Friday, July 22, 2011
History of the Cadillac wreath and crest logo, and never-before-seen photos of the Cadillac and LaSalle Club Grand National Convention
Even Cadillac’s logo is audacious. While most cars abandoned using someone’s chrome-encrusted family crest decades ago, Cadillac’s complex, ornate jigsaw puzzle of boxes and rectangles in a Superman-like shield surrounded by laurels does not suggest “subdued” by any means.
The logo first appeared on cars way back in 1902, and it featured little bird figures called merlettes. Those first logos were surrounded by a fancy wreath, and were topped with a stately crown. Cadillac was all about quality and precision, and that opulent logo would never work on something like, say, a Model T.
After World War II, the wings went away, and the logo sat under a stately, upright V. Then, as automotive styles changed, the logo and the V continued to get lower and wider, just like the car. By 1960, the logo had become extremely flat and wide, but take a look at a '60 Cadillac and you can see why.
The last hurrah for the crown and merlettes came around 1997, when “Ziggy”, a free-spirited merlette that faced the wrong way was featured in advertisements for the then new Cadillac Catera. Dubbed “the Caddy that zigs”, the German-made Catera was quite a departure from the kind of cars Cadillac was known for. And it wasn't exactly a huge success. The Catera's bland, jellybean appearance, combined with a litany of reliability problems, relegated the Catera to infamy.
Cadillac made some minor tweaks again in 2010. The shape hadn’t changed, but now it is more beveled and less cartoon-like. It is sort of a combination of the logo we've seen the past few years, with the fine details of the pre-'99 version.
About one year ago this weekend, the Cadillac/LaSalle Club Grand National Convention was held right here in Kansas City. I covered some of this hot July event on my Examiner page, but never really got to properly share the photos in that venue. They’re small, hard to navigate, and limited to a small number. So today, I’m including all my shots from the show, which was held at the Doubletree Hotel in Overland Park, for your viewing enjoyment here on the HMC blog.
The 2011 Cadillac/LaSalle Grand National Convention will be held in Columbus, Ohio, on August 10-13. So if you’re in Kansas City, and you have a hankerin’ to see a large number of beautiful vintage Cadillacs here in town, this slideshow is your best bet.