Chevrolets for 100 years — all 215 million of them — have come dressed in a bowtie. The bowtie is what General Motors calls its Chevy logo, just like Ford’s corporate emblem is known as the Oval, but from where did Chevy’s come?
GM, to mark the centennial, thinks it knows the answer.
It goes back to General Motors founder William C. Durant, who introduced the bowtie in 1914 on two Chevrolet models. GM points to his daughter’s book as saying he sketched out the logo one night. It also notes a 1968 interview with his widow, who says it came to him while reading the newspaper one night.
The real sleuthing was laid to Ken Kaufmann, historian and editor of The Chevrolet Review, who tried to figure out what Durant might have been reading. Well, the Nov. 12, 1911 edition of Atlanta Constitution included an ad for the Southern Compressed Coal Company, which produced a fuel called “Coalettes.” Sure enough, the logo for Coalettes featured the same shape.
GM says the bowtie design first appeared in a Chevy ad on Oct. 2, 1913 edition in The Washington Post. It urged buyers to “Look for this nameplate.”