A reader has a prob­lem with a Stag and Jon Bent­ley's talk­ing badges. Why not take a stab at our cross­word too?

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - News - JON BENT­LEY Jon Bent­ley is a for­mer Top Gear and Fifth Gear pro­ducer and is a pre­sen­ter on The Gad­get Show.

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’

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