The Rolls Royce has it. The Jaguar has it. The Mercedes has it. Or wait…it doesn’t…Maybe it does!
The emblem on the hood has been as big a signature statement as the cars themselves. It all started with the motometers designed to measure engine temperatures until someone decided it’s better to have that information on the dash. A wise move indeed.
The face of the car was thus open to some jewellery.I don’t even want to get started on the sort of embellishment that some custom designs have on their hood. From bull horns to aero fins, let’s just say the hood has seen it all! It wasn’t until the 60’s that a few safety regulations were established with regards to how much can the mascots on the car’s exteriors protrude outwards from the whole body, that there was some winding down on the enthusiasm of a few designers.
One curious case of the Mercedes logo sliding down into the grill over their recent car launches has led me to wonder about what this could supposedly signal. Then there are a few models which still have the tri star at the apex and my confusion only grow! Is the company in some sort of a transition or do they really have some intent behind this?
Let’s look at the apparent symbolism behind these two configurations. The protruding tri star has an air of individuality, like that of a flag standing tall. It’s like the conductor to an orchestra. That’s where the music begins! It’s even designed such that in the event of a crash it would lay flat with the bonnet.
The more recent launches have this logo integrated into the grill. The appearance is that of a sporty, more aerodynamic body. It doesn’t stand out, but blends into the whole design.
Does this indicate towards a design trend within Mercedes? Gorden Wagener, Mercedes’ chief designer at Mercedes since 2008 has a different take on the matters. He calls his design approach “sensual clarity” and clarity is what we need! In a recent interview he revealed that the decision to come up with an integrated grill design is to project a sportier outlook of the luxurious Mercedes brand and also because the marketing likes it! While he wants the Mercedes to gravitate towards purism in its design, the general audience (which is us) is left to wonder if the designer’s intents are percolating down to the end user.
For now it would seem that the classic grill with the upright ornament is aimed at the luxury segment and the integrated grill design is aimed at a more approachable, yet sporty Mercedes. Maybe the company is indeed in a state of transition, in figuring out its path to the future. Until it does, well, we’ll just continue to enjoy the view!