Can you tell the difference between a Ford and a Chevy just by looking at the logo? What about a Mustang or Viper, or older brands like Saturn or Sterling? Take this quiz to test your American car logo IQ!
At the beginning of the 20th century, Detroit, Michigan, became known as Motor City thanks to the large number of cars being manufactured there. By the 1920s, GM, Ford, and Chrysler had become the largest American automakers, and within three decades, 75 percent of all cars in the world were being produced in Detroit. Of course, things have changed a bit since then; competition from foreign automakers brought the American auto industry to its knees, resulting in major changes, including some bankruptcies that no one would have expected just a few decades ago.
Despite the struggles of the big three, America is still home to dozens of auto manufacturers, each with its own identity -- including a carefully designed logo designed to portray concepts like safety, performance, and speed. Think you can match each American car company to its logo? Take our quiz to find out!
In 1701, Antoine De La Mothe Cadillac founded the city of Detroit. Two hundred years later, a representation of his family crest was chosen as the logo for Cadillac automobiles. The badge design has changed dramatically over the decades but has often been adorned with either a crown or laurel wreath.
Established in 1903, Ford uses one of the simplest logos of all the American automakers. It's a blue oval with the company name written inside in white script.
In a 2014 tweet, Elon Musk confirmed that the Tesla logo was inspired by a cross section of an electric motor. It makes sense for a company that was named for electrical legend Nikola Tesla with a goal to build electric cars.
The origins of the Chevy bowtie logo have a couple of explanations. Founder Billy Durant once said he saw the design on some wallpaper in Paris. Years later, his wife explained that he actually saw the design in a newspaper while the couple was vacationing in Hot Springs, Virginia.
Founded in 1925, Chrysler started off with a pair of logos -- one designed to resemble a wax seal and ribbon, and the other based on the Roman god Mercury. Over the years, these images have combined to form a slim set of wings, which may or may not include the company seal in the center.
For years, the famous Ram logo was used by Dodge. When Ram Trucks was established in 2010, it made sense for the new company to adapt the old Dodge logo of a male sheep -- or ram.
Founded by Henry Leland, Lincoln is a luxury brand of cars within the Ford umbrella. Since the 1950s when Lincoln merged with Continental, the company has used the Continental star as its logo.
Founded in 1899, Buick ranks as the oldest American auto brand in 2018. Part of GM since 1908, the company has used its tri-shield logo since 1937. Since the '60s, the Buick shields have retained their red, white and blue color scheme.
Founded in 1926, Pontiac was out of business by 2010. The company was named for an Ottawa chief for which the city of Pontiac, Michigan, was named. It makes sense that the company used a Native American headdress as its logo through the '50s, then switched to an arrowhead or dart design.
Corvette's logo reflects the fact that it's a brand within the Chevy family. It consists of a pair of crossed flags, one the classic black and white checks of the race track, and the other red with the Chevy logo inside.
Founded by Ransom Olds in 1897, Oldsmobile became a part of GM until the brand was discontinued in 2004. The company is known for two logos -- a rocket shooting into the sky, and an oval with a swoosh passing through it that was used in later years.
Mercury was founded by Edsel Ford in 1938 as a vehicle for working professionals looking for a mid-range ride. The car initially used the head of Roman god Mercury as its logo, then switched to a stylized M or wave shape within a double circle.
Since 1965, Shelby has been souping up cars to increase speed and performance. The company's logo is a cobra, with fangs bared and poised to strike.
Dodge has been using its famous Viper logo since 1992. Though the logo always included a wicked-looking snake with sharp fangs, the design has changed over the years -- with various versions dubbed Sneaky Pete, Fangs and Stryker.
Mustang has been such an epic vehicle for Ford that the car has its own logo. Produced since 1965, the iconic sports car includes a logo of a horse in full gallop -- often with a red, white and blue ribbon in the background.
Based in Seattle, Kenworth Motors was founded in 1912. Though the company initially made both cars and trucks, it now focuses on semi-trucks and tractors. The company logo is red and white, with the letters K and W enclosed in a circle against a vertical ribbon-like stripe.
Western Star is an American truck company founded in Cleveland in 1967. Its logo is a big blue letter W with a bold red star in the center.
Fisker debuted in 2008, and is best known for its Karma plug-in vehicle. Though the company went bankrupt in 2014, its orange and blue log -- reminiscent of a sun setting into the ocean -- lives on.
Saturn was a subsidiary of GM from 1985 to 2009. Its red and silver logo was actually a close-up shot of a small piece of the planet Saturn, with its famous ring,
Sterling produced cars in the U.S. from 1987 to 1991, with total sales of fewer than 40,000 units. The logo featured a bold red cross and a majestic lion with its paw raised.
Chrysler introduced its Plymouth brand in 1928 to compete with other low-priced American car brands. The Plymouth logo has always been some version of a sailing ship -- like the one the Pilgrims used to reach Plymouth, Massachusetts. The brand was discontinued in 2001.
Believe it or not, Studebaker started off making electric cars in 1902 before switching to gas vehicles a few years later. The brand was defunct by the '60s, but many still remember its red and blue circle logo -- with the colors split by the famous Studebaker "Lazy S."
Edsel was supposed to be the car of the future when it came out in 1957, but the brand never caught on and was discontinued by the beginning of the '60s. Its green and white logo features a giant E for Edsel -- a name that is often used today to refer to a folly or failure.
AMC was formed when Nash and Hudson merged in 1954. The company, with its logo built from a red triangle and blue rectangle, went out of business in 1988.
Various cars wore the Rambler name in the U.S. between 1900 and 1969, including the famous Nash Rambler of the '50s. When Rambler became an independent brand in the late '50s and '60s, the company used a red and white logo with a capital letter R enclosed within a circle.
Willys-Overland made cars from 1908 to 1963. Famous for its Jeeps and Overland models, the company used a giant letter W enclosed in a circle as its logo -- and sometimes added propellers or wings to the circle for extra oomph.
Kaiser Motors produced cars from 1945 to 1953, then merged with Willys Overland to form Kaiser Jeep. The company had a bold logo, consisting of a badge with the letter K and a mighty buffalo posed atop a rock.
SSC Supercars became one of the first American supercar makers when it was formed in 1999. Famous for its Tuatara model, which manages to pack in 1,750 horses, the brand uses a red, white and blue badge with the slogan, "In varitate victora" -- or victory lies in truth.
Hennessey Motors was founded in Texas in 1991. The company produces high-end modifications to increase performance on already fast cars, like Ferrari and Porsche. The Hennessy logo consists of a stylized letter H, and has a sleek black and silver color scheme.
Rezvani has been producing high-end sports cars -- like its iconic Beast model -- since 2014. The company logo include wings, a steering wheel and racing stripes to reflect founder Ferris Rezvani's love of flying and racing.
Brammo was founded in 2002 and sold to Polaris in 2015. The company, which produced electric motors and motorcycles, used a black and white bull image as its logo.
Named for Michael Faraday and his famous law of induction, Faraday Future is an electric car company founded in California in 2014. Its logo consists of eight simple lines, which combine to form two slanted letter Fs and an arrow pointing up.
AC Propulsion was founded in California in 1992 to build AC drivetrains for electric vehicles. The logo forms a rough letter A and C, but also represents a pair of alternating waves of electric current.
DeLorean was only in business from 1975 to 1982, but the company lives on in film. Its famous gull-wing DMC-12 appears in the movie, "Back to the Future." The company logo was a stylized DMC, which looked identical when read forward or backward.
Elio was an innovative car company founded in Phoenix in 2009. The company planned to make three-wheel drive enclosed bike/car combos -- with two wheels in the front and one in the back. The logo is green and white, with a giant shapely letter E.
Callaway was founded in Connecticut in 1977 to build souped-up versions of GM cars. The company logo is a waving red, white and blue flag, though another version includes the Callway name inside of a circle with wings extending out of either side.
Falcon was formed in Michigan in 2009 to produce high performance cars. Known for its Falcon F-series, the company uses a black, red and silver logo with a bold image of a falcon inside.
Lyons was founded in 2014 in New York. The high performance automaker uses a shield with a swooping letter L, engineering instruments and stars to form its logo.
Zimmer was founded in New York in 1997 to build cars in the neo-classical style. The company uses a bold letter Z and a pair of detailed wings to form its logo.
Rossion Automotive was founded in 2008 in Florida. Known for its Q1 model -- which can go from 0 to 60 in 2.8 seconds -- Rossion uses a soaring eagle in a black and silver color scheme to form its logo.