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Over 120 years ago, right at the turn of the century, a legendary automotive brand was born; Cadillac. Founded from what was left of the Henry Ford Company, once it was dismantled to start the legendary Ford Motor Company we know today, Cadillac instantly became a hit with its two-seat horseless carriages powered by a revolutionary one-cylinder engine. While the Cadillac model was essentially the same product as the Ford Model A, Cadillac did something other companies failed to do; build vehicles with precision and reliability in mind. The luxury automaker simply built better cars, according to many consumers at the time.

Cadillac’s precision engineering to build better vehicles than the competition carries through into the modern era. Cadillac still produces products as GM’s peak luxury division and sells more cars than ever before. Over 390,000 models were sold worldwide in 2019, a record for the company. Through innovation, the automaker continues to improve. Still, its logo has remained a staple throughout company history, symbolizing changing and evolving with the times but holding on to luxury and precision engineering. Here is everything you need to know about the Cadillac logo throughout history.

The Cadillac coat of arms

According to Hot Cars, the Cadillac company logo was placed on vehicles in 1905. This coat of arms logo has two distinctive parts; the coat and the shield. The shield symbolizes the bravery of a noble family, with the first and fourth parts displaying the arms of the mother family and the second and third parts added to the coat of arms after a successful marriage which grows the family’s wealth. The coronet on the outer part of the logo symbolizes the six ancient courts of France.

This first logo series was very high-brow, much more so than the Ford logo, a vehicle built for the masses. This new Cadillac was created for the elite and wealthy who could afford the luxury.

Regal, but simplified

The Cadillac brand logo seen in Ankara, Turkey
The Cadillac brand logo | Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

From 1905 to 1914, Cadillac’s logo went through some minor changes, according to Logo My Way. At first, the Cadillac coat of arms was affixed to a circle logo, similar to BMW’s logo, but ultimately Cadillac settled on their previous logo with some slight modifications. Additionally, “Standard of the World” was also emblazoned underneath the coat of arms.

In 1914, one of the most polarizing logos Cadillac adopted was used. This logo simply had the word “Cadillac” written in ornate typography, with “1914” stamped below in the lower right-hand corner. This logo only lasted for a single year before being discontinued in 1915. To this day, this luxury brand’s logo is by far the most radically different example carried by the brand. Not only is the lack of the coat of arms and coronet striking, but this was also the first and only Cadillac logo to be placed inside an oval shape.

Was this logo too much of a departure from the norm for the company? Was the oval shape too similar to Ford’s logo? Either way, this logo was polarizing enough to be replaced with the familiar coat of arms only a year later.

The Cadillac coat of arms returns

From 1915 to the present day, the Cadillac logo has remained mostly the same, with the coat of arms taking center stage. Through the 1930s and 1940s, the logo went through various design changes that altered the styling around the coat of arms, implementing different wing-like elements, finally landing on a V styling that was a more modern take on the winged logo, with a callback to the classic V8 engines of the time.

Today, the Cadillac logo is simply the coat of arms, simplified to lack any noticeable detail other than colored geometry, and widened to match the wide front grilles found on the fascias of new Cadillac models. Throughout Cadillac’s history, the automaker’s name and logo have always been synonymous with precision manufacturing and the height of American luxury.