A Survey of Automotive Heraldry
Heraldic images on automobiles seem to come from three main sources. Most common seem to be the arms of the jurisdiction in which the company started (BMW, Morris.) There are a number of cases where the company founderís arms are used, although this is often a case of assuming the arms of someone with the same name (Buick, Dodge.) A variant of this is when the founderís astrological sign is used instead (Abarth, Lamborghini.) Finally, there are a large number that are pure imagination, typically a result of some marketerís fantasy (Chevrolet, Mini.)

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Ed comment: I don't think all of them are pure fantasy. Look at this:

Long before the United States entered World War II, automobile manufacturers began devoting ever greater amounts of production time to defense work, for export to Britain as well as for the United States. The Chrysler Corporation was one of the car makers most active in defense work.

As early as 7 June 1940, in an article "Chrysler Ready to Make Tanks," the New York Times quoted a "ranking" engineer at Chrysler saying that the corporation could, in a few weeks, produce light tanks as quickly as they made cars:

In event of an armament order, he explained, a new plant could be erected within a short time, probably less than a month. Meanwhile, tools and dies would be prepared for immediate installation. Machinery would be obtained by 'robbing' the automobile factories.

More: Preparing for War: Chrysler military production, 1940-1942

Dodge Automotive Heraldry

The original manufactures of the Dodge were the Dodge Brothers who used the Star of David as their logo. After the company was taken over by Chrysler, this logo was moved onto a shield. According to [McPherson], this was last used on model year 1938 vehicles.

Beginning with the 1941 models, Dodge began to use a Dodge family coat of arms (Barry of six, or and sable, a pale gules overall) as their logo. Some Dodge families include (on the pale) a canting breast producing droplets of milk (a dug), but the car badge began to omit this at some point, possibly out of Puritan considerations. These examples are from 1941 with the breast and circa 1979 without.

Recently, Dodge has used their long-standing Ram logo in a shield. While not of heraldic origin, it is certainly a striking design and quite heraldic in flavor.

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Related: Mazda (Ahura Mazda)


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