Time and again we've discussed how emblems stand as symbolic representations of the histories of car companies. Porsche's iconic crest isn't any different, and it traces back to 1951.
The idea of a crest or a coat of arms to represent Porsche was born in 1951. In March of that year, Porsche and Ottomar Domnick, a Stuttgart doctor and original Porsche customer, facilitated a design competition among German art schools. The price was 1,000 Deutsche marks (around £450 in today's money) but unfortunately, none of the designs won and the idea was parked for a bit.
It was only when Ferry Porsche visited New York at the end of the year that the idea was pushed on through the help of Austrian-born importer Max Hoffman.
Gallery: Evolution Of Porsche's Crest
Hoffman was the owner of Hoffman Motor Company, a special importer of European cars into the US. In a business dinner with Porsche, Hoffman discussed the importance of developing a quality seal that's visually appealing to create more identity in Porsche cars. Up until the birth of the crest, only the Porsche lettering adorned the 356's bonnet.
That discussion was significant to Ferry Porsche and ultimately set the wheels in motion. On December 27, 1951, Ferry Porsche writes down the following: "Steering wheel hub featuring 'Porsche' and the Stuttgart coat of arms or something similar."
Back in Germany in 1952, Porsche designer Franz Xaver Reimspieß was commissioned to design a trademark. The order was to have something that symbolically reflects the company's roots, as well as the "quality and dynamism of the products."
The result was the crest that we see on Porsche sports cars today, inspired by the Stuttgart city seal. The coat of arms features a rearing horse in the centre, framed by the contours of a golden shield. The city name above is flanked by the red and black state colours and stylised antlers, which come from the Württemberg-Hohenzollern coat of arms. The Porsche lettering acts as a protective roof above everything.
Since 1952, the crest has gone through five evolutions, although the changes have always been minor and were only meant to keep the design contemporary.