The Two Most Iconic Logos in Auto Racing Part 1

Mopar_logo.svgBy David G. Firestone

Anyone who says that auto racing “doesn’t really matter” has obviously never driven a car, or ridden in one. Technology developed for auto racing is so ingrained in car design in this day in age, that it is impossible to find a car company that doesn’t have a motorsports program. Companies will use racing as an extended R&D, testing part designs that will be implemented in real cars, albeit under much more strenuous conditions. Each car company will make parts in house, trying to keep prying eyes away from their designs, trying to get an edge on the competition.

Chrysler started their in-house brand in 1933. Their logo was D, C, P and D, for Dodge Chrysler, Plymouth, and Desoto. That didn’t exactly look and sound too good, didn’t really roll off the tongue, so in 1937, Nelson L Farley was in charge of a marketing group, trying to come up with a better name. They were working on motor parts, so they took MO from motor, and PAR from parts, and combined them into MOPAR. This would begin not only the name for Chrysler’s in-house program, but the beginning of an auto racing identity.

Between 1937, and 1963, the MOPAR logos varried, changing with the times, as many logos tend to do. In 1964, MOPAR started using the Omega M logo. It seemed like just another logo change, trying to keep up with the time. Little did anyone know that the Omega M would become not only iconic, but a part of Chrysler’s racing identity for 51 years. That same year, another Chrysler icon was released, the 426 Elephant Hemispherical engine, which would come to be known as the Hemi.

Suddenly and seemingly inexplicably, the Omega M became MOPAR’s identity. The logo was simple, distinctive, and worked. As Chrysler, Plymouth, and Dodge became more heavily involved with motorsports, the MOPAR logo became their banner. It became cool. Many car logos became cool, but the MOPAR logo was in a class by itself. Very few logos have remained unchanged for 51 years. But MOPAR has stood the test of time.

One of the other iconic logos inspired one of the most well-known bands of the 1990’s, and I will discuss that next time..

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