The Porsche crest is also part of the automaker’s identity, as are rear-engined sports cars and three-digit internal model codes. But it almost didn’t happen.
Porsche recently released an official explanation of how the crest came about, and it all boils down to a 1951 business dinner. The automaker was already selling cars back then, after launching the 356 in 1948, but only with Porsche lettering for identification.
In March 1951, the company held a design competition among German art schools, in which the winner received 1,000 Deutschmarks. However, none of the designs convinced the company jury.
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The idea of a logo surfaced again later in 1951 when Ferry Porsche, son of company founder Ferdinand, met US importer Max Hoffman for a business dinner in New York City, where Hoffman had a large showroom.
Hoffman had recently embraced the first Porsche franchise in America and was influential, also bringing the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL to the United States
Hoffman pushed for a distinctive logo, and this time the idea stuck. On December 27, 1951, Ferry Porsche made notes for a “steering wheel hub with Porsche and the Stuttgart crest or something similar”. After his return to Germany, he commissioned the designer Franz Xaver Reimspieß to design what later became the Porsche crest.
Development of the Porsche crest
He designed a rearing horse in gold shield, modeled after the coat of arms of Stuttgart, which represents the hometown of Porsche, with a background based on the coat of arms of Württemberg-Hohenzollern, the western German state to which Stuttgart belonged at the time. It was incorporated into the newly created state of Baden-Württemberg in 1952, just as the Porsche crest debuted.
Porsche initially only used the crest on the 356’s steering wheel, adding it to the hood in 1954 and to the hubcaps in 1959. Since then it has appeared on every production Porsche model and although it has undergone five updates over the years it is still as instantly recognizable.