The Original Chevy Corvette Logo Had An American Flag–Now It’s French
Since 1953, Chevrolet has built eight generations of its Corvette halo car. As the Chevy Corvette has evolved from roadster to coupe to mid-engine supercar, its logo has remained a pair of crossed flags. In the original logo for “America’s sports car,” one of these flags was going to be the American flag, but the logo was outlawed by the government. Chevrolet went with a French fleur-de-lis instead.
What does the Corvette logo mean?
The logo for “America’s sports car” currently has the word “Corvette” and a pair of crossed flags. Since 1953, one flag has been a checkered racing flag, while the other is a red flag that features a Chevy bowtie and often a French fleur-de-lis to represent Louis-Joseph Chevrolet‘s heritage.
In the 1940s, the United States adopted a “National Flag Code.” This law forbids using the flag to advertise commercial products. This meant that Chevy was banned from using an American flag as part of its Corvette logo.
Instead, Chevrolet created a logo for its new car that would honor one of its co-founders, Louis Chevrolet. Chevrolet was born in Switzerland in 1878, but he moved to France with his father when he was nine. Louis-Joseph became a mechanic and race car driver in France before he moved to the U.S. and founded Chevrolet.
One of the flags in the Corvette logo is a checkered racing flag. The other flag is red with a golden Chevy “bowtie” log. During every generation of Corvette (besides the C4), the red flag in the car’s logo has also featured a French symbol called the fleur-de-lis.
The fleur-de-lis is a stylised interpretation of a lily flower. This symbol has been part of the coat-of-arms of many French families since the middle ages. In the U.S., the symbol is used by the Boy Scouts and the New Orleans Saints football team to represent the city’s founding by French explorers.
Why did the Corvette logo change?
The logo of the Chevy Corvette has evolved slightly over the years to become simpler. It has lost elements such as its border ring and silver background. As recently as 2005, it was clearly a pair of crossed flag poles, but today it looks more like a pair of adjoining banners.
Even though the form of the Chevy Corvette logo has shifted over the years, its actual content has remained remarkably consistent for 70 years. It has always featured one checkered racing flag and one red flag. The red flag has always had the Chevrolet bowtie symbol, and almost always has a French fleur-de-lis.
What is Corvette named after?
A Corvette was a fast and light warship used by the Allies in WWII. After General Motors built a two-seat roadster for the 1953 model year, a General Motors executive named Myron Scott suggested using the word Corvette to name it.
The name was perfect: It conveyed speed and agility, but also a fighting spirit. In the 1950s, much of the target demographic for the high-end sports car would have been WWII veterans, or at least familiar with the term.
Some sources suggest that Chevy considered the name Corvair in addition to Corvette. Other sources say that only after the Corvette became a houshold name did Chevy decide to play off the name, combining it with Bel Air, to come up with Corvair.
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