THE STORY OF THE HOLDEN LION
The first Holden emblem was a life-sized wooden horse which stood above the entrance of the Holden and Frost saddlery and carriage works in Adelaide, South Australia.
As an emblem, the Holden Lion relates to the time when coach builders engraved their company name or trademark on the door sill, or on a plate fixed to the instrument panel.
In the early 1920s, Holden's Motor Body Builders used a large brass plate embossed with a winged figure representing industry against a background of factory buildings.
In 1926, the company decided to "downsize" the brass plate and emulate the practice of Fisher Body in the USA, which attached a neat replica of its coach trademark to the lower part of the cowl.
Because the existing emblem was too detailed to be embossed on a small plate, a new design was commissioned, to be based on the Egyptian-style "Wembley Lion" symbol of London's 1924-25 British Empire Exhibition. Fashion themes of the time, from clothes to furniture, films and songs, were influenced by Egyptian antiquity.
According to fable, the principle of the wheel was suggested to primitive man when observing a lion rolling a stone. Thus inspired, the pre-eminent Australian sculptor of the day, George Rayner Hoff, created the "lion and stone" sculpture, which was replicated in a rectangular pressed metal plate that was fixed to all bodies built by Holden's Motor Body Builders from 1928.
More than 75 years later, the evolution of the lion and stone symbol can be traced through a series of badges proudly worn by a cavalcade of cars - some recognised by early GM model enthusiasts, but most dear to the hearts of generations of Australians since the 1948 advent of the FX or 48-125 Holden. (The chrome-winged surround on the FX/FJ grille badge was Cadillac-inspired.)
The classical Egyptian lion design gave way in 1972 to a more modern interpretation of the symbol, which in turn was replaced in 1994 by the powerful Holden brand we are familiar with today.