Friday, March 25, 2016

An Intriguing Story of a Stork

The stork has been a symbol of beauty in flight as these birds can fly for great distances with only a few flaps of their wings.  To watch a stork in flight is to witness sheer beauty and grace, giving us an art form in the air.  What does the stork have to do with the automotive world; how about a little history?

Prior to World War I the Hispano-Suiza company made Spanish vehicles and was well-known as an automotive and engineering firm that was commissioned to begin making plane engines during the war.  The Hispano 8A V8 was an engine that gained massive popularity and was one that was cast from a single block of aluminum.  These engines were put in the SPAD S.VII which was a fighter plane which was used by many countries including the Escadrille 3 Les Cigognes (The Storks) which was a squad of talented pilots led by their ace George Guynemere.

This nickname was first earned by the squad because the French citizens regarded the skill and form of the flying by this squad as being similar to a stork.  This name stuck and was adopted by the squadron and when the French Air Force chose to merge the squadron with other squadrons to form the Groupe de Combat 12 all of the squadron adopted the stork emblem in honor of the success of this squadron.

While all three squadrons had a stork on their planes, they had to be discernable from each other and each one had the wings in a different position.  One had wings up, another has the wings spread and Escadrille 3 had the wings turned downward.  In a tribute to the success of the ace, Guynemere, and the success of the engine and the engineering success that it had been, Hispano-Suiza adopted this symbol, the stork with the wings downward, as its official hood ornament.  French sculptor Frederick Bazin designed the ornament and gave us an elegant look at what had been painted on the sides of the planes of Escadrille 3.

So far we can understand how the Spanish automaker adopted the stork emblem, but what about the other company that used the stork?  The design of the Bucciali TAV 8-32 also depicted a stork on the side of the vehicle, even if it wasn’t nearly as ornate as the hood ornament design, but where did this stork symbol come from for the vehicles made by Bucciali?

As it turns out one of the members of Escadrille 26 which was one of the squadrons which was collapsed when put together into Groupe de Combat.  He also decided to use the stork hood ornament when he made his own cars, but his stork was not nearly as striking and showed the wings spread out even with the body of the stork, which may have been the symbol of his squadron.

Unfortunately you can’t find cars from either Hispano-Suiza or  Bucciali today unless they are kept in a car museum setting or in a barn as a long forgotten item.  As for the Groupe de Combat it is now known as the EC 1 / 2, and still uses the stork as their insignia on the bombers and jets they now have in their command, carrying on this nearly century old tradition.

via Soshable

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