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Trident is one of the universal symbols that have been used in various cultures and civilizations. In spite of this, only a few carmakers have used it in their logos. You will hardly find more than five examples of trident car logos. To make matters worse, most of them can be called “a trident” only with a stretch.
Why does such a popular symbol appear on the car logo so rarely? Let us explore its meaning – this can suggest one answer.
Why is Trident the rarest symbol for car logos? We all know the Maserati emblem and its iconic Trident. But can barely remember any other automaker with the same element in the badge. Trident is mostly associated with water and its energy, and for a long time was considered to be a representation of evil for many religions, thus not all brands can use it with the same chic as Maserati does.
Meaning of the trident
In classical mythology, the trident was the weapon of the God of the Sea: Poseidon (Greek mythology) or Neptune (Roman mythology). Additionally, Greeks used trident as a symbol of other mythological sea creatures (Tritons and other mermen). Roman gladiators used it in battles.
In Christian culture, it has had different meanings at different periods.
Early Christians used a depiction of an anchor or trident as a substitute for the Cross (Christianity used to be a persecuted religion, and this was one of the ways to misguide their persecutors). Sometimes, they depicted a dolphin (symbol of Christ) twisted around the anchor or trident. Also, the trident is believed to be the sign of the Trinity for the Jew conversions.
Later, the trident adopted evil associations in Christianity. The devil, especially the medieval devil, was a combination of elements from different pagan gods. The trident he often used is supposed to have been borrowed from Poseidon.
Also, the trident suggests the multiple possibilities and multiplied force (in comparison with a weapon with a single edge).
Some sources emphasize that the trident has been a symbol of a Patriarch figure. For instance, Lord Shiva (Hinduism) used a trident (Trishula) as his major weapon. Trishula was also a symbol of abundance and the way to fight all fears. Poseidon’s trident can also be mentioned here as Poseidon/Neptune was a male deity.
Which of the meanings described above can work well for a carmaker’s logo? The “sea” or “weapon” do not offer any benefits. The fact that the trident could be seen at the hands of the evilest entity only makes matters worse – it hardly leaves any reason to use a trident car logo at all!
And yet, we can adduce several examples.
The badge was inspired by the Fountain of Neptune in Bologna’s Piazza Maggiore. The design was created by Mario, one of the Maserati brothers. The idea was suggested by family friend Marquis Diego de Sterlich. The company cites two reasons. First, the trident symbolized Maserati’s original home city. Also, as the weapon of Neptune, it symbolized strength.
The left and right edges are probably too short for a real trident but it is probably the closest shape to the trident in the world of modern car logos (after Maserati). The logo was developed by RO-Studio, a New Jersey-based design firm.
According to Elon Musk, the design represents the cross-section of an electric motor. Quite a few people suppose it looks like the uterus, though.
Technically, it is also not exactly a trident car logo. While the right and the left edges at least have an acute angle, the central element is rounded. And yet, the overall shape of the logo is somewhat similar to the trident. Interestingly, W Motors is an Arab-Lebanese hypercar company, so the owners of the company were probably not familiar with the “devil” symbolism of the trident (or it did not matter to them).
Brilliance Auto Group
Brilliance is a Chinese automobile manufacturer headquartered in Shenyang (one of the reasons why the diabolic connotations were overlooked).
Also, to call this shape a trident would be a stretch – it looks like a combination of a trident with a lyra.