• Sep 8, 2011
The long-accepted version of how Chevrolet got its Bowtie logo is that company co-founder William C. Durant saw the motif on the wallpaper of a Parisian hotel, tore off a piece of the wallpaper, and adapted the pattern for his cars' nameplate. That's the version the late Durant himself told.

There are conflicting reports on the design, though, coming from members of Durant's family. His daughter Margery claimed that Durant cranked out the design on, where else, a napkin between soup and fried chicken at dinner one night. His widow told Chevrolet brass that Durant had seen the design while reading the paper on vacation in Hot Springs, Va. in 1912. Another version says the logo is a stylized look at the Swiss flag, a nod to the nation where Louis Chevrolet was born.

Suffice it to say each version carries plenty of lore with it. Did Durant's family get the story backwards? Or did Durant make up the Parisian hotel line to add some mystique to the brand? Whatever the case, Durant's design has become woven into the fabric of American lore just like baseball and apple pie. Click past the jump for the full story from Chevrolet.
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DETROIT, Sept. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Globally recognized today, the Chevrolet bowtie logo was introduced by company co-founder William C. Durant in late 1913. But how it came to be synonymous with the brand is open to wide interpretation.

Durant's version of how the logo came into existence is well known. The long-accepted story, confirmed by Durant himself, was that it was inspired by the wallpaper design in a Parisian hotel.

According to The Chevrolet Story of 1961, an official company publication issued in celebration of Chevrolet's 50th anniversary:

"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, conflicting accounts have emerged, each of which is plausible enough to deepen the mystery and suggest it may never be solved. Two of the alternate origins come from within the Durant family itself.

In 1929, Durant's daughter, Margery, published a book entitled, My Father. In it, she told how Durant sometimes doodled nameplate designs 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," she wrote.

More than half a century later, another Bowtie origin was recounted in a 1986 issue of Chevrolet Pro Management Magazine based on a 13-year-old interview with Durant's widow, Catherine. She recalled how she and her husband were on holiday in Hot Springs, Va., in 1912. While reading a newspaper in their hotel room, Durant spotted a design and exclaimed, "I think this would be a very good emblem for the Chevrolet." Unfortunately, at the time, Mrs. Durant didn't clarify what the motif was or how it was used.

That nugget of information inspired Ken Kaufmann, historian and editor of The Chevrolet Review, to search out its validity. In a Nov. 12, 1911 edition of The Constitution newspaper, published in Atlanta, an advertisement appeared from by the Southern Compressed Coal Company for "Coalettes," a refined fuel product for fires. The Coalettes logo, as published in the ad, had a slanted bowtie form, very similar to the shape that would soon become the Chevrolet icon. Did Durant and his wife see the same ad – or one similar – the following year a few states to the north? The date of the paper was just nine days after the incorporation of the Chevrolet Motor Co.

One other explanation attributes the design to a stylized version of the cross of the Swiss flag. Louis Chevrolet was born in Switzerland at La Chaux-de-Fonds, Canton of Neuchatel, to French parents, on Christmas Day 1878.

Whichever origin is true, within a few years, the bowtie would emerge as the definitive Chevrolet logo. An October 2, 1913 edition of The Washington Post seems, so far, to be the earliest known example of the symbol being used to advertise the brand. "Look for this nameplate" the ad proclaims above the emblem. Customers the world over have been doing so ever since.

Many variations in coloring and detail of the Chevrolet bowtie have come and gone over the decades since its introduction in late 1913, but the essential shape has never changed. In 2004, Chevrolet began to phase in the gold bowtie that today serves as the brand identity for all of its cars and trucks marketed globally. The move reinforced the strength of what was already one of the most-recognized automotive emblems in the world. More than 4.25 million Chevrolets were sold in more than 120 countries and regions during 2010.

About Chevrolet -- Founded in Detroit in 1911, Chevrolet celebrates its centennial as a global automotive brand with annual sales of about 4.25 million vehicles in more than 120 countries. Chevrolet provides consumers with fuel-efficient, safe and reliable vehicles that deliver high quality, expressive design, spirited performance and value. The Chevrolet portfolio includes iconic performance cars such as Corvette and Camaro; dependable, long-lasting pickups and SUVs such as Silverado and Suburban; and award-winning passenger cars and crossovers such as Spark, Cruze, Malibu, Equinox and Traverse. Chevrolet also offers "gas-friendly to gas-free" solutions including Cruze Eco and Volt. Cruze Eco offers 42 mpg highway while Volt offers 35 miles of electric, gasoline-free driving and an additional 344 miles of extended range. Most new Chevrolet models offer OnStar safety, security and convenience technologies including OnStar Hands-Free Calling, Automatic Crash Response and Stolen Vehicle Slowdown. More information regarding Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com


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  • 110 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        MTN RANGER
        • 3 Years Ago
        I think Chevy should give the option of body colored bowtie (with chrome border). http://gm-volt.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=2289&d=1309818245 http://gm-volt.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=2292&d=1300037887
        Knox
        • 3 Years Ago
        General Motors has ruined chrome with it's tawdry plastic pretense.
        Zacarious
        • 3 Years Ago
        I have seen chevy vehicles a few years old with the gold lifting off the backside of the emblem. It makes them look very cheap.
        tipdrip215
        • 3 Years Ago
        Naw, soft touch leather. That's what everyone likes, isn't it?
      Scott
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ok, so whats with the new tagline; "Chevy Runs Deep?" What the hell does that mean? "The Heartbeat of America?" That says something
        Robert Niknam
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Scott
        No the runs deep is referring to how deep you take it in the rear when the LS3 Engine in your Camaro's oil pump goes out at 8,000 miles on the freeway and before you get a chance to slow down, boom boom kachoo... Wonderful isn't it? It surely runs deep ;)
        Carlos
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Scott
        Supposedly, runs deep like a river in the consciousness of the nation. Like a Rock is just as vague and silly. Heartbeat of America? Hardly that. But my very favorite is "Cadillac, the Standard of the World." The standard became so debased the slogan was changed to "Cadillac, an American Standard for the World." Of course, the world did not want any of that standard. Now it is Standard for the World again. I have a "Standard" leaking oil in my driveway. I inherited it from a relative who left the country. It is 5 years old, with 40,000 and my housekeeper uses it to go to the market but I have to remember to refill it with oil. Constantly. I should just empty the plastic pan I have under the car directly into the motor. But the maid likes it to take it to Costco: "Sootch a beeeg tronK!"
      Orin
      • 3 Years Ago
      The press release didn't shed any new light on the logo mystery, and ended with an advertisement......i would not consider that a legitimate press release.
      carlyleben
      • 3 Years Ago
      Whatever happen to song that chevy had years ago? See the USA in your Chevrolet ..........etc. I think it be the right time to bring it back. Lift the American Spirit made in the U.S.A.
        Scratpax
        • 3 Years Ago
        @carlyleben
        ...To all you GM "Made in the U.S.A. NASCRAP Go-GM nut-jobs" : My "I only Buy US & go GM" best friend of 35 + yrs just gave our "friendship" the boot for my "not buying US" via my purchase of a Japan-QUALITY-MADE Subaru--come to find out--his "American" Chevy Impala was made IN CANADA!!!...Your "See the (Chevys made in) USA" theory is as dead as is Dinah Shore--- who used to sing it!!!
          rlog100
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Scratpax
          The difference is that the Canadians don't block the US from selling cars there. The building of cars in Canada is a legacy from a reciprocal trade agreement where the US can import to Canada what they export from Canada. Which is far better than the currency fixing trade protectionist Japan.
          Robert G
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Scratpax
          DRIVE A JAP CAR, PARK IN JAPAN ! REMEMBER PEARL HARBOR? WW2 VETS. WOULD NEVER DRIVE A JAP CAR OR RIDE A JAP BIKE, HECK THEY WOULDN'T EVEN WEAR A JAP WATCH. IT'S AMERICAN PRIDE AND ETHICS !!
        Robert G
        • 3 Years Ago
        @carlyleben
        Yeah they could use an outline of the U.S. or maybe even bring back the Heartbeat of America stuff.
      psech94
      • 3 Years Ago
      I love my 2004 Silverado 1500 extended cab 4X4, 22 mpg is great mileage from a 5.3L V8 weighing around 5300lbs. The ride is nice and smooth and quiet, to me it looks great even after 7 years and the Chevy bow tie is decorative, I've added one across the back window with white pin-stripe tape.
      dukeisduke
      • 3 Years Ago
      The wallpaper story is the one I've always heard.
      Fixitfixitstop
      • 3 Years Ago
      This whole discussion is dumber than a line at a Big Gulp machine.
        Carlos
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Fixitfixitstop
        It certainly is a dumb discussion, if it is a discussion at all. What "bowtie?" I thought everybody knew that Louis Chevrolet put the cross of Switzerland on the radiators of his cars and that was that. He founded the car company with Durant, who had been kicked out of GM. And then Chevrolet got into a fight with Durant and sold his shares to his partner who regained his place in GM, by taking Chevrolet with him along with his profits and bank money. Walpaper in the walls of a Parisian hotel, indeed!
      divrbrandon
      • 3 Years Ago
      what a crock, so many spins are put on history
        Jerry L Wilson
        • 3 Years Ago
        @divrbrandon
        you do need to learn to read a little history. The Bastard Had Hitler Photos all over his assembly plants.
      BakedCookies
      • 3 Years Ago
      To me it's the one thing left that holds Chevrolet back, the logo is tired and dated.
        th0mb0ne
        • 3 Years Ago
        @BakedCookies
        I don't mind the logo itself, it's clean and simple and does the job. What I never liked was that it's always that rose gold color. It pops a little too much on a car and can clash with a lot of colors. I wish they toned it down a bit...eitther by size or simply making it silver.
          rlog100
          • 3 Years Ago
          @th0mb0ne
          A Chrome outline of the logo would be perfectly fine. If they offered it as an option, I'm sure they'd get the public feedback they would need to convince themselves its time for an update.
          tipdrip215
          • 3 Years Ago
          @th0mb0ne
          This ain't oversized, has anyone seen the Blue Oval on the front of the Super Duties lately? They're getting bigger and bigger.
        Curtis
        • 3 Years Ago
        @BakedCookies
        I couldn't disagree with this comment more. I can't imagine how you've gotten any positive ratings. brand recognition is key, why would Chevy throw all that away with a new logo? There is history in the logo, just like Ford's blue oval, it wouldn't work any other way. I wont even touch on your personal opinion that Chevy is being held back at all, by it's logo of all things.
        v6sonoma
        • 3 Years Ago
        @BakedCookies
        Are you serious? Getting rid of the Bow-Tie would be like getting rid of Fords Blue Oval and making it an octagon. It's a horrible idea. The purpose of a logo is brand recognition. I doubt there are many other logos that are as instantaneously recognizable.
      • 3 Years Ago
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      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        mbukukanyau
        • 3 Years Ago
        What exactly is wrong with Korea? They certainly make better quality cars than Europeans
        Elmo
        • 3 Years Ago
        Chevy Cruze = American made Chevy The Chevy Cruze isn't built in Korea. The platform and engine were developed by Opel. The car was designed by Chevy's US design studio in the Detroit GM building. You guys also will be getting the Camaro in the very near future. Last time I checked, the Camaro wasn't built in Korea. Oh and the Chevy Orlando? Not Korean.
        DrEvil
        • 3 Years Ago
        Oh the stupidity. Chevrolet is a recent (last 10-15 years) addition to the UK landscape. You get the Korean junk cars, because its what your economy & infrastructure will stand. Chevy also has to worry about stepping on Vauxhall's toes (A brand that should be put down). Very few US domestic Chev(ies) or (ys) are practical in the UK, you don't have the roads for them. Almost all of them would too expensive to operate, fuel + your other draconian penalties imposed on large cars like Corvette, Camaro, Traverse, Tahoe, Suburban etc. Not sure if you'll get the new Malibu, if you do, then Vauxhall is all but gone. There really is no need to keep Vauxhall around, since they don't actually make any cars that couldn't be had as an Opel or Holden. Would be sad, as a kid I grew up around Vauxhalls. Victors, Vivas and Crestas all family cars.
      adika3z
      • 3 Years Ago
      i dont like any chevy vehicle, poor design, weak body / bumper
        hgeorgech
        • 3 Years Ago
        @adika3z
        is your '86 Yugo superior to any Chevy??
        • 3 Years Ago
        @adika3z
        [blocked]
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