Although many automakers have disappeared over the years, many have survived and part of their success is undoubtedly a good brand. Many of these famous brands have fascinating stories …
While the main Rolls Royce logo – two interconnected Rs – is self-explanatory, the ‘Spirit of Exactly’ is far more interesting. Baron John Montagu hired Charles Robinson Sykes to create a mascot for his 1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost. The final mascot was inspired by Montagu’s secret lover, a British actress named Eleanor Velasco Thornton. It was called The Whisper. Later, Rolls Royce noticed that its customers were attaching unremarkable ornaments to their cars, so it approached Sykes to create the spirit of speed, which we now know as the spirit of ecstasy. Sykes used Thronton once again as his muse for the now world famous mascot.
Ferrari’s famous prancing stallion emerged when Enzo Ferrari met the mother of the famous Italian fighter Francesco Baracca. Barack’s mother suggested that Enzo use the horse that was on his son’s fighter plane, for luck. Enzo agreed and the horse seems to have brought a lot of luck to the firm.
The Alfa Romeo emblem is divided vertically in two. The left half displays the Milan flag, the home of Alfa; a red cross on a white background. To the right is a snake with a man emerging from its mouth, symbolizing rebirth; the man is often mistaken for flames. There are other, more controversial interpretations of the logo’s origins.
The original Aston Martin logo comprised an interconnected A and M. Later, the famous wings were introduced and were maintained even after British industrialist David Brown took control of the company. The logo has become one of the most recognized of all automotive symbols.
The Porsche logo is based on the coat of arms of the Free People’s State of Wurttemberg, but the exact origins of the design are still debated. Some say Porsche engineer Franz Xaver Reimpies designed it, while others believe Ferry Porsche scribbled it on a napkin during a meeting with American importer Max Hoffman. The horse was added because Porsche’s first base was a stud farm in Stuttgart, the city where most production models are still manufactured.
The Toyota logo is the youngest on the list, having been completed in 1989, after five years of development. The logo was created to support Toyota’s international expansion and to mark the company’s 50th anniversary. It has two interconnected ellipses that form a T, surrounded by another ellipse. There are numerous interpretations of the meaning of the logo, as that the ellipses represent the fusion of the hearts of the customer and the company. Interestingly, all the letters in ‘Toyota’ appear on the logo. As successful as the logo is, we can ask ourselves why it took them five years to imagine three oval shapes!
Volkswagen has its roots in pre-war Germany, when Hitler hired Ferdinand Porsche to develop a low-cost family car – which became the Beetle. The original logo featured the famous VW configuration, but with a ‘whooshing’ swastika around it. Naturally, after the fall of the Third Reich, the swastika element was abandoned, but the original VW motif remains.
Many people believe that the BMW logo – a disc consisting of four alternating blue and white quarters – is based on the propeller of an airplane. But while BMW has made aircraft engines, in reality the blue and white are based on the Bavarian flag – where the BMWs come from.
The Lotus logo is a yellow disc containing a rounded triangle in British green. Above the letters LOTUS is a motif of four connected letters that represent the company’s founder, Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman. However, there are rumors that Chapman’s original partners, Micheal and Nigel Allen, were led to believe that the letters represented Colin Chapman and the Allen brothers.
The three diamonds of the Mitsubishi logo date back to 1875, when it was primarily a shipping company. The brand was inspired by the coat of arms of the owners – the Yamauchi and Isasaki families, with the old coat of arms composed of three water chestnuts arranged as a propeller. It was appropriate, then, for the company to build thousands of fighter planes for the Japanese Navy in World War II, notably the famous A6M Zero.