Here's what the Buick logo really means

Today’s Buick badge may be all-American red, white and blue, but its origins come from a land far away.

Dunbar Buick founded his namesake brand in 1903 and for a long time its cars wore the company name in script, but in the 1930s a logo was adopted that featured a shield with a unique design.

(Smithsonian Institution)

It wasn’t pure imagination, but the result of a designer’s research into the Scottish-born Buick’s lineage. According to GM, he came across a description of the family’s coat of arms in a book, which wasn’t illustrated but said it had a red background, a diagonal checkered sash, a stag’s head in the top right and a cross in the bottom left.


That’s exactly what was introduced for the 1937 model year and remained on the cars in various forms until it morphed into a badge with three shields with red, white and blue backgrounds in 1959.

It was largely replaced by a design dominated by a hawk in the 1970 and 1980s, then returned as the primary logo in 1990 in a simplified form without the head, cross or checkerboard pattern.


Buick went for a more upscale look in 2002 by eliminating all of the color, but brought it back in 2017 as “a progressive, contemporary design reflective of Buick’s newest vehicles and cognitive of the brand’s heritage.”


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