By on March 6, 2009

Back in Motown’s heyday, in-house design giants like Harley Earl set the automotive fashion trends. Rockets, airplanes, Googie, breasts—vehicular taste-makers drew inspiration from the pop culture gestalt. Today’s car designers are no different. Specifically, they’ve turned to urban parade makers for their sheetmetal cues, favoring designs that evoke the wretched excess of a rapper’s bling. Unlike Earl and his cohorts, contemporary car designers suffer from Marty McFly Complex: they try dangerous things to show that they’re not creative cowards. The Ray Gun Gothic designs of day’s past had “it.” Our time’s blingmobiles are just plain embarrassing.

Yes, it’s true: bling lives. Although MTV’s Pimp my Ride has jumped the shark, anyone who’s anyone (i.e., someone who wants everyone to think he’s someone) still feels obliged to take a perfectly decent automobile and add several hundred pounds of accessories: spinners, woofers, gold plating, and neon. Anti-stock is the new stock. Or, as the marketing folks at the accessory-based Scion brand so aptly put it, hundreds of thousands of consumers are united by individuality.

Locked as they are into a three to five year lead time, automakers are just now unleashing designs that echo the PMR generation’s obsession with avoiding Prudy Square. Exhibit A: the ridiculously oversized badges sported by today’s whips.

Driving down our interstate highway system for a few hours, I began to notice the big print badges favored by Ford, Dodge, VW, Mercedes and Caddy.

The new F150 sports a badge on the tailgate that would be at home around the neck of any 80s rapper (should his chiropractor approve), especially when compared to the older truck. The New Dodge Ram trucks look as though they could lose a few pounds—say 100 or so—if only they’d put their logos on a diet.

The Buick Enclave’s badge is so big they had to form the rear window around it. Mercedes once restricted their nostril mounted three-pointed star to a single model (500 SEC I believe). Today’s entry-level C-Class’ snout sports an embedded logo that makes the old Merc long for Enzyte.

Volkswagen has surrendered to the forces of largeness, Big Style. Space shuttle crews report that the ill-fated Phaeton’s trunk-mounted logo can be seen from low-earth orbit. At the same time, BMW’s kidney-shaped grills have become swollen, bloated and distended parodies of themselves.

So why the bling thing? In much the same way that hunters spritz themselves with deer musk and a doe’s rutting blood in order to afford themselves some natural cover, perhaps the uber-badges allows manufacturers to look as if they’re hip to the bling thang, and allow them to attract prospects in heat for some new wheels.

The badge engorgement also reflects federal safety and fuel economy regulations. The government is asking all automakers the same questions; it’s no surprise they’re all coming up with the same answers. In other words, there’s a reason why today’s cars look strikingly—or not so strikingly—similar. (If not to you, to the average buyer.) Badges have become an increasingly important way to differentiate one design from another.

And yet, pre-blinging defeats the whole point of pimping a ride; it’s no fun to drive in a car sporting the same tasteless crap accoutrements as everybody else. So the tuner crowd are busy modifying vehicles that have already been modified to look like they’ve been modified. Just as the Cold War led to a $75K coffee maker in the B-1 bomber, I suspect things will get a lot worse (read: “bigger and more obnoxious”) before they get better (“back to normal”).

Then again, the ecoNazis may be bling’s undoing. Once some enterprising Greenie (or heaven forefend, a member of Obama’s Task Force) starts looking at factors like the bling-to-gross vehicle weight ratios, we’re likely to be treated to umpteen stories of how Big Bad Detroit is letting their love of self-promotion run amuck, at the expense of resources.

I can foresee a cottage industry for body shops, de-badging trucks and SUVs to assuage the conscience of those that insist on livin’ large in a rolling land yacht.

Then again, again, it could go the other way: blinged-out government eco-badges. How long before the government enlarges carpool lane stickers, or PZEV designations? Big ass emissions test stickers? How long? Not long. I may not get there with you, but I’ve seen the gi-normous hybrid stickers adorning GM’s gas-electric truck. I’ve seen the PC land.

While I’m all for the auto industry trying to get in touch with their “inner customer,” I’m not so thrilled about the blingalicious look of their new product. If I wanted to drive around a billboard, I would. If they’re going to insist on having their names writ large across the backside of my vehicle, then I should get paid to drive their ads across my city. Less is more.

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51 Comments on “Editorial: We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Badges...”


  • avatar

    I think one of the big differences between now and yore is — to put it slightly differently from the way you did — in the old days, cars all had distinctive personalities (I’m referring to appearance). There was more difference between any two consecutive years of full sized Chevies in the ’50s and ’60s than there is between any set of four door sedans from anywhere in the world today. And still, for many people, cars are fashion, things they use to identify who they are, and so you have to resort to… well, in some cases, “bling.” I suspect that there’s an inverse relationship between distinctiveness and identification baubles. But lets face it: most cars don’t carry a lot of chromey baubles. Chromey baubles are usually about lower class aspiration to higher class. (There are far, far more loud chromey wheels in Durham NC than in the Boston area.) On the other hand, you could have included in this article some discussion of the Hollywood penchant for Prions.

  • avatar
    ez3276

    Kind of like what happened with white lettered tires decades ago. The lettering got so big that it felt like you were doing free advertising for the manufacturer.

  • avatar
    HankScorpio

    At one point in my life, I declined to buy a car from a dealer because they would not remove some sticker that I thought was tacky. Several years removed from the incident I cannot remember if it was a factory sticker (something like the Z-71 4×4 sticker on a Silverado) or some tacky dealer added pinstripes.

    Either way, I didn’t want that crap on my car and walked because they balked.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    An unfortunate incident with GM hybrid brakes was reported here, which drew my attention to the forum on GreenHybrid. One of the most frequently asked questions there is, “How do I remove that giant “HYBRID” sticker from my truck?”

    The stylists and marketers may be out of control but John Q. Public is not.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    Toyota is the worst offender in that they are literally bending the sheet metal of many of their models to incorporate their badge. The Camry and the upcoming Prius come to mind. It is pompous, egotistical, and commercial.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Alex:

    This is a great observation. I think it is mostly due to smart-a$$ marketing types that really have no genuine creativity or nothing of value to say about their product. They choose to use crassness as a marketing lever which results in the “in-your-face” promotion that is now so common; what ever happened to a little bit of humility?
    The ones that have the least to promote usually make the biggest spectacle and vice versa.

    I use to get knocked around in grade school by nuns and have tried to forget that entire lame experience but I do remember this one nun who was trashing a fellow student for doing something moronic by saying, “Empty barrels make the most noise!”

    True in many aspects of life I guess.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    ez3276 :

    “Kind of like what happened with white lettered tires decades ago. The lettering got so big that it felt like you were doing free advertising for the manufacturer.”

    That’s exactly what you are doing, it’s free to them (actually they realistically charge you for advertising their product and think about the breadth of the exposure!).

    Check out a NASCAR race sometime and look at the size of the lettering on the tires of each car; garish at the least and I gather from what I read, a real POS racing tire.

  • avatar
    peoplewatching04

    For the most part (probably not for anyone who reads this website), people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a Camry, Accord, Malibu, etc. if it didn’t have some gigantic symbol on it. As car companies stop occupying certain niches and instead provide cars in every class, there becomes less to differentiate brands other than a similar grill and a big-ass logo. Look at Jeep- and pretend the Compass and Patriot don’t exist. Their logo hasn’t gotten out of hand; it doesn’t need to because a Jeep is a Jeep, a somewhat-niche SUV. But then there’s Nissan, whose logos have expanded nearly 4x their size in 10 years. They also offer vehicles in nearly every class, so they need to make their brand known.

  • avatar
    zerofoo

    VW has gone one further – the ginormous badge on the back of my GTI is the release handle for the hatch.

    I can’t remove it if I want to be able to open the hatch.

    -ted

  • avatar
    ARacer

    Big badge, small badge, no badge. Car styling has been bland for 10+ years regardless of small styling quirks. I still have to choke back puke when I see any Porsche, Benz, BMW, Toyota, Chrysler or GM made since the early 90’s.

  • avatar
    NickR

    I pose the question:

    ‘In the drive to lower vehicles drag coefficient, is it inevitable that cars end up looking very much alike?’

    I honestly don’t know.

  • avatar
    Casual Observer

    Even more than huge badges, I dislike modded cars that have their badges removed – as if no one can figure out you’re driving a ’94 Nissan Maxima.

    I also dislike when dealers brand their name right into the trunk, like they had something to do with making the car.

  • avatar

    apparently we don’t need no stinkin’ brochures either. can’t find a dealer who ever received an ’09 Lacrosse brochure. what gives?

  • avatar
    TexasAg03

    We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!

    I love Blazing Saddles – great movie.

  • avatar
    racebeer

    Maybe it’s too much of the NASCAR influence. If you take all the headlight and taillight decals off those ugly beasts, they all look alike (because they are…..). Same with the current crop of non-distinct cars dronning down the highways. Remove the headlights, taillights and badges, and they all look alike.

    One thing for sure, you can’t mistake the different look of my ’63 Dodge Polara to a ’63 Pontiac Bonneville. Distinctive style, with few exceptions, is a thing of the past. Ergo, huge badges.

  • avatar
    JG

    Badgeless vehicles look good. I’ve only got my “faux fuel cap,” even the term bothers me, but I live with it.

    The Ford logo on the back of new trucks is a travesty, and it is built into a crease and depression so you can’t even get rid of it.

    As my auto buying turns from fun to practicality, however, I find myself caring less. I’m just pulling for Toyota to build a lighter, better Tacoma with a 4 cyl turbo diesel for the next gen. :)

  • avatar
    mikeolan

    Badges are as relevant as ever. Here’s why:

    Badges have gotten larger because it strikes a chord with pride in ownership on a deeper psychological level It’s sort of like saying “Damn right this is a Suzuki, you should be proud of that….” as opposed to “Maybe if we make the badge small enough nobody will notice you’re driving a Suzuki.” It also advertises the brand loudly, especially upon a new model’s introduction. People see “Hey, nice car, what kind of car is that? Oh wow, it’s a Ford, nice! I didn’t know they made this….”

    Take for example, Oldsmobile. When Oldsmobile unleashed its radical styling, they hid all of their badges so most people saw these radical cars but didn’t associate them with the new, sleek style the brand had taken. If someone says “Oldsmobile” the last generation of cars barely comes up in the mental image, yet “Aurora” or “Alero” work well. Unsurprsingly, the brand eventually died.

    Another example is Hyundai. Hyundai makes the mistake of hiding their badge on their high-end models (The Prior XG and now the Genesis.) It’s viewed by many as saying “Sorry this car isn’t a car from a REAL manufacturer…” as if they’re ashamed of who is making it.

    You can argue that styling has become more bland, but it hasn’t. Furthermore, Oldsmobile’s designs back in the 90’s were anything but.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    i think that chromey cars are cool. Not that I would buy any of these blinged out things mind you – but i like to look at them on the road usually.

    Sometimes it gets stupid. In past years it was RollsRoyce like grills on a caddy, along with padded half roofs and landau bars. Remember landau bars!!!

    And gold kits, continental kits. ALWAYS hated them

    No end to bad taste. How else do you explain the fox channel, limbaugh and bull horns on big cars? Subtlety is lost.

    I prefer under the radar cars, personally. The better to go fast in. Especially when ur speeding with a 2007 Navagator with dark windows, chrome 22 inchers and a skull and crossbones on the rear hatch.

    As for VW’s gigantic rear hatch insignia, its easy enough to paint over. Thats what I did.

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    the emblem on the front of my wife’s ’05 SLK is ridiculously huge, but i can’t fault Mercedes on the styling. at least the car looks good. it’s a little embarassing because with that giant tristar on the front, people think we bought it just because it’s a Benz.

    working at a Caddy dealer, i’d have to say the Escalade’s rear emblem has gotten out of hand. you could serve dinner on the damn things.

  • avatar
    UnclePete

    “Then again, again, it could go the other way: blinged-out government eco-badges.”

    Look at the relative size of the “Hybrid” badges on any hybrid car and you see that already.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    zerofoo : VW has gone one further – the ginormous badge on the back of my GTI is the release handle for the hatch.

    I can’t remove it if I want to be able to open the hatch.

    In all fairness, there are only 2 prominant VW badges on the exterior of vehicle. One on the nose, and one on the tail. The rear badge also keeps the back looking visually cleaner without having an additional handle on the back. Everyone who sees the badge/handle on my GTI says it is supremely clever. Now, if you look inside the HID headlights, there are little VW emblems and a few others hidden throughout the car. They are small and only noticed if you are really looking for it. Thus, I’d have to disagree with you and say that VW is definitely one of the best as far as badge usage. 2 GTI badges, 2 VW badges: perfect. It could be like Subaru’s STI that has 2 Pleidies badges and 6 STI badges on the car. I will say that I love the pink STI badge though. Very cool.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    This sort of thing is always with us. The big thing in customizing from the 40’s clear through the 60’s or 70’s was always to remove emblems and such.

    My 1955 Packard 400 was a car that didn’t look a bit like anything else on the road, but it had Packard emblems all over the exterior and interior. My old man’s ’50, like most other Packards until 1955, had the red hexagons on the hubcaps, and the shape at the top of the grille, and that was it. Maybe the problem was that the stylists didn’t think it looked much like any earlier Packards either.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    Conspicuous consumption comes and goes.

    The U.S. had what felt like a booming economy for the past 10 years, and that makes people want to flaunt it. Now that real boom has turned to Madoff boom, I would expect people to be more lower-key.

    Being big, brash and blingy is also a class thing. In Paul Fussel’s sociological matrix, showing off is an element of prole and high-prole behaviour. (Old-) rich people, in contrast, like to keep it discreet, just like it is the epitome of wealth to have a house that cannot be seen from the street.

  • avatar
    Patrickj

    There are so many ugly beasts on the road right now that there’s nothing I’d really WANT to buy. Claustrophobic slit windows and headlight lenses almost all the way to the A-pillar? Who are these companies kidding?

    I don’t NEED to buy a car, but if there was something I really liked that I’d be comfortable in and would save gas on my long-distance commute, I could be convinced to buy.

    Now that gas has been $4.00+ a gallon, it is foolish to pick a new (or near new) vehicle thinking that gas will cost less than that. That eliminates most of what’s left.

    If I HAD to buy a car tomorrow, it would probably be a used Buick/Impala or a standard-shift Camry or Corolla with enough miles to make buyers think twice about the clutch–to be rethought when the new car selection better fits the times.

  • avatar
    RedStapler

    The new F150 sports a badge on the tailgate that would be at home around the neck of any 80’s rapper (should his chiropractor approve), especially when compared to the older truck.

    Ah yes, the Beastie Boys package.

    Reminds me of the Movie Idiocracy where the Pro Wrestler President and his Cabinet all wear the Bling of their office.

  • avatar
    shaker

    To the extent that cars like the Alfas and Citroens like to use their grille designs as their “badges” is counter to this “ginormous” badge trend, and I credit them for it – but beauty is in the eye of the beholder as to how it translates to different modern sheetmetal.

    One thing for sure, if the Chevy Bowtie gets much bigger, it’s going to block the top grille, so why don’t they just take a page from Alfa and make the grille into a Bowtie shape? (/silly).

  • avatar
    niky

    Aerodynamics may play a part in the outlines of cars becoming more and more similar, but an effective design language can hide these similarities quite well.

    Take the C-platform triplets from Ford-Mazda-Volvo. While the Focus and S40 had a similar thing running in the rear (and, with the new Focus headlights, in front, too), the Mazda3 had an individuality that transcends sheetmetal. Mazda managed to make it stylish without being a “me-too” Audi-Beemer-Volkswagen clone (this was at the start of the automotive goatee era and flame surfacing).

    Without an effective design language like Mazda, Audi or Ford has (Ford’s european language of the last three or four years is so good that a lot of upmarket marquees have been criticized for looking like Fords), you’re left with no choice but to find other ways to set yourself apart from the pack.

    The worst offender, in my eyes, is Mercedes. Mercedes rocks that grille logo like there’s no tomorrow… and while the C-Class styling stands remarkably well on its own, the oversized logo just pushes it over the edge.

    There are others… BMW’s insane obsession with the double-kidney leads them to place it on cars which would work better without it… it just doesn’t gel on small cars like the 1-series and the Z4, which was otherwise a masterpiece of stylling… before they blanded it down to market tastes… Now… those twin-kidneys weren’t always this shape… what’s the matter with distorting them some more to fit the cars?

    Dodge and the need for everything, including compacts, to have a grille fit for a truck… Chevrolet… no, wait… I think their grille-work is a remarkable exercise in restraint…

    But then, in these carpocalyptic times, denying your American heritage might just be a good thing…

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    Actually, unless your an enthusiast that is focused on them, a lot of those “distinctive” ’50’s vehicles look a very much a like.

    Bunter

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    Could someone explain the sign that says “limited” on the back of some light trucks? Why would you want to advertise the limitations of your vehicle?

  • avatar

    Speaking of badging overkill, I never understood why manufacturers of AT-equipped imports used to slap a big “AUTOMATIC” script on the decklid (I think only a lack of space prevented them from advertising every accessory on the car in this way).

    Perhaps some of you might remember the way many dealers used to attach huge chrome dealer name badges to the factory bling. They weren’t adhesively applied, but instead had a pair of spikes on the back and were literally hammered into the decklid or tailgate. Tasteless and rust-encouraging.

  • avatar
    Diewaldo

    What is all that C-Class critisism about? You can still get the C-Class with the little star on the hood (which is what makes a real Mercedes imho).

    http://www.speedheads.de/artikelbilder/2008/MercedesCKlasse1.jpg

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    The_Imperialist

    Your post triggered this old memory.

    My first trip to Europe, I was amused by the cars that had a badge bragging they had a “katalysor”. (Europe was late to the emmisisons control game)

    And while commenting on badges, the first thing I did with my 1990 Plymouth Laser Turbo was to get out a hair dryer and peel off the labels bragging about 16-v DOHC and TURBO INTERCOOLED. I just felt mildly concerned that if I found myself talking with a nice officer on the roadside some time, that those braggard stickers might affect his judgement in ways I might not like.

    MY ’03 Suzuki Vitara with the 18×6 inch “VITARA” across the spare tire cover? Blotted that bit of commercail over kill out with black paint within days after taking delivery of the vehicle. Dispalying that was seriously emabarassing. The spare tire covers on the v-6 model are even more ridiculous.

  • avatar
    Ferrygeist

    “Speaking of badging overkill, I never understood why manufacturers of AT-equipped imports used to slap a big “AUTOMATIC” script on the decklid…”

    Because, once upon a time, automatics were the exception, not the rule, and it was a novel feature. A selling point. Case in point: as counterintuitive as it may seem, early Porsche 911s with automatics (“Sportomatics,” as they were called and badged) have now become collectible in and of themselves, not just because of their proximity to the REALLY collectible cars, but precisely because of their rarity. No longer do they routinely get rebuilt with manuals.

    As “sophisticated” marques in general, I think it’s worth noting that you pretty much never see a Porsche, Ferrari, Lotus, Maserati, Aston Martin, etc., screaming out its name to the world through badging. The cars pretty much say everything that needs to be said without the chrome verbiage.

    A very unfortunate sub-niche is where the two worlds meet: Pagani, Spyker, Bugatti, etc., which, although fairly devoid of badging per se, are still aesthetic atrocities. Porsche, Ferrari, and Lotus don’t have to try; they’re “old wealth” if you will. The latter builders are ostentatious in the extreme.

    Fun fact: Porsche offers factory badging delete options, or, in keeping with the custom of the legendary 2.7 RS, the single shield decal for the hood, and black model decal for the decklid. It’s traditionally more about weight than discretion, but either way, nice.

  • avatar

    debadging has been and will remain a popular modification for those seeking to build “sleepers”.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    @The_Imperialist: also, “5-speed” on MT Hondas, and “ABS” on a whole bunch of cars.

  • avatar
    James2

    debadging has been and will remain a popular modification for those seeking to build “sleepers”.

    It’s also a way to disguise the fact that you couldn’t swing the payments on a 330i and had to settle for the 325i.

    Or, conversely, I always think nasty thoughts about those ricers who slap the Japanese name onto the American version of the car (Skyline/G35, Altezza/IS300).

  • avatar
    istu

    I’m surprised no one has yet expressed dislike for the newest (yet recycled) trend of slapping badges/gills/slits on the front fenders. On many cars we now have badges not only on the front and rear but on either side. I think BMW brought this back on the Z3 in the late-90s, but it’s been catching on like crazy lately. Caddy CTS, Ford Focus, etc. Heck, even the Porsche Panamera has them.

  • avatar
    ionosphere

    Whatever happened to landau roofs? They made a car look classy. I’m sick on all the crossovers and suv’s. Ugly beasts all.

  • avatar
    Runfromcheney

    mikeolan :

    “Take for example, Oldsmobile. When Oldsmobile unleashed its radical styling, they hid all of their badges so most people saw these radical cars but didn’t associate them with the new, sleek style the brand had taken. If someone says “Oldsmobile” the last generation of cars barely comes up in the mental image, yet “Aurora” or “Alero” work well. Unsurprsingly, the brand eventually died.”

    It gets worse than that. Back in the late 90s, everybody associated sleek design with Chrysler, so when they saw the sleek new Oldsmobiles on the road and wanted to buy them, they went to Dodge dealerships.

    That is sad on two levels. It shows that GM is so stupid that they can’t even figure out how to put badges on cars, and shows how Daimler completely destroyed Chrysler’s brand equity and reason for being by getting rid of the Cab-forward design.

  • avatar
    yankinwaoz

    Mr. Kozak. I think you just hit upon a solution for saving Detroit.

    Detroit can sell sponsorships to panels and aspects of your car. Their cars can look like they came off of NASCAR track.

    Hollywood does it. They collect big bucks for product placement in films. City buses and subways do it, both inside and out.

    Think about it. You honk your horn, and you first get the audio message “This honk sponsored by Aflac auto insurance…. HONK”.

    Drive too fast, and the audio message “Your extreme excessive speed brought to you by Mountain Doo.” comes up.

    A headache medicine can sponsor the spare tire doughnut.

    You get the idea…

  • avatar
    Greg Locock

    But… I’ve never worked on the external bling side of things, but surely it would not take more than six months to get decals and badges into production? The cars are cliniced right through their development, if the people in the clinics didn’t like the badges wouldn’t they mention it?

    In other words I suspect the article’s author is assuming that his dislike of big decals is a general taste, I’m guessing that car buyers are like most people these days, and are used to having company names on their clothes, luggage watches, and so on and so forth, up to and including tattoos.

  • avatar
    confused1096

    Hankscorpio:
    At one point in my life, I declined to buy a car from a dealer because they would not remove some sticker that I thought was tacky. Several years removed from the incident I cannot remember if it was a factory sticker (something like the Z-71 4×4 sticker on a Silverado) or some tacky dealer added pinstripes.

    Either way, I didn’t want that crap on my car and walked because they balked.

    Thank you. I did the same thing at a dealership years ago when they would not remove thier logo from the truck I was going to purchase. It didn’t even match the truck’s paint job. It blew my mind that they were willing to lose a sale over a freakin’ sticker.

  • avatar
    FromBrazil

    No! This is not bling. Go talk to some design specialist but this comes from the Jap cars of yore. In the past, because nobody knew what kind of car it was, the Jap cars felts they needed to make their presence known by putting on extra large badges in the front and rear of their cars. End of story! And, PLEASE, investigate a little before putting something like this up. Afterall many will believe in your guesswork.

    Just remember the real lux brands (something, Mercedea, BMW and Audis never were)never needed this. That small rectagular badge on a Ferrari’s hood is there ’cause a Ferrari doesn’t need to scream to the world what it is. The world knows.

    Unfortunately, firstly the Germans, (VW and MB) thought they needed to copy. The Americans are late to this tasteless game.

  • avatar
    michaelC

    @TexasAg03 :
    We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!

    I love Blazing Saddles – great movie.

    I agree (re: Blazing Saddles). However, for the record: That scene in Blazing Saddles was a reference to “Treasure of the Sierra Madre” (1948) when Humphrey Bogart says to a band of thieves claiming to be government police: ‘If you are Federales, where are your badges?’

  • avatar
    nino

    As “sophisticated” marques in general, I think it’s worth noting that you pretty much never see a Porsche, Ferrari, Lotus, Maserati, Aston Martin, etc., screaming out its name to the world through badging. The cars pretty much say everything that needs to be said without the chrome verbiage.

    That small rectagular badge on a Ferrari’s hood is there ’cause a Ferrari doesn’t need to scream to the world what it is. The world knows.

    Apparently not.

    The Ferrari fender shields are a $3,000 option, but hell if you can find one without them.

    And note the badging on the rear of a new Ferrari.

    Also with regard to Ferraris, check out the optional carbon fiber “bon-bons” available all over the car.

  • avatar
    npbheights

    I was behind a 2001 or so Lexus ES300 that had absolutely no Lexus badges or emblems on it.

    I thought to my self “that looks so much like a Camry without the Lexus badges”

  • avatar
    fincar1

    Of course if there is trim announcing the car name and model name these will be in different fonts.

    Also, you can make a sport model of any damn thing simply by printing the word SPORT on the sides. Although I must say I have not yet seen a Kenworth or John Deere done that way.

  • avatar
    DweezilSFV

    My Dad’s 78 Subaru DL had the words “Front Wheel Drive” on the trunk in fancy script. And a large Subaru “star” badge in the front grille IIRC.

    Nothing tackier than what was done with the mid cycle refresh of the last Gen Sentra. Even though the whole design looked like a 1 Gen. Tempo it was better left alone than adding that stupid square in in the middle of the grille with the Nissan badge in the ceneter of it. Very ham handed and contrived.

  • avatar
    fallout11

    JG, Ford used to stamp the huge “FORD” logo (with 8″ high letters) right into the tailgate of their trucks. Same with Dodge and Chevrolet, only with smaller letters (as there are more of ’em). Remember the horrible GM badging on the INSIDE of the car, right on the dash? Plus on the grill, on both front fenders, and sprawled across the trunk?
    Badging has simply come full circle, i.e. it’s back and in our faces again.

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    KixStart – I walk by several of the GM SUV hybrids every day. They are on display outside a local theatre. I’m still floored at the thought process that said “the more hybrid badges, the better.”
    Off of the top of my head, besides the wretched Hybrid sticker on the doors, there more…
    Sticker on the top of the windshield
    The “X” logo on each fender flare.
    Hvbrid…oops…Hybrid badges on each side…and why does Hybrid look like Hvbrid on them?
    Badge on the tailgate
    …and I think some are on the inside.
    Am I missing any?
    Really GM…it went from semi-tasteful since I like the angular design of these new models better than the melted look of the last one to making it look like some kid’s clapped-out and “modified” 1994 Civic covered in faded logo stickers.
    On the other hand, I remember when the Lexus LS-series was badged with the plain Lexus logo. I recall many of the older ones never had the model badge.

    I still think one of the worst by GM, besides the above, was the “ABS” badge on many of their cars. It wasn’t as bad as, say, naming a model the ETC, but it’s close! So many GM minivans looked like they were named the Pontiac ABS.

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    fallout…I forgot about that one!
    Of course the words “SUPER DUTY” carved into cheap looking black plastic on their monster truck is just as awful!

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