Question of the week: Are dealer badges on your vintage vehicle a positive or a negative?


A unique piece of every vehicle’s history is where it was sold. Sometimes finding the original sales point for a car requires research, other times it’s as simple as looking at the badge on the trunk.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/02/02/dealer-badges


I think if the dealer is significant or the badge is particularly attractive, I like them. Also, if the vehicle is owned by the original owner, it’s nice to see that additional touch.

My favorite is the Ellis Brooks badge from San Francisco. A friend has one on his '62 Nova wagon.



This is my favorite. Something tells me they’re not in business anymore.


@combsdl - That is a pretty unique design. I wonder if it was three holes placed in a trunk lid for that one.


One that hits close to home!


The '64 Corvair I drove though high school has a Van-T Chevrolet badge to the left of the license plate. I always found it interesting since that dealer was located in Topeka, KS, only about an hour down the road from where I lived in Junction City.

It was odd to think that a car had over 100k miles yet had managed to stay within a few hundred of where it was sold.


Positive, they add to the character and history of the car. Kinkead-Wilson changed their name to Bluegrass Chrysler Plymouth and moved from downtown Lexington, KY out to New Circle Road. Found a 1970 Satellite Wagon in Michigan at a car show with the same badge, the owner had no idea where the car came from (a couple of Lexington’s in the U.S.) until we discussed the badging, now he knows a little more of his car’s history.


I can’t recall a dealer ever cutting me a good enough deal to warrant a lifetime of free advertising. If you have original point of sale information, by all means, hang on to it! Keep it in a file, right along with other items like the build sheet, or the original window sticker, if you’re lucky enough to have those items, but please keep the junk OFF the trunk!


Depends. An attractive patina’d cast-metal one is cool even without any special meaning to the current owner. And leaving it is like leaving a period correct accessory. Plus, you don’t have to repair holes from those old barrel clips. One whose pot-metal hasn’t aged well or disintegrating, and especially the vinyl sticker versions wouldn’t stay on a car of mine too long.


Any vehicle I have purchased came with the caveat that if any dealer stickers or license plate frames were on the car when I picked it up, I would not buy accept the car.


@flat6mitch - I have heard people talk about making this demand before, but never seen a vehicle purchased in such manner in person before. I would be curious to see the reaction of the sales staff to the request.


Oh man, that sticker is a treasure.


I don’t like dealer stickers and regularly demand they not be installed or their their removal before taking delivery. I have never gotten back talk from the dealer, after all it is my money and my car, not their advertising platform.

On the other hand, while restoring a 70’s Bultaco trials motorcycle with an original Sammy Miller “High Boy” frame, I could not resist buying and affixing this original NOS fender badge from his dealership.


I have a pot metal frame on my 92 Bmw e30 convertible that was on my 70 mgb i bought in 1971. The dealer was a bit notorious in the area and it gets comments from those familiar with his plight. He had since passed from a bout with cancer but the frame is a real throwback for a lot of folks. The E30 even has a Houston BMW import checkpoint sticker on the Dr side rear window which I think is cool being I live in upstate New York. I love vintage dealer stuff. If I had a new car though I would remove the dealer info.


To me they are a complete negative. I have, in the past told the dealer, if they put any badges or decals on the car, I would refuse delivery.
Im not in the business of free advertising.


My grandfather once refused delivery of a factory ordered Lincoln in the 50s because of the dealer tag. On his original sales contract drawn up and signed prior to the dealer ordering the car in, my grandfather had the salesman add the condition that no dealer tag was to be installed. When the dealer was showing him the freshly inspected and detailed new car my grandfather told him that this was not his car. Dealer said it was, so my grandfather pointed to the dealer tag screwed onto the back of the car and said “my car doesn’t have one of those”. He showed the dealer the sales contract where it said no tag, and the dealer said no problem, we’ll take it off. Grandfather said no, I didn’t buy a new car with holes in the back panel. Dealer said they would repair it, again grandfather refused. They ended up ordering in another car, otherwise he would have walked away. Every new car I purchase is done with that stipulation. Dealers don’t care, they understand that a thousand cars with stickers won’t generate the same impact of one pissed off customer that they chose to ignore or make a face at.


My parents forbid both bumper stickers and dealer tags. My father paid cash for his cars, and they did not try to convince him. Consequently my Edsel has no “Alexander Motors” tag on its trunk. I had never even seen any Alexander Motors advertising souvenirs. Even their yellow pages ad in the 1958-60 Trenton NJ phone book was just a line with their name and phone number.
But thanks to the internet, in 2017, someone with an Alexander Edsel, knowing that I had one, sent me an e-mail out of the blue, with a picture of his car’s Alexander tag.
Now I know they existed.
But like previous posters, had any dealer attempted to deliver a car with advertising to my family, they would not have made the sale. The photo of one is good enough for me.


I can’t see getting to torn up about an old dealer ID. Especially if that brand of car is no longer around. I collect metal dealer ID trunk badges myself and they are really part of automotive history. One longtime outfit that made the metal plates is still around now making plastic license plate frames as well as plastic trunk dealer ID’s is Douglas Mfg in Minnesota.


I agree with the thought that if the dealer badge matches the original bill of sale or Monroney label…it is part of documentation to the vehicle history. The importance is even greater for an original paint survivor example… like my 1973 Pontiac GP.


I never liked any dealer advertising on my cars (pot metal, stickers or license plate frames) so I always removed them. However, my wife bought a used 911 from Vasek Polak in spring of '99 from the old Hermosa Beach dealership location (the car was originally sold from that dealership when new in 86). It had a nice metal license plate frames but I removed them given my general distaste for those things and mounted them on the garage wall. Shortly after her purchase, I guess his estate sold the dealership and it moved a few miles south on PCH and changed its name to Pacific Porsche. Given Vasek’s Porsche history, I’ve since come around to liking that particular frame and have put them back on the car.

I think if the original dealership had interesting history with the brand (Vasek Polak, Tasca, etc), a badge of some sort lends something interesting to the car if that was where it was originally sold.