Behind the Badge: The Ferocious Jaguar Emblem and What It Represents
If there’s one automotive brand’s badge that perfectly imitates its company’s name, it’s the Jaguar. This leaping feline is easily one of the most recognizable and beloved emblems on the road. For years, this sleek, silver sculpture has adorned premium British performance cars around the globe. But where did the Jaguar get its design and what does it represent?
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Why Jaguar Cars Used to Be the SS
The Jaguar brand actually began as the Swallow Sidecar Company in 1922, founded by young British entrepreneurs William Walmsley and William Lyons. It wasn’t until 1935 that the British company added the “Jaguar” name to its identity when it released the SS Jaguar sedan as a joint venture with chassis producer Standard Motor Company. Hence, the “SS” in this case became “Standard-Swallow.” The early logo showcased the “SS” letters in a hexagon surrounded by a bird’s wings and tail.
Once World War II changed the connotation of SS in the public’s eye, the company’s name and logo changed in 1945, dropping the “SS” and references to the swallow. Going by Jaguar Cars (meant to be distinct from any other foreign brand), the automaker introduced the emblem of a pouncing jaguar, representing the vehicles’ grace, strength, and speed. The use of silver and black coloring further conveys sophistication. This leaping feline has remained relatively unchanged over the past 70 years, a notably exciting design and perfect hood ornament. Apart from going from a lined silhouette to solid silver, the Jaguar badge remains consistent.
As the “leaper” has been phased out as a hood ornament and moved to the back of the cars in a flat, profile-view form, a newer “growler” design is being used on front grilles. This showcases the jaguar’s face and open mouth, surrounded by a silver ring and red background.
Despite passing hands from Ford to Tata Motors, Jaguar remains the ferocious brand its beastly logo emanates.
Love thinking about the automobile logos like Jaguar’s? Check out the rest of our Behind the Badge series examining fascinating automotive logos!
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Aaron is unashamed to be a native Clevelander and the proud driver of a Hyundai Veloster Turbo (which recently replaced his 1995 Saturn SC-2). He gleefully utilizes his background in theater, literature, and communication to dramatically recite his own articles to nearby youth. Mr. Widmar happily resides in Dayton, Ohio with his magnificent wife, Vicki, but is often on the road with her exploring new destinations. Aaron has high aspirations for his writing career but often gets distracted pondering the profound nature of the human condition and forgets what he was writing… See more articles by Aaron.