History of the Holden emblem

The story of the Holden symbol The first Holden emblem was a life-size wooden horse which stood above the entrance of the Holden & Frost Saddlery works in Adelaide. As an emblem, the Holden Lion relates to the time when the general practice by coach builders was to have their name or trademark engraved on the door sill or on a large plate fastened to the instrument panel. In the USA, Fisher Body had a neat, embossed replica of its coach trademark attached to the lower part of the cowl.

At this time Holden’s Motor Body Builders was using a large engraved brass plate, the foreground of which was a figure representing industry with a background of factory buildings. This design was far too detailed for the embossed treatment on a small plate. A new emblem was needed. A Wembly Lion’ medallion was chosen, depicting an Egyptian lion, the symbol of the ‘ Wembly Exhibition which was held in London in 1924. (Egyptian antiquity heavily influenced fashion themes of the day from clothes and furniture to films and songs.) According to fable, the principle of the wheel was suggested to primitive man when observing a lion rolling a stone.

Several sketches were made and it was decided to go ahead with the design. George Rayner Hoff, one of Australia’s leading sculptors, was commissioned to develop the design in the solid. From a plaster model, small metal replicas were produced for nameplates. These were affixed to all bodies built from 1928 to 1939 on the lower near side of the cowl in a similar manner to Fisher. The design was also adopted as a trademark in all Holden advertising. The Holden Lion also became the emblem for the first Australian GM car, the Holden. Although updated, in 1972 and again in 1994 this symbol is still used on all Holden cars.