Some of the oldest and most recognisable brands in the Automotive industry use badges that are trenched in mythology and sometimes obscurity. Here are 15 manufacturer badges and their histories:
Maserati use the trident of a sea God as their emblem after one of the seven Maserati brothers, Mario, was inspired by the trident held by Neptune in the Fontana de Nettuno statue in Bologna’s Piazza Maggiore.
The famous wings on the Aston Martin logo are a nod to it's original heritage as an airplane engine manufacturer. Less clear on the newer renditions of the logo is the "V" shape that connects the wings. No need to explain that one to petrol heads.
There's something sinister going on with this badge. To the left, a nod to the crest of Milan. To the right, it looks like a snake hissing its tongue. Look closer, it is actually a snake consuming a man. Earlier depictions of the logo show this much more obviously. Alfa Romeo's line is that the snake is giving birth to the human, it's a symbol of rebirth. Because snakes don't lay eggs and do give birth orally... :/
Yataro Iwasaki, the founder of the old Mitsubishi organization, chose the three-diamond mark as the emblem for his company. The mark is suggestive of the three-leaf crest of the Tosa Clan, Yataro's first employer, and also of the three stacked rhombuses of the Iwasaki family crest.
The horse at the centre of the Porsche crest represents Stuttgart, which translates to "stud farm" and is where the company was born. The use of gold, red and black represents the colours of the German Flag.
Subaru's logo depicts a constellation of stars in the Taurus constellation that has the same name in Japanese. The big star in the logo represents Fuji Heavy Industries.
Some see an owl crest or wings. Mazda is actually named after the Persian God of wisdom Ahura Mazda, the logo itself is apparently a nod to Mazda's origins as a company and is supposed to be similar to the emblem of Hiroshima in Japan.
The Volvo logo in which the name is surrounded by is interesting, notice the symbol is exactly the same as the symbol to denote the male gender. A symbol of the Roman God of war Mars, with the circle and upwards facing arrow outlining a spear and shield.
Despite the fact that some people still believe that Cadillac logo belongs to La Mothe Cadillac’s noble family coat of arms there is no evidence that such family has ever existed. The founder of the brand borrowed this coat of arms and customized it according to his own needs. It has a shape of shield coated in circle heraldic pattern.
Another British manufacturer paying tribute to its heritage as an airplane engine manufacturer.
Audi would have five rings if the Olympics didn't have that logo already. They were forced to demote to four after five separate companies merged into Audi. Originally the company was going to be called "Horsch" after the founder, but that name was already registered to another company. So "Horsch", which means "listen" in German was converted to the Latin translation of the same word.
A red crowned griffin on the Saab logo denotes the coats of arms of the the Skåne and Östergotland counties in Sweden. It represents vigilance.
The prancing horse is one of the most easily recognised brands in the world. The horse was originally the symbol of Count Francesco Baracca, a legendary "asso" (ace) of the Italian air force during World War I, who painted it on the side of his planes.
The famous French manufacturers logo was actually inspired by a trip to Poland, and the double Chevron denotes the shape of a special gear discovered on a milling machine.
Oldsmobile used a rocket emblem as a tribute to their popular rocket V8 engine. Coincidentally, it is also an upside down Algiz (ᛉ) from the oldest runic alphabet in existence. This particular rune stands for the phonetic sound "z", which is the most prevalent syllable when you say "Oldsmobile".
After looking into the origins of these easily recognisable car manufacturers, one stuck out like a sore thumb as utterly peculiar. The Alfa Romeo badge is probably the strangest. The crest of a man being consumed by a snake is actually what’s known as a “Biscione,” an emblem of the House of Visconti, who controlled the city of Milan from the 13th to the 15th century.
Legend states that in Lake Gerundo, very near Milan, an enormous snake lived and terrorised the inhabitants of the city by attacking and eating the children and polluting the water with its venom. In a heroic effort, Ottone Visconti, the founder of the family, slayed the snake and adorned his coat of arms with its likeness as a symbol of triumph.
Why Alfa Romeo decided to attribute half of their logo to this weird legend remains mysterious. It isn’t like the crest itself depicts a triumphant moment of slaying a snake, but focuses on the darker element of the legend. Maybe it’s to warn us to tame the beastly nature of their more powerful models?