Time and again we have discussed how emblems stand as symbolic representations of the history of car companies. Porsche’s iconic crest is no different, dating back to 1951.
The idea of a coat of arms or crest as a representation of Porsche was born in 1951. In March of the same year, Porsche and Ottomar Domnick, Stuttgart doctor and Porsche certificate, held a design competition among German art schools. It was priced at 1,000 Deutschmarks (about $550 in today’s value), but unfortunately none of the designs won and the idea was parked for a bit.
It wasn’t until Ferry Porsche visited New York at the end of the year that the idea was pushed forward with the help of Austrian-born importer Max Hoffman.
Hoffman was the owner of the Hoffman Motor Company, a specialty importer of European cars to the United States. At a business lunch with Porsche, Hoffmann spoke about the importance of developing a visually appealing seal of quality to create more identity in Porsche vehicles. Until the birth of the coat of arms only the Porsche Lettering adorns the bonnet of the 356.
This discussion was significant for Ferry Porsche and finally got the wheels in motion. On December 27, 1951, Ferry Porsche noted: “Steering wheel hub with ‘Porsche’ and the Stuttgart coat of arms or something like that.”
Back in Germany in 1952, the Porsche designer Franz Xaver Reimspieß was commissioned to do it create a brand. The order should have something that symbolically reflects the roots of the company as well as the “quality and dynamism of the products”.
The result was the coat of arms we see on Porsche sports cars today, inspired by the Stuttgart city seal. The coat of arms shows a rearing horse in the middle, framed by the contours of a golden shield. The city name above is flanked by the red and black state colors and stylized antlers, which come from the Württemberg-Hohenzollern coat of arms. The Porsche lettering acts as a protective roof over everything.
Since 1952, the Coat of Arms has gone through five evolutions, although the changes have always been minor and served only to keep the design contemporary.