The Saab Griffin is an iconic piece of Saab history—but what are its origins?

The Saab Griffin logo has a rich history and one that is largely unknown. Here, we demystify the history of the Saab logo and its origins and provide a look into why the Griffin changed and how it began.

An Evolution 

In the year 1937, the Saab name was registered in Sweden, and their original logo was a small brass circle affixed to aircrafts with “SAAB” etched on it. This simplistic design speaks to just how old the Saab brand is.

Fast forward to 1947 when Saab Automobiles were created. Their first logo was created for the Swedish brand—a tiny silver and red badge that was reminiscent of their European background.

Then, from 1949 to 1962, Saab changed its logo to reveal the word SAAB in block lettering in light blue and a dark blue background and light blue frame.

Years later in 1965, Saab re-registered its name as SAAB Aktiebolaget and created a new logo— silver SAAB lettering with a silver aircraft below it. This logo was used until 1969 when Saab became SAAB-Scania due to their merge with Scania-Vabis, a large Swedish automotive manufacturer. And from 1969 until 1974, that same logo was used with the addition of a navy blue background.

In the in-between years of 1974 until 1984, Saab used thick, black box letters and finally, in 1984, SAAB-Scania created a new logo including the iconic red Griffin. This logo was similar to the Saab logo we all know and love, with a navy blue circle and yellow crown on the Griffin’s head.

Years had passed, and in 1990 part of the company was sold to General Motors. In the year 2000, a new Saab Automobile logo was introduced, now using the Griffin and without the Scania name. This is the Saab logo most people link to the Saab brand.

Now, the Saab Griffin is no longer a part of the Saab logo. The letters are thick, silver and simplistic, with just the word “SAAB” included in the logo.

Where did it come from?

Even though we associate the red Griffin with the Saab brand, it’s actually a piece of Scania history. Since the beginning of the 20th century, Scania used the Griffin in their branding, so when the company bought part of Saab, they carried the logo over to use. But the Griffin’s history didn’t start with Scania.

The Griffin is based on a mythological creature that had the head and wings of an eagle and the body and tail of a lion. The lion, considered the King of Beasts and the eagle, the King of Birds come together to create a majestic king of all creatures known for guarding treasure and priceless possessions so it’s no surprise that the Griffin was chosen to be the emblem of a brand that many consider their personal treasure.

Surprisingly, that’s not the reason why the Griffin was chosen to represent either brand. The creature, all the way down to the red and gold colors, is the official coat of arms of the Count von Skane, otherwise known as the Swedish county where the company was originally created.

Bottom Line

The Griffin is a rich part of Saab and automobile history. How are you keeping the Saab Griffin tradition alive and what memorabilia or items do you own that have the Griffin on them? Share in the comments.