A reader has a problem with a Stag and Jon Bentley's talking badges. Why not take a stab at our crossword too?
Irecently had the privilege of representing my old college on BBC2’s Christmas University Challenge. To help me prepare for the quiz the producers kindly sent a book of past University Challenge questions. I was rather surprised, buried among the usual more academic topics, to find one about a car company logo.
‘Which British car company’s green and yellow logo carries the initials ACBC, those of the company’s founder?’ I heard Jeremy Paxman asking in my head as I read it. The answer, of course, is Lotus, the initials standing for Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman. Not too tricky, perhaps, but the inclusion of the question worried me. Whereas I wouldn’t be too ashamed if my knowledge of Greek mythology, Renaissance art or Russian classical music was found wanting, I would be mortified if I blundered when it came to car logos.
I set about some urgent revision, and here are some car badge facts I swotted up on which you might find useful yourself if you’re about to be quizzed.
Ferruccio Lamborghini, for example, chose a bull because of his star sign – he was a Taurus. Others looked to the skies for inspiration. Subaru’s name is the Japanese term for the Pleiades star cluster. The seventh star is usually hidden, hence the six stars on the logo.
Ferrari, by the way, isn’t the only the company to have a prancing horse on a yellow background on its badge. Porsche has one too, from the shield of Stuttgart, the company’s home town. But in Porsche’s case the shield is placed within another depicting the coat of arms of the Weimar Republic state of Württemberg, no less.
As for other German companies, the Mercedes-Benz three-pointed star is, somewhat immodestly, intended as a representation of the company’s dominance of land, sea and air. While BMW’s badge is sometimes described as a propeller, it isn’t. In fact it portrays the colours of the Bavarian Free State. Audi’s four rings represent the four car companies – Audi, Horch, DKW, and Wanderer – that merged in 1932 to form Auto Union, as the company was originally called.
Though Volvo might appear to be making a male statement with its circle and arrow motif, it is in fact a symbol for iron. Lada derived its name and its logo from small boats that used to sail on the River Volga. In Russian it means ‘little darling’.
In the event, Jeremy Paxman didn’t ask any questions about badges and, although our team didn’t win, it was a hugely enjoyable experience. I now can’t wait to take part in a car quiz.
‘Lada derived its name and logo from river boats’