Holden Logo Meaning and History: Of Lions, Stones and Wheels

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Holden is among the few indigenous Australian car companies. The brand later became an important part of GM in not only the local market but also in export markets. Like several other brands, the brand became part of GM through an acquisition. Nevertheless, the brand has an interesting history of its own and for the people looking for a meaning in Holden logo, there is an interesting anecdote.

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Holden Information

Founded 1856
Founder James Alexander Holden Sir Edward Holden
Logo creator Rayner Hoff
Headquarters Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Official website www.holden.com.au
Owner General Motors

Holden History and Evolution

As one can see in the table above, Holden was established in 1856 when there were no motorcars around. Accordingly, Holden didn’t make cars right from the beginning. Instead, it started as a saddle manufacturing unit by James Alexander Holden. After tasting success in early years, James saw the business going downhill and converted it into a partnership with H A Frost, named Holden & Frost.

The business was passed to James’ son H J Holden but it continued to make saddles and associated products. The move into car production happened only in 1919 when Holden’s Motor Body Builders (HMBB) was established after Edward Wheewall Holden persuaded his father to shift from saddlery business.

It was also the time when the Australian government restricted motor car imports in order to support local automotive body building industry. Edward Holden signed an agreement to import chassis from General Motors and equip the same with locally produced bodies. It was a blessing and the business did very well in the coming years.

In 1931, Holden officially became part of General Motors following the acquisition of HMBB which was subsequently merged with General Motors (Australia) Limited.  

Holden Logo Meaning: Lion and Stone

Holden’s modern logo depicts a lion holding a stone and this started appearing on vehicles in 1928. Prior to this, Holden vehicles wore a badge which paid homage to its factory and also featured a mystical person with wings and a sledgehammer.

Holden's Motor Body Builders Logo
By sv1ambo – [:File:1928 Chevrolet National tourer (8701042412).jpg], CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=60437563

The modern Holden logo was designed by sculptor Rayner Hoff and refers to a fable in which observations of lions rolling stones led to the invention of the wheel. While the symbol created by Hoff had few details apart from the lion and stone, it provided the much-needed visual identity to Holden vehicles. Also, this interpretation and meaning of Holden logo may be incongruous with our knowledge but then, the automotive world is filled with such interesting tid-bids!

Holden Emblem 1928

Since then, Holden emblem has undergone many changes to keep the symbol contemporary but the company has taken care to not deviate from the lion and stone analogy.

Holden Text Logo

Unfortunately, this storied brand came to an end in 2020 as sales of its best-seller Commodore car kept coming down amid strong Australian dollar and dwindling government support.

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