Monday, November 21, 2005

Picture This. Part One

This will interest no-one but me. And only me since I'm tackling a little curve of learning without the aid of ice pick and crampons. There may be a few slips along the way.

As alluded to with great subtly in my last post, the least I can do is have a look at the emblems and logos of some of the cars that are around so that I'm not completely blind during my early searchings for something to replace my aging steed. Who knows I may even be able to differentiate between models once I have a hook in.

All Audis - vorsprung durk technique as the old commercial went, courtesy of the dead pan tones of Geoffrey Palmer if I recall correctly, display four interlinked rings reminiscent of the five rings of the Olympics, but with, er, one of them missing. The five rings of the Olympics represent the five major regions of the world, the four of Audi represent the four companies of the Auto-Union consortium of 1932 - DKW, Horch, Wanderer, and Audi. After the war the Audi name - which is Latin for "Hear!" - disappeared, but was revived in 1965, using the four rings as a logo.

The Citroen logo looks like something you might see on an American cartoon soldier - two inverted Vs. Andre Citroen - imagine one of those old black and white photographs with an ancient man in a white beard - started in the motor trade by building gear wheels before branching out into the motorcar, and the twin chevrons << are meant to represent gear teeth in honour of the old engineer's early fettlings.

The Renault can be identified quite early by its diamond logo. Starting out as a bonnet emblem, the diamond originally concealed the horn so I suppose it started off having a practical purpose. From 1922 the centre of the badge was cut out to allow the sound of the horn to escape - as presumable a muffled horn was rather like the car having no horn at all. Now all the modern plush Renaults display this diamond, this, automobile jewellery.

The Fiat depicts - when the word Fiat doesn't appear - a kind of shorthand version of the word FIAT by means of five backslash diagonal lines. The story, possible apocryphal, is that Fiat first used the five-bar logo on the Uno in 1982, after Fiat design chief Mario Maioli, driving past the Mirafiori factory at night after a power cut, had part eureka moment, part St Paul on the road to Damascus when he saw the giant FIAT logo on top of the plant, set against the fading light of the sky.

In an inspired Amperora si ora vedo una visione moment, before goldfishitis took hold of him, Mailoi jotted down the image of the five spaces he could see between the letters which resembled the five bars we see today. How thankful we are.

I think I might be a very sad man.

Trust me all us engineers out here like this kind of stuff, I for one found it very interesting.

Got any more badge histories?

Of course I may be classed as a "very sad man" as well because of that last question.
I had one of those 1982 Unos and never realised I was a part of motoring history!
Aggie - we all know you are a particularly sad man!

How do you know what kind of car it is when the badge has fallen off?
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