Classic Advertising: A Selection Of Dealership Badges

Last month Jim wrote about car badges. This led to some discussion about the quite obscure subject of car dealership badges.

On new cars in 2019 I see many forms of advertising from selling dealers including: small decals or cheap plastic badges for the deck lid; strip decals for the backlite; plastic license plate frames; plastic license plate ads attached to the front of cars in states where two plates are not required. They are all tacky and I don’t want them on my car. But that’s another story.  

Back in the 1970s and earlier, car dealers marked their sold cars with small die cast metal badges screwed onto the deck lid or tailgate. 

Some supplier created these for the dealer and must have had both a design department and the ability to do specialty casting for the desired badge. 

Some of the badges could be considered creative – see the VW one here. 

Ed Carroll is the only one of these still in business under the same name, and now has a combination VW, Audi, and Porsche dealership all in one spot in the middle of Fort Collins, CO.

They were common but now they are purely historic; it seems unlikely that a current dealer would go to the trouble or expense of creating something like this.  

These old badges can easily be found in junkyards and at car flea markets. 

Burt sold Chevrolets in the Denver area and expanded into Toyotas and Subarus, eventually becoming the largest Hispanic-owned business in the country after a young employee started buying into the business and over time taking full ownership under the Burt name before himself selling a few years ago.  Burt Subaru was the largest Subaru dealer in the nation for 19 years, the Toyota operation was the largest of its kind in Denver, and the original Chevrolet store was the largest of its kind in the Rocky Mountain area for many years. 

The ones I’m illustrating were gathered on periodic trips to one or the other. I find them attractive and evocative of a different time of local, family owned car dealerships that is now just a memory. 

Olsen was originated by Stan Olsen. He started with a Ford dealership in Walnut, Iowa. In 1958 he opened an Omaha Pontiac store and became, with his radio ad jingle, “Stan, Stan the Pontiac Man”. Then came Volkswagen and eventually Olsen sold many brands of imported cars. 

I used one of those I’m showing to lend just a bit of authenticity to an old car I had. Walton Motor Company was the local Ford dealer at the time the car was new. My LTD had no badge when I bought it but I added this. The car is gone; the badge is on my garage wall. 

What dealership badges do you have? Any story behind the badge or dealership? Add a photo of your favorites. 

A legend regarding which dealer sold what and where follows this last picture… 


Photo 1: Capital in Denver, CO sold Chevrolet 

Photo 2: Ronald Rice in Abilene, KS also sold Chevrolet

Photo 3: Purdy Ford, Fort Lupton, CO

Photo 4: Bill Dreiling Buick, Denver, CO

Photo 5: Ed Carroll VW, Fort Collins, CO

Photo 6: Empire Oldsmobile, Denver, CO

Photo 7: Burt Chevrolet, Englewood (Denver), CO

Photo 8: Olsen Pontiac, Omaha, NE

Photo 9: Walton Motor Company in Cheyenne, WY sold Ford

Photo 10: Yerbic in Greeley, CO sold AMC

Photo 11: Fuller in Ogallala, NE sold Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Cadillac and GMC

Photo 12: Kizzier Chevrolet, Scottsbluff, NE