HomeCar CultureEye candy: Emblems of an automaker's self-image

Eye candy: Emblems of an automaker’s self-image


The prancing horse. The triton. The bow tie. The double chevrons. The three-pointed star. Four interlocked circles. One circle but divided into four pie-shaped sections, two blue, two white, to create the illusion of a spinning airplane propeller. Henry Ford’s signature, or at least his last name, enclosed within a blue oval.

No doubt, each of those simple descriptions triggers an image in your mind, an image of an automaker’s badge, the emblem it puts on each of its vehicles. In many ways, a company’s self-image placed proudly for all to see. Through the years, automotive badges evolve, sometimes subtly, sometimes radically. And sometimes they simply seem to fade away as an automaker or one of its brands ceases production. Just as there are classic cars, so too there are classic badges. We like to collect them, at least photographs of them, which we’ll be sharing with you from time to time.

All photos by Larry Edsall


Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


  1. Happy. New Year Larry , and thank you very much for entertaining us in 2013 with your wonderful videos and storeys,I don’t know where you find them all but good for you we have loved them all.

  2. When I was a youngster back in the ’50s my buddies and I used to pry emblems off of vehicles that were abandoned behind a local dealers garage. Believe it or not that particular “store” sold new Studebakers, Packards, Volkswagens, Mercedes-Benzes, and Jaguars all under one roof so there were many interesting emblems to collect.
    Also, the city was near a big army base and soldiers returning from Europe would often bring back exotic cars that we never saw oiver here such as Porsches. Those “orphans” were sold off cheaply and some would be pretty valuable today! There was even a Marcos, a Swedish sports car with a wooden frame like a Morgan.
    Anyway, the dealershjp is long gone but many of the NOS parts are still stored in one of the owner’s big garages. The problem is that nothing is labelled so it would be a challenge to figure out what is what. I have a buddy who says he’s going to make an offer on the whole kit and caboodle and then re-sell stuff. He has benefitted mightily from selling on e-Bay so maybe he’ll strike pay dirt here, too.
    Meanwhile, all of the emblems I collected were tossed out by my Mom, probably at the same time as my Elvis Presley trading cards, etc. Oh well, after all, they do say you can’t go back!

  3. Bob: Love your comment. My baseball collection disappeared when I was in college and my family moved to a different house in the same town. I suspect the cigar and fruitcake boxes with those cards ended up in the trash bin during that move.

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