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Porsche is a high-performance automaker that has been around since 1931. The brand still carries the last name of its founder: Ferdinand Porsche. What’s more, its logo is a twist on the traditional family coat-of-arms that may have been penned by Ferdinand’s son, Ferry.

What does the Porsche symbol mean?

The logo on the hood of every Porsche is a crest. It is a sort of twist on the coat-of-arms popular among the oldest European families. But this logo is not the Porsche family coat-of-arms, but a logo created for the brand.

Porsche wheel | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Many coats-of-arms were shaped like a shield—just like the Porsche logo. In fact, many European knights painted their family crest on their shield.

In addition, many of these seals were split into four quadrants. This way, people could feature an animal or symbol from each of their grandparents’ families in these quadrants.

The coat-of-arms style Porsche logo alludes to the company’s history as a family business. And perhaps the intention was that car buyers think it was the Porsche family coat-of-arms. But this logo is not the Porsche family coat-of-arms.

A black horse prances at the center of the shield-shaped Porsche logo. This symbol was lifted from the crest of Stuttgart, Germany.

Porsche steering wheel assembly | Thomas Kienzle/AFP via Getty Images

As legend goes, Ferry Porsche was meeting with famed luxury car dealer Max Hoffman when he penned the Porsche logo. Porches of the day were built in Stuttgart Germany. The city has a rich tradition of horse breeding and also has as black horse in its seal.

Interestingly, Ferrari’s logo is also a black horse on a yellow shield. The Ferrari logo was inspired by the livery on a fighter plane Enzo Ferrari saw in WWI.

In addition to a black horse, the Porsche logo features red and black stripes antlers, and the word STUTTGART. Many of these elements allude to the city where Porsche is headquartered.

Porsche crest logo set against a yellow background.
Porsche logo | Creative Touch Imaging Ltd./NurPhoto via Getty Images

For example, the black and red stripes in the Porsche logo are lifted from the official seal of Württemberg, the state where Stuttgart is—according to HotCars.

Over the years, Porsche’s marketing department chose to tweak the logo. It subdued the shade of red in the red stripes. It also swapped the gold ink in the word Porsche for black to make it pop.

Overall, details such as the word STUTTGART and the elements of the city seal make the Porsche logo more of a crest than a coat-of-arms. But when American buyers look at the logo and word “Porsche,” they connect it with one of the first families in European performance vehicles. Whoever actually penned this logo, it certainly does the job.

Next, find out what the letters JEEP stand for or see how Porsche manufactures the crest in the video below: