The Corvette emblem has seen its fair share of changes over the years and some changes have been subtle and others have been quite drastic. However, for all the changes that have occurred with the Corvette’s emblem, there are certain design cues that stay constant in almost all designs. Most Corvette emblems have the famed crossed flag which consists of the checkered flag, the Chevy Bowtie and at times the fleur de lis (the maple leaf looking thing). What many don’t know is that the Corvette emblem was changed for the maiden 1953 Corvette almost at the last second.
The original Corvette emblem was created by Robert Bartholomew who was an interior designer and while it looked much the same as what would be adopted it was vastly different. The original design did have the crossed flags but one flag was the checkered flag and the other flag was the flag of the United State of America. The emblem went over very well with GM executives and the first Corvette prototype was fitted with the design and was destined for its first public appearance.
Just four days prior to the world getting its first glimpse of the Corvette the GM executives had a change of heart. They knew that it was not legal to use the American Flag in conjunction with a commercial product. Though the Corvette that they fitted the emblem with was only a prototype they decided better to be safe than sorry.
The design team got back to work on the emblem and the new emblem featured the same design only with the American flag gone and the flag with the Chevy Bowtie and the fleur de lis taking its place. The idea for the fleur de lis, which is French for “flower of the lily” was added as an homage to the man that Chevy was named after; Louis Chevrolet. While GM search for a family crest to use they came up short but stumbled across the fleur de lis which stands for peace and purity and so it was used to honor the Frenchman. The prototype Corvette was then fitted with the new emblem and sent off to the Waldorf in New York and what would follow would be history in the making.
Even though the emblem was indeed a smashing success with all that saw it at the show it was again redesigned before the actual production of the 1953 Corvette took place. Still the new design had all the same features of the first only it was styled in a more aesthetically pleasing way.
The first emblem made by Robert Bartholomew can still be seen to this day and not just in photographs. You can take a trip to the National Corvette Museum and see it in all its glory as it is displayed there for all lovers of the Corvette to see. While times and emblems change, one thing always remains; the Corvette is now and will forever be a classic in its own right, no matter what kind of badges it wears.