As time, style and technology advance, so too do the brand logos by which automakers have identified themselves. Some have remained the same and some are hardly recognizable from the originals. Here's a look at how 14 changed.
Brand logos are usually one of first things you notice about a car by design. The best are recognizable to people who don't know anything about cars besides how to start them across the world.
To me, the three point star Mercedes insignia stands alone when it comes to brand logos. This is not just because I love old German cars but because it is an instantly recognizable symbol across the world. For many the three point star is not just a logo, but a status symbol. People assume if you have one hanging off your key ring you have money. I like to think that while I had a 1985 300D as a daily driver I did as much as possible to make people question that image.
Each brand logo is unique and has its own little subtleties as they progressed through time. Cadillac got rid of the merlettes in its logo in 1998 after almost a century of use. The mythical song birds were originally used because they were included in Antoine de laMothe Cadillac's coat of arms (off of which the whole logo is loosely based). Cadillac was the company namesake and founder of the city of Detroit in 1701. They were grouped together in threes to either represent the holy trinity or to look cool, depending who you talk to.
People often assume that the design of the BMW roundel is rooted in the company's aviation history. Although this is intentional, it is untrue. The concept of the association between the logo and the aviation history was dreamed up by the advertising agency that represented BMW. Although clever this is not the first time BMW has lied to me. They still swear that their cars from the late 70s and early 80s did not come from the factory rusting.
If you look closely at the progression of any of these logos you pick up a little insight to the company. You can see the vast improvement in Volkswagen's logo when the British took the Nazi out of the company. The Saab progression of logos is nearly as difficult to understand as the companies cars are to work on. Buick's logo started out interesting and became more and more boring with each passing year. Aston Martin's logo is classy and tasteful just like their cars. Looking at it reminds me how I would actually start selling my body to science while I was still alive if it meant having a DB5 sitting in the garage was a reality.
Take a look at all of the aforementioned logo progressions and more in the gallery below: