The logo of the British car brand Vauxhall has been modified around ten times since the 1920s. And yet, it has always stayed consistent in its visual core.
The history of the company started in 1857 in the Vauxhall district of London. While the company was founded under another name and originally produced pump and marine engines, it was later renamed Vauxhall Iron Works and started making cars in 1903.
Why the griffin?
The Vauxhall logo was inspired by the coat of arms of Falkes de Breauté, a nobleman who lived in the area where the Vauxhall company was located in the thirteenth century. As a mercenary soldier, de Breauté received the Manor of Luton from King John. Through his wife, he also had the rights to an area near London later called Vauxhall. Here, the nobleman built a house, which was called Fulk’s Hall.
In the course of time, the name was transformed into Vauxhall and in this form was adopted by the company Vauxhall Iron Works, together with the griffin coat of arms. Interestingly, when in 1905 the company relocated to Luton, it coincidentally found itself in the vicinity of the other Falkes de Breauté’s house.
That said, the griffin would have been a pretty impactful symbol in itself, even without such an interesting history. You can see it on many commercial logos, including several carmakers (Saab, Scania, Gumpert, Iso, to name just a few). That’s because it represents the noble character, power, heritage, as well as speed and freedom, which are symbolized by the wings.
If you take a look at the 1920s Vauxhall logo, you’ll discover it has much in common with the current one. The griffin with a prominent wing and a flag in its paw is still there. Even the letter “V” can be seen on the flag. The original badge is by far more cluttered, though. The griffin has scales around his neck and on his wings, and there’re many other details.
The 1930s logo is also pretty cluttered. Moreover, it uses three colors: golden, dark blue, and red. The griffin looks somewhat thinner and more elegant.
The 1940s version introduced a triangle under the griffin. You can see the letters “V” and “M” and a banner under them.
The 1960s badge is somewhat simpler. Gone are the banner and the triangle, while the griffin becomes larger and more prominent. You can even make out the aggressive expression on its muzzle.
The following version, which was used in the 1970s, is more minimalistic and straightforward. The authors of the logo got rid of the scales making the picture monolithic and impactful. The ears have grown smaller.
The 1980s brought about an even more minimalistic white emblem on the bright red background. The word “Vauxhall” can be seen under the griffin.
In the 1990s, the emblem went from square to round – it was necessary to make the badge fit in the recess designed for the circular Opel logo. The flag pole adopted a curve to fit the roundel shape, and so did the wing. In 2003, the badge got more depth due to the gradient texture, while its overall shape remained unchanged.
In 2008, the Vauxhall logo went through a complete overhaul. Almost half of the griffin moved beyond the logo, and as a result, the badge grew more minimalistic and less cluttered, while the griffin became more prominent.