Part of the charm of vintage cars lies in tiny aesthetic details that showcase the dedication of their designers. Modern cars may be faster, more reliable, and more likely to sip fuel than to guzzle it, but they often lack the personality of their retro predecessors. Emblems are one way that even run-of-the-mill economy cars were once given a splash of pizzazz—not to mention the high-power, stylish coupes that came packed to the gills (grilles?) with flashy trim.
Here are 17 of our favorite emblems from America's Big Three, from the '50s to today.
Read the full article on Hagerty.com: https://www.hagerty.com/media/lists/17-of-our-favorite-american-car-emblems/
My favorite RPO code emblem, Oldsmbile's FE3 emblem
other personal favorite emblems:
Ford horse emblems - Mustang, Bronco, Pinto, and even the Maverick steer head
Thunderbird emblems - any generation
Oldsmobile's International Series emblem (the round one NOT the line of flags on the Ciera)
I'm going to go the opposite direction: useless or boring. Like early 50's Fords and Chevys that proclaimed "Ford-O-Matic" or "Powerglide". Many cars had "Hydramatic" emblems. I remember seeing Studebaker Larks with "TT" on the back. It took me a while to figure out that it stood for Twin Traction (limited slip). Triumph TR4A had an optional independent rear suspension complete with "IRS" on the trunk lid. I guess that automakers wanted to advertise that the car buyer had spent extra money?
I’m partial to the two emblems that mark my cars as special:
the H/O emblem on my
‘69 Hurst Olds 455
the red R/T on the Fender Scoops of my
Top Banana ’70 Dodge Coronet 4-speed
440 6pack Convertible
All good, and of course there is not enough space to list every cool option out there. Would have loved an RS Camaro or a 4-4-2, but we can't have it all. I do love that Thunderbird though.
These emblems are all little works of car-guy (or gal) art. It reminds me of the diversity of the wonderful collection of hood ornaments on display in a room at the AACA Museum in Hershey, PA. If you get the chance, check it out!
From 2003 to 2012, I drove a Ford E-250 as my daily driver. Ace the Wonder Van hauled boatbuilding supplies and equipment, traveled north of the Arctic Circle on the Dempster Highway in Canada, south of the Tropic of Cancer in Mexico, and back and forth camping between Seattle and Key West twice as well as doing all the local chores around home. My nephew was in the auto repair business at the time, and for Christmas (at my request) he gave me two Cobra emblems, which I stuck on the front fenders just forward of the doors. It was a lie, of course, and everybody knew it, but over the years hundreds of people had a laugh over those emblems. By the way, Ace's name was inspired by Annie Proulx's novel That Old Ace in the Hole, in which Bob Dollar is horrified to see a white van coming down the road toward him, because he knows that white vans are driven by perverts, escaped convicts, and the worst drivers in the world.
From my collection of "extras" from days past. I've always been partial to tri-five Chevys - had (at best remembrance) seven of them in the '60s and '70s. In those days, when in junkyards, one would grab as many spares of small items as one could lug home. You never knew when one would get broken - or often as not, would fall off because of poor fastening on my part 😶
But beyond that, I just think the hood/trunk emblems were a cool design, and there may possibly be no more recognizable automobile script than the classic "Chevrolet" and "Bel Air".
Man, you hit on some good ones, @CamaroMike! As I read through your list, each image popped into my head immediately (except the Judge "emblem" - not sure I remember there was a specific emblem for those). And when I got to the '65-'66 Impalas, I also remembered the "leaping Impala within a circle" emblem on the flanks (and steering wheel center cap) of my mother's '66. It wasn't an SS, but the "just plain" Impala logo was pretty neat as it was.