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Why does Chevrolet have a cross in its logo?

There are several theories surrounding the origin of the American automaker’s brand identity, which has been used for more than a century

Chevrolet
Chevrolet cars exhibited in China.

Brand logos usually contain valuable information, and the case of cars is no exception. Their logos are not a whim or a coincidence, and there is usually a story behind them. Everything matters: color, font, size and shape. The iconic Chevrolet “bowtie” first came into use in late 1913, but why is it a cross? What is behind that image?

The enigmatic cross of the logo

Chevrolet’s unmistakable flattened cross has changed very little over the years. Its true origin remains shrouded in mystery since the death of its creator, William C. Durant, co-founder of General Motors. There are several theories that surround it; the most widespread, and one that Durant himself confirmed once, is that he was inspired by the pattern of the wallpaper of a hotel room where he stayed in Paris during a trip he made in 1908.

One of the brand’s press websites notes the following, further describing the story: “It originated in Durant’s imagination when, as a world traveler in 1908, he saw the pattern marching off into infinity as a design on wallpaper in a French hotel. He tore off a piece of the wallpaper and kept it to show friends, with the thought that it would make a good nameplate for a car.”

Another theory

That is the main hypothesis, but it is not the only one. The aforementioned article, titled History with a Mistery, also mentions that in 1929, Margery, Durant’s daughter, published a book entitled My Father. In it, she explained that Durant used to doodle nameplate designs on pieces of paper at the dinner table. “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,” she wrote.

Yet another theory maintains that the design is a stylized version of the cross of the Swiss flag. This is because Louis Chevrolet (also a co-founder) was born in Switzerland, in La Chaux-de-Fonds, in the canton of Neuchâtel, to French parents, on Christmas 1878.

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