Driving With Distinction
We look at a few of the most distinctive brands of all time.
Web2Carz Senior Writer
Published: July 5th, 2012
We rarely mistake a Benz for anything else.
o matter how things change, some brands stay the same. What we mean by that is there are some design cues—not to mention badges—that haven't changed much over time, making it easy for even non-car fans to identify a brand, regardless of how old the car is. Here's a few that strike us as iconic. We'll note that despite recent efforts for uniformity across their respective brands, we're leaving Ford, Hyundai, Chevrolet, and Buick off this list, since those efforts are mostly new and bear little resemblance to past cars from those brands. Dodge stumped us, since the crosshair grille is pretty well-known, but we decided too many other elements vary from model to model.
Mercedes-Benz: The three-pointed star remains the most obvious indicator that the car in question is a Benz, but virtually all Mercedes models (even the coupes, convertibles, and SUVs) seem to have a Teutonic gravitas. Maybe that's just marketing, but we rarely mistake a Benz for anything else.
BMW: The twin-kidney grille and spinning propeller badge are the two dead Bimmer giveaways. No matter how crazy the company gets with design, we expect them to keep those elements in some way, shape, or form.
Jaguar: The leaping cat hood ornament is basically gone, but the flowing lines remain. We still know a Jag when we see one.
Cadillac: The General's luxury brand has had some missteps along the way, but whether we're talking about the tailfins of old or the "Art and Science" designs of now, everyone knows a Caddy when they see one.
Volvo: They've gone from boxy to rounded, but we still have no problem picking the Swedish safety mobiles out of a crowd.
Saab: Saab did lose its way stylistically a little bit towards the end of the brand's life, but with such quirks as a center-console mounted ignition switch, Saab had an identity all its own.Related Vehicles: jaguar | bmw | cadillac | saab | volvo | mercedes-benz