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What's In A Nameplate?

The Beginning

Since its unveiling in 1913, the Chevrolet bowtie emblem has seen numerous changes. Its shape has become synonymous with the durability and craftsmanship known to the Chevrolet community. For over a century, the emblem has been the brand marquee, but do you know where it came from? Neither do we! At least, not exactly... 

For half a century the story of the logo’s humble beginnings was consistent. It was the brainchild of brand co-founder William C. Durant. In 1961, at Chevrolet's 50 year anniversary celebration, the company made this statement:

"This was also the year (1913) that the famous Chevrolet trademark was first used on the cars. The distinctive trademark has appeared billions of times on products, advertisements and sales literature as the mark of dependability, economy and quality in motor transportation. It originated in Durant's imagination when, as a world traveler in 1908, he saw the pattern marching off into infinity as a design on wallpaper in a French hotel. He tore off a piece of the wallpaper and kept it to show friends with the thought that it would make a good nameplate for a car."

However, after his death, Durant’s widow remembers the story a little differently. She says it was on a trip to Hot Springs, Virginia, when the couple saw a newspaper advertisement with an emblem that Durant thought would make a great moniker for the Chevrolet.

With conflicting stories, experts turned to historian Ken Kaufman to clear things up. Kaufman, a Chevrolet historian, believes the clear history of the logo can be found in an old advert for Coalettes brand coal, which was found in a Georgia-based newspaper. The ad ran in the newspaper on November 12, 1911, nine days after Durant incorporated Chevrolet. Quite similar to the first Chevrolet bowtie, the Coalettes logo also shares similar font and spacing. Compare the two for yourself:

chevy-coalettes-logos

The bowtie was first placed on the H-2 Royal Mail and has since adorned over 215 million Chevrolet vehicles, with an estimated 60 million of those still on the road today! Regardless of origin, one thing is certain, the Chevrolet bowtie and brand will continue to stand the test of time. Check out this promotional image from Chevrolet's 100th anniversary celebration to see how the emblem has evolved over the years:
Chevrolet-Bowtie-Evolution

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Collierville Auto Car Experts
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