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The face of Dodge: logos, emblems, and ornaments

The “Star of David” logo was on the first Dodge Brothers car built, in 1914, and was last used on the 1938 Dodge; it was also used on the company stationery.

Dodge Brothers logo

dodge brothers emblemThe Dodge Brothers Club has made it clear that the design was not chosen to anger Henry Ford, as the story goes, despite a good deal of provocation from the anti-semitic car man. In 1914, when the emblem was first used, interlocking triangles (the “Star of David”) were not even associated with Judaism, to most people. Club writers suggested:

1. These are two interlocking deltas — greek letters symbolizing engineering — for the two Dodge brothers. Chrysler’s own explanation is that the white triangle represents the soul, the dark one standing for the body; overall, it represents the union of the two brothers into one, reinforced by the intertwined “D” and “B.” The Dodge brothers were very close and would reject mail sent to just one of them.

dodge brothers logo2. A medieval symbol of mysticism and the joining of mind and body, or, in this case, the joining of two brothers.

3. An abstraction of the square and compass of the Freemasons (this seems unlikely).

4. A representation of the Dodge City lawman’s badge. Horace Dodge apparently enjoyed accompanying local police on their runs, and likely would have appreciated the Dodge City reference.

dodge brothers logo

One Dodge Brothers Club newsletter claimed that, in 1938, an export version with a single black triangle was used, to avoid association with the symbol now linked to Judaism; shortly afterwards, the Star-of-David logo disappeared completely. In any case, the Dodge brothers had both died in 1920.

dodge brothers logos

Dean Clark, the son of Chrysler’s first head designer, said that the Dodge emblem also represented a seal of approval for the car. The triangles represented the brothers’ engineering skill, while having one black and one white showed how different they were; but having them interlocked showed they were inseparable.

That blue circular field toward the center of the emblem was meant to represent the Earth, while the white or silver objects seemingly floating in it signify the continents, to show that Dodge was known around the earth.

wheel

dodge brothers logoThe source for the FAQ information on this topic appears to be Dodge Bros, the men, the motorcars, the legacy, by Charles K. Hyde, Wayne State University Press, 2004. The source for the Dodge Brothers logos is cartype.com.

Dodge cars

by Mike Sealey

Chrysler replaced the Dodge Brothers logo with a gold winged shield through to 1938. Some years wings were more level, while later ones drooped. Starting around 1954, the Ram logo, based on 1930s ornaments, was used.

1934 hood ornament

Dan Minick wrote that Dodge used a crest with red bars (the Dodge family coat of arms), starting in 1941; the Dodge coat of arms referred to changed shape in 1955, 1956 and 1957 before fading away at some time after 1960. One emblem had three rockets — while Chrysler had three crowns.

dodge logo

 

Dodge logo - coat of arms

dodge 1960 logo

dodge logo

dodge logoThe three-delta, rocket-like Dodge emblem used from 1962-1976, dubbed “fratzog” by a designer who was told it had to be called something, reminded buyers that Chrysler Corporation made reliable rockets for the space program.

Dodge logo1966 Dodge grille emblem (fratzog)

The hubcap logo on the 1975 Coronet Brougham closely resembled the crest used on Zenith radios and TVs; it was replaced by the coat of arms again, in 1976. Then, in 1982, Lee Iacocca replaced division logos with the company Pentastar.

During the 1970s, a moderately slanted type-based logo was used to convey speed and a modern feel; Plymouth used a similar logo. In the 1980s, it was changed to all capitals and given a stronger slant. Starting in the late 1990s, the Ram logo was applied to cars as well. In the mid-1990s, some cars used a non-slanted version (the final illustration below is from 1994).

dodge logo

dodge logo

Dodge logo

Then there was the short-lived Dodge “Scat Pack” logo, first used on the Super Bee to imitate the Plymouth Road Runner’s cartoon Road Runner and Wiley Coyote. The Road Runner was far more in character for the value-oriented Plymouth brand than the “bare performance” Super Bee was for the still-upmarket Dodge brand; but the Bee worked well for the Scat Pack as a whole.

scat pack / super bee logo

Dodge logo with stripesDuring the 1990s, the Dodge truck ram’s head took over on cars. After Fiat took over from Cerberus, Dodge cars separated from Ram trucks, and a new “two racing stripes” logo reflected Dodge’s increasingly credible performance image.

Dodge Ram (trucks and early cars)

Dodge ram hood ornament

The original Dodge Ram logo came from sculptor Avard T. Fairbanks, who was working at the University of Michigan in 1929; he needed a new car to replace his Willys-Knight, and offered his services to Chrysler Corporation in exchange for designing a hood ornament.

Dodge Ram

1937 Dodge hood ornament and logo

Mike Sealey wrote that the separated-horns hood ornament appeared in stylized form on cars around 1954, and was then applied to trucks.

Ram hood ornament, 1948 dodge trucks

“Probably the best remembered ram ornaments was seen on the 1951-1952 passenger cars. This one had separate horns, and was a popular aftermarket accessory for Dodge trucks well into the late 1960s.” (see photo below.) A striking ram logo was substituted in the late 1990s.

ram logo
dodge ram logo

ram hood ornament

Cummins - Dodge truck logo

The Ram crosshair grille

The Dodge Truck / Ram crosshair grille appears to have debuted on some trucks in 1941, if one squints — one may wonder if that was a conscious counter to the Dodge Brothers’ Star of David? (At the time, not connected to Judaism). It was not universal across the line, even in 1941, and was likely not the inspiration for the much-later cross-hair grilles of the 1989s, 1990s, and beyond.

dodge truck crosshair grille

The crosshairs re-appeared as a minor styling feature in the lower grille for 1957 but left again in 1958. The first modern incarnation of the crosshair came around 1969 but it was not a standard feature every year or every truck, with standard mesh grilles also in use.

1973 dodge ram club cab

Power Wagon ambulance

According to Mike V., the crosshair became standard on full-size Dodge and Ram trucks in 1985; the first to break from that tradition was the 2015 Ram 1500 Rebel.

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