Those of you watching Stellantis’ EV day may have noticed something interesting when they were talking about Dodge’s plans for a future electric muscle car. A particular design motif, seen in the taillight design, and what looked like an odd, roughly triangular logo. While I suspect some of you may have recognized it, there’s likely many who had questions. Questions like “what is that thing?” and “what does it have to do with Dodge?” and “does it have a funny name?” I’m happy to say that the answer to all those questions is a resounding “yes!” Crap, that doesn’t work. I’ll explain anyway.
First, Dodge tells us, backed by their current double-slash logo (you know, like a comment in C++) that they’re making a battery-electric muscle car, and then they tease this mildly confusing image:
It looks like sleepy eyes and a nose, but I think those are edges of a hood, illuminated, and a glowing badge, that triangular thing I mentioned before.
It shows up again as the taillight design motif:
It’s a pretty cool-looking thing, and it has an actual name and a place in Dodge history: it’s the Fratzog.
The name, even if it sounds like something that would have occasionally eaten a Fraggle when it managed to catch one, was actually just made up by one of the designers when told it needed a name. It’s a pretty fun word. Fratzog. Go ahead, say it.
The Fratzog was used on Dodges between 1962 and 1976, first used on the Polara 500, and found all over Dodges in this period, on grilles and hubcaps and steering wheel centers.
Man, look at that Polara. Dodges of that era were sort of gleefully ugly, weren’t they? It looks like the front of another car got dropped into the front of that Dodge.
The idea behind the Fratzog seems to be three arrowheads, forming a sort of tri-pointed star. The triangular shape may be a reference to Dodge’s original logo, which we now more generally associate with something else:
Yeah, that’s a Mogen David, the Star of David. And, despite the way it looks, the Dodge Brothers weren’t Jewish. The Star of David logo was used on cars between 1914 to 1938, a period when the star wasn’t always associated with Judaism to the degree it is now.
I mean, it definitely was, which is why there’s a rumor the logo was chosen to piss off Henry Ford, a notorious anti-Semite, but this doesn’t appear to be true, either. It would be pretty funny, though.
These are two interlocking deltas - greek letters symbolizing engineering - for the two Dodge brothers. Chrysler’s own explanation is that the white triangle represents the soul, the dark one standing for the body; overall, it represents the union of the two brothers into one, reinforced by the intertwined “D” and “B.” The Dodge brothers were very close and would reject mail sent to just one of them.
So, maybe the delta-like shapes of the Fratzog were a reference to the twin deltas of the star, or maybe they were space-age symbols to remind people Chrysler was building rockets.
Who knows. What we do know is the Fratzog is back, and I think that’s a good call on Dodge’s part. It’s a good-looking logo still, it updates well to a modern feel, and it ties in nicely with Dodge’s golden age.
So, you know, Fratzog on, Dodge.