What Is the Chevy Logo Supposed to Be?

The Chevrolet logo is the symbol for one of the most successful automotive brands. Adorning the grilles of Chevy cars and trucks since 1913, this highly recognizable emblem’s origins are a mystery. Over the years, there have been plenty of theories about where the Chevy logo originated. But no one knows for sure how the iconic badge came to be. 

A gold Chevy logo is seen on a vehicle grille on December 21, 2017
The Chevy logo | Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Chevrolet originally adorned its vehicles with a hard-to-read script of the company name. Today’s logo debuted at the 1914 New York Auto Show on the H series Royal Mail and Baby Grand models.

Chevrolet cofounder William Durant created the iconic emblem, but no one truly knows where he came up with the idea. Some suggest he got the inspiration for the logo from the hotel wallpaper he saw while traveling in France.

In a 1929 book written by Durant’s daughter, she recalled that her “father crafted the logo on a napkin during a family dinner.”

She wrote, “I think it was between the soup and the fried chicken one night that he sketched out the design that is used on the Chevrolet car to this day,” Miami Lakes Auto Mall reports.

Some say the inspiration for the Chevy logo came from the Swiss flag. This would make sense because the automotive giant got its name from Louis Chevrolet, a racer born in Switzerland.

Others claim Durant’s wife said her husband got the idea for the logo during a 1912 vacation in Hot Springs, Virginia. She said he commented about a newspaper advertisement that would make a great logo. It’s believed Durant was looking at a Coalettes ad from Southern Compressed Coal Company. It had a logo that bears a striking resemblance to the Chevrolet badge.

Is the Chevy logo a bow tie?

Despite not knowing how the logo came to be, the emblem is known worldwide as the Chevy bow tie.

On the 100th anniversary of the iconic logo, Chevrolet admitted:

“While the bowtie has been present for 100 years, the details surrounding its origin are still uncertain.”

Adorning more than 215 million vehicles, the Chevy bow tie “is recognized around the world and has become synonymous with American ingenuity,” Chevrolet’s chief marketing offer, Tim Mahoney, said.

Gold vs. black bow tie

Chevrolet’s parent company, General Motors, explains, “Many variations in coloring and detail of the Chevrolet bowtie have come and gone over the decades since its introduction in late 1913, but the essential shape has never changed.”

Called “one of the most recognized car emblems in the world” by 1000 Logos, the gold faceplate debuted in 2004. Chevy designed it to reflect “the brand as powerful and confident.”

Durant’s original logo was light blue with gold and white lettering and “Chevrolet” emblazoned on its horizontal line.

Many Chevy owners aren’t fond of the gold logo. So they’ve taken it upon themselves to blackout the emblem and post DIY videos on YouTube. Noticing the trend, Chevrolet made a black bow tie logo available several years ago, “making its way across the Chevy lineup,” GM Authority reports.

In fact, the traditional gold bow tie won’t appear on the 2022 Chevy Bolt EV or EUV, GM Authority reports. The design team confirmed it “will be the very first time any Chevy model will be sold as standard with the black bowtie emblem.”

Though phasing out the gold bow tie might seem like “the end of an era,” it’s important to note it’s just part of the evolution of the iconic emblem.

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