So we all know that Enzo Ferrari started using the Prancing Horse on his cars because the mother of an Italian fighter pilot who used it on his planes told Enzo it would bring him luck and that the Subaru badge is the Pleiades star cluster, but what about some of the others?
Just like their names, some of the badge origins are startlingly dull and some are rather quite interesting indeed. Here are five:
The Lamborghini Bull
This one seems simple on the surface; Ferrari has a horse, bulls are cooler and tougher than horses, so Lamborghini should have a bull on its cars. But, alas, that is not true. And the truth is even simpler.
It seems that Ferruccio Lamborghini was born on April 28th 1916, making him a Taurus. Plus he really, really liked bull fighting, so he decided to put a bull badge on his cars. I guess we can all be thankful that he wasn’t an Aquarius and a fan of fishing or we would have had things like the Lamborghini Cod...
The Mercedes-Benz three-pointed star
The thee-pointed star is a strong, simple logo that is instantly recognisable. Children may joke that it is a sight used to line up poor people on pedestrian crossings before mowing them down in your Teutonic death machine, but the reality is even more arrogant than that.
The three points of the star are meant to indicate Mercedes’ domination of the land, air and sea. Even though they don’t build planes of boats.
They don’t seem to promote their car’s exceptional abilities at both floating and flying, so maybe we are missing something there...
The BMW roundel
As instantly recognisable as the Merc three-pointed star, the BMW roundel actually has its true origins shrouded by an incorrect urban legend - that the logo represents the movement of a plane propeller with the white blades cutting through the blue sky.
But this isn’t actually true. The BMW logo is actually derived from the Rapp Motorenworke (the aircraft manufacturer that BMW evolved from) company logo, combined with the colours of the flag of Bavaria.
The “propeller logo” story came about from a newspaper ad that ran 12 years after BMW first used the logo that superimposed the logo over the spinning propeller of a plane. and probably the fact that the company actually used to make planes...
The Chevrolet bowtie
The Chev “Bowtie” logo (that looks literally NOTHING like a bowtie, by the way...) has so many origin stories that it would not be a surprise if Hollywood decided to do a gritty reboot of it.
The first story is that Chevrolet co-founder William C. Durant came up with the logo after he saw the shape in the wallpaper of a hotel room in Paris he was staying in.
Durant wife, however, says that he saw the shape in a newspaper ad for Coalettes fire coals.
Other sources claim that it is a astylised version of the cross on the Swiss flag, because Louis Chevrolet was born in Switzerland, while elsewhere it is said that Durant scribbled the design on a napkin at the diner table one night.
Even Chevrolet doesn’t know for sure where the design came from and lists all the above theories on its own website! One thing is for sure, however, it really doesn’t look anything like a bowtie...
The MINI wings
Someone in BMW’s marketing department wrote MINI all in uppercase letters in a circle and then put stubby wings on either side ‘cos they looked cool. Really, that’s it. There’s no great significance to it in any way. Probably cost them a fortune in design fees though...