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The Porsche Crest

PORSCHE was already building cars years before the brand’s familiar crest appeared.

The Porsche crest is one of the most recognizable logos in the car world. However, when the crest first appeared, Porsche had already been making cars for a few years, as the automaker explained in a recent press release.

Porsche has a complicated history, but the company considers the first 356 to be its official starting point. That car was built in 1948, but the company did not adopt its trademark crest until 1952. In March 1951, Porsche launched a competition among German art schools for the creation of a new logo, with a prize of 1,000 Deutsche marks, a considerable sum at the time. Management didn’t like any of the designs, so the project was brought in-house.

While the creation of the logo is not completely agreed on, some believe Ferdinand Porsche’s son, Ferry, drew the logo on a napkin during a meal with Max Hoffman, the American Porsche distributor. Karl Ludvigsen in Excellence was Expected subscribes to this view. Others claim the crest was designed by Franz Xaver Reimpiess, a VW engineer. No matter the origin, the iconic Porsche symbol was introduced to the US market in 1952 and has become an easily recognized symbol for luxury and power.

The crest’s prancing horse, a feature shared with a certain Italian automaker, comes from the city of Stuttgart’s seal — the company’s hometown. The surrounding red and black bars and antlers are taken from the then-German state of Württemberg-Hohenzollern’s coat of arms. That state was absorbed into the current state of Baden-Württemberg in 1952 and Stuttgart is now the capital.

The Porsche crest was registered with the German patent office in 1952, and was first seen on the horn buttons of some cars toward the end of that year. It entered more widespread use when incorporated into the hood handle of the Porsche 356 Speedster in November 1954. It was added to hubcaps in 1959, and since then every Porsche sports car, sedan, and SUV has featured the crest in some form. </>

Photos courtesy of Porsche AG

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Comments

  1. I believe the Porsche museum in Stuttgart has the ‘original crest sketch’ under glass with a brief write-up. (I have a photo of the write-up but not the crest itself.) Nitpicking I know but the museum indicates that in 1951 Max Hoffman challenged Ferry Porsche to produce a mark of distinction (with the resulting inconclusive competition as you indicate). The museum then credits Porsche Designer Franz Xaver Reimspiess with the sketch shown in the display produced early in 1952. If I recall the sketch was on a napkin … just not drawn by Ferry.

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