.
    You're not fooling everyone, or did you forget? .......




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  2. #2
    Budding Architect ???? pugrambo's Avatar
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    also, even though the benz was the first car peugeot is the oldest and longest running car manufacturer in the world

    the peugeot name is the longest running, unchanged name and as such makes it the oldest or longest running car maker

    just thought i would add that as a bit of trivia
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  3. #3
    1000+ Posts Haakon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XTC206
    The first motor cars built by Carl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler did not bear any company or marque identification on their bodywork. .
    Thats because it was engineered and built by NSU...
    I tried to drown my sorrows in alcohol, but the bastards learnt how to swim

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    1000+ Posts dino's Avatar
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    ...some more....i believe the mercedes star framed by a circle is a combination of the two companies loggos ie star and circle-merecedes and benz....also one of the few companies that carried dual badges....one on top of the grill (the star) and the other facing the front which was more of a traditional relief stayle badge-silver and blue.....

    Peugeot also shared the presitige associated by the pininfarina design house, whose signature has been displayed by the 306 convertible....note the new astra convertible carries the bertone tag as well......really the 205 should have had one as well......masses of our population are not aware of this link.....



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    1000+ Posts zykyra's Avatar
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    Thought I'd explain where the Cit logo comes from FYI. Citroen produced ship gears from 1901 till just after WWII. They had chevrons as their linkage pattern. This eventually became the chevron logo as we know it today. This one pictured was the largest of its day. It is also interesting to note that Citroen made gears for the "Titanic"! but I might leave that one alone I think! The same factory also produced missile shells. Interesting to note also that Citroen also made Tractors & Helicopters in its history!
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    1000+ Posts zykyra's Avatar
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    Ooops, forgot too ask....anyone got the low-down on the inspiration behind the Pug & Renault badges?. One thing I have always liked about European cars in general is how they are proud of their heritage & rarely change it. Citroen has had 4 logo changes since they started but all have still incoorporated the chevron at least. Renault has only had 3 that I can think of but still retain the diamond & Peugeot has always had the "Lion". The emblems seem to evolve rather than being re-invented all the time. Bloody Mazdas, Toyotas but too name a few seem to change the design every few years! They spend thousands of dollars on marketing "guru's" to find an emblem that "speaks" to the people.....tossers! Most high end exotic car manufacturers have never changed their emblem since their inception....good on em'!
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  7. #7
    farmerdave
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    Ahh, the mystique of symbolism....
    The pug lion is apparently based on a statue of a lion at Belfort which commemorates victory over the Prussians in 1871. So, there is a history of toward things German in Peugeot.........for better or worse.

  8. #8
    1000+ Posts REN TIN TIN's Avatar
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    Renault has had more than 3 changes as above:
    I personally like the Vaserelli designed logo form 1972 the best.

    Ren
    Last edited by REN TIN TIN; 8th June 2004 at 07:54 AM.
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