Sound familiar? This is the slogan for the very first Chevrolet bowtie ad found in the Washington Post, dated October 2, 1913. For over one hundred years now, people all over the world have been looking for the iconic Chevrolet bowtie emblem when searching for the perfect car, truck or SUV.
Histories and mysteries behind the Chevrolet bowtie
In 2012, Chevrolet celebrated their centennial anniversary and for as long as the company has been around there have been stories/myths about the origins of the iconic bowtie marquee. Stories that include French wallpaper, stealing other company logos, even so far as to say it’s a take on the Swiss Flag, but which is true? We may never truly know the origins of the bowtie, but let’s take a look at the theories and you decide which one you think is more likely.
Theory one: Inspired by a wallpaper in a Parisian hotel
The first and most notable theory is one from the mouth of company cofounder William C. Durant. In 1961, when Chevrolet celebrated their 50th anniversary the company released an official publication in regards to the creation of the logo, it read:
“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.”
Since then, many more plausible stories have emerged with two originating from within the Durant family itself.
Theory two: Dinner-table sketch
My Father, a book written in 1929 by Durant’s daughter, Margery conveys a different version of the bowtie origin.
“As in the case of the Buick, my father drew name-plates on pieces of paper at the dinner table. I think it was between the soup and the fried chicken one night that he sketched out the design that is used on the Chevrolet car to this day.”
Theory three: Something borrowed?
This theory is based off of a 13-year-old interview with Durant’s widow, Catherine. She claims that in 1912, when she and her husband were on vacation in Hot Springs, Virginia, while reading the newspaper in their hotel room Durant spotted a design and exclaimed, “I think this would be a very good emblem for the Chevrolet.” Although Catherine never clarified what the ad was, rumor has it that it was an ad that the Southern Compressed Coal Company had placed for their product “Coalettes,” a refined fuel product for fires. Check out the “Coalettes” ad to the right, what do you think?
Theory four: The logo is Durant’s take on the Swiss flag
The final theory is that the design is Durant’s stylized version of the cross of the Swiss flag. In 1878, Louis Chevrolet was born in Switzerland at La Chaux-de-Fonds, Canton of Neuchatel, to French parents. Seems legitimate that you would stylize the founder of the companies’ birth country’s symbol.
Four different stories and we may never know which one is the truth behind the Chevrolet logo. Whatever the case may be, the logo has been going strong for 100 plus years.
Over the course of time the logo has had its fair share of facelifts, keeping with the same slanted bowtie all that’s changed has been the coloring of the design. Today the gold logo conveys the message of style, speed, economy, power and easy riding that Chevrolet customers have come to expect.
You can expect the same gold standard today when you purchase your next Chevrolet from Coleman Chevrolet. We have a large selection of new, used and certified used cars, trucks and SUVs to choose from. We also have state of the art service facilities for your GM repair and recall needs. When looking for your next Chevrolet dealer, look no further than the dealership that holds true to the gold standard that Chevrolet has been conveying for over 100 years.