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For over 30 years, the Toyota Soarer was an influential luxury coupe from the Japanese automaker. Beyond its looks and performance, it was defined by its unique emblem of a winged creature that appeared on either side of the car. The emblem is commonly known as the “Soarer Emblem” or the “Flying S” emblem, but is this emblem a griffin or a winged lion?

A brief history of the Toyota Soarer 

The Toyota Soarer was first produced in 1981 and sold until 2004. It had numerous redesigns throughout its life, with different names for each market. In Japan, it was called the Toyota Soarer, while in Australia, it was known as the Toyota Lexcen. In New Zealand, it was simply the Toyota Coupé. The model enjoyed worldwide acclaim during its production run, with many praising its sleek design and comfortable ride. 

Griffin vs. winged lion: What’s the difference? 

A Toyota Soarer (Lexus SC) convertible with its griffin/lion emblem logo in Tokyo, Japan
A Toyota Soarer convertible | YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP via Getty Images

So, what exactly is on the emblem of the Toyota Soarer? Is it a griffin, or is it a winged lion? According to Car Directory and Club Lexus, it’s definitely a griffin—a mythical creature with half-lion and half-eagle features. However, other sources such as Hemmings, PantyHeist, and even some car experts disagree with this assessment. They claim that what you see on the emblem is actually just a lion with wings added to give it an extra boost of flair. Therefore, it is not technically a griffin but just a regular lion with wings. 

So, who’s right? To answer this question, we must look at what makes up a griffin according to Greek mythology. A griffin (also spelled griffon or gryphon according to Britannica) has four legs—two from an eagle and two from a lion—with wings extending from its back. They also have an eagle head with ears like those of a lion, plus feathered neck frills like those found on birds of prey. They also have sharp talons at their front paws, which are used to tear into their prey or defend themselves if needed. Based on these criteria alone, we suspect that yes, indeed—the emblem seen on the Toyota Soarer is a griffin! 

We think the Toyota Soarer emblem is a griffin

After considering the evidence, we can conclude that—despite some disagreement among car experts—the emblem featured prominently on the Toyota Soarer is a mythical griffin rather than just an ordinary winged lion! The unique blend between both creatures makes up for such iconic imagery that no matter what you call them – griffin or winged lion – they will always remain associated with this popular luxury coupe from Japan’s most renowned automaker.  

Whether you are looking for parts for your own vehicle or just want to learn more about classic cars – there’s no denying how important symbols like these are when tying together any automotive enthusiast’s love for vehicles.

So, what’s your take? Do you think the Toyota Soarer’s emblem is a griffin or a lion?

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