Bling around the collar

The unrelenting bad news from Detroit is enough to make you, or at least me, look for happier stories, and when I finally found one, it was a press release from General Motors. Still, it’s something on the positive side of the ledger: the 100th anniversary of the Chevrolet “Bowtie” logo, which has been traced back at least as far as the fall of 1913.

Washington Post ad for Chevrolet, October 1913

What hasn’t been traced, exactly, is where the design came from in the first place. Billy Durant and his wife told different stories about its origin, and in 1990 the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America started their own search. Still, the Bowtie has just about everything you’d want in a logo: the shape is distinctive and doesn’t require either special coloration or even actual type. (Take that, Ford!) Only the Mercedes three-pointed star — the Benz wreath seems to have been purged lately — comes close.

Tangential addendum: While checking out the Mercedes reference, I landed on Wikipedia’s page for “Mercedes Benz,” the song in which Janis Joplin begs the Lord to buy her one, inasmuch as her friends all drive Porsches. The article is illustrated with a picture of a car driven by Joplin: a Porsche.


  1. McGehee »

    20 July 2013 · 7:50 am

    The “Benz wreath”? Was this in addition to the circle enclosing the triskel?

  2. CGHill »

    20 July 2013 · 11:33 am

    Here’s a page with both original Mercedes and Benz logos — they were, after all, two separate companies before the merger — and the graphic adjustments thereafter.

  3. McGehee »

    20 July 2013 · 12:33 pm

    Ah. The wreath disappeared in the ’30s, which would be why I don’t remember it.

  4. Roger Green »

    21 July 2013 · 6:38 am

    Now I have BOTH that damn Dinah Shore ad, AND Joplin’s song running thru my head AT THE SAME TIME>>>

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