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Car Fun: Origins of Your Favorite Auto Emblems

car repair and maintenance Falconer

At I-86 Truck & Auto Repair, we love all things automobile-related. Occasionally, we discuss the history of some of our favorite auto insignias—those iconic works of art that are used in advertisements, on dealership signs, and adorn automobile hoods in three dimensional glory. The beautiful hood ornament pictured above was used by the Auburn Car Company, which was in business from 1900 until 1937. Today, we visit a German auto manufacturer, Japanese automaker, and one of our US car makers.


A common discussion among car enthusiasts concerning the BMW symbol is whether or not the symbol was modeled on a propeller against a blue sky. Is this true? Well, yes and no.

According to the BMW corporate site, the famous circle (unveiled in 1917) was designed to typify the Bavarian state colors. In the late twenties, however, it was "reinterpreted" as a propeller in a company advertisement that featured a plane of the era. Considering the company's aircraft manufacturing origins, the perpetuation of the propeller legend makes perfect sense. BMW Group,


No one really knows accurately how the iconic bowtie came to be. It has often been reported that co-founder William Durant was inspired by the wallpaper in a Paris hotel. However, in 1929, daughter Margery penned a history of her father that asserted that he designed it himself while sketching on a dinner napkin. Another Chevrolet historian, Ken Kaufmann, sought to discover the genuine origin of the design. During his search, he found a 1912 coal company newspaper ad with a similar symbol that could have been the inspiration. The history section of the Chevrolet corporate web page does not mention the history of the insignia, so perhaps the current owners don't know the truth either. Motor Trend,


The Toyota insignia used today has only been around since 1989 when it was unveiled the year Toyota turned 50. The artistic arrangement of ovals symbolizes several corporate values:

"The two perpendicular ovals inside the larger oval represent the heart of the customer and the heart of the company. They are overlapped to represent a mutually beneficial relationship and trust between each other. The overlapping of the two perpendicular ovals inside the outer oval symbolize "T" for Toyota, as well as a steering wheel, representing the vehicle itself. The outer oval symbolizes the world embracing Toyota. Each oval is contoured with different stroke thicknesses, similar to the "brush" art known in Japanese culture."

What automobile emblem is your favorite? We are anxious to hear. And we invite you to allow the automotive authorities at I-86 Truck & Auto Repair in Falconer to serve all of your automotive repair needs, regardless of the insignia that graces your car.