Written by Eric Becker
Keen to create a symbol for the Dodge automobile at the behest of Walter P. Chrysler, American sculptor Avard T. Fairbanks drew inspiration from North American wildlife and settled on the fearless master of the trail, the ram. “If anybody sees that ram coming along on that car, they’ll say DODGE!” he explained. A leaping ram was adopted as the hood ornament for Dodge vehicles in 1932.
But the bighorn iconography wasn’t always synonymous with the company started by brothers Horace and John Dodge.
The 120-year-old manufacturer’s first emblem arrived in 1914 along with the first automobile offered: The Model 30. Fashioned at the front of the radiator, the insignia featured interlaced black and white triangles forming a 6-pointed star, with the center housing the initials “DB,” behind which was a map of the globe. The words “Dodge Brothers Detroit USA” surrounded the outer edges. The star-based logo eventually gave way to the more streamlined ram hood ornament, which was used through 1954.
Virgil Exner’s ambitious “Forward Look” design campaign for Chrysler in the mid-50s gave birth to the space-age-looking “flookerang,” resembling a stylized double boomerang. Apparently keen to stay with peculiar names, Dodge adopted a three-delta triangular emblem in the early 1960s, meaninglessly dubbed the “fratzog” by a designer who was told it had to be called something.
During the 1970s, Dodge developed a slanted type-based logo, used to convey speed and a modern feel. The early 1980s saw the return of the ram hood ornament for the first generation of the RAM pickup. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, the ram emblem would find its way onto the hoods of nearly all vehicles in the Dodge portfolio.
With RAM splitting off as a stand-alone brand in 2010, a new Dodge logo emerged featuring a bold Dodge name with two slanted red “racing” stripes – perfectly encapsulating the brand’s increasingly credible performance image.
To see what Dodge models – and more – are on the docket for Barrett-Jackson’s special 2020 Fall Auction, click HERE.