The Corvette logo has changed somewhat over the years since the car first hit the market in 1953. However, the primary elements of the badge have stayed the same throughout the car's production history. While small details shift, the iconic emblem of the two flags and the symbols displayed on those flags have remained constant with only a few exceptions throughout the years.
The Corvette has been a performance car icon since its introduction, and Chevrolet wanted the image of the car to be associated with racing and motorsports. The basic background of the logo is two flags that invoke the waving flags at the track, with one flag being an actual checkered racing flag. This design indicated from the outset Chevy's hopes for the image that would be associated with the car. This bore fruit, as the Corvette started to make waves at the Sebring endurance race in the 1950s, and Le Mans in the 1960s and '70s. It carried forward to the modern era with the growth of the Corvette racing program and the success of cars like the C5-R.
The symbol for Chevrolet is known as the "bowtie." The bowtie symbol has appeared on the flag opposite the checkered flag in all versions of the Corvette logo, although the colors and size have changed occasionally. This was a way for the logo to identify the car as a member of the Chevrolet family while still providing it with a unique badge that identified it as a line apart from and above the rest of the Chevy lineup.
Many versions of the Corvette symbol have had a fleur-de-lis on the same flag as the Chevy bowtie. The name Chevrolet is from a French family, and the fleur-de-lis is among the most important symbols of France. Symbolically, it stands for peace and purity. The designers of the logo originally wanted to incorporate an image relating to the Chevrolet family, but when they couldn't find one they instead settled for an identifiable French image.
The desire of the logo designer, Robert Bartholemew, to instill a sense of the heritage of the vehicle into the logo is clear. However, rather than the French heritage of the family founders of Chevrolet, initially the idea was to reference the American heritage of the auto company. Originally, the flag opposite the checkered flag was to be an American flag. However, the law does not permit the use of the flag in commercial advertising, so the symbol had to be redesigned.
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