The Automobile Club of Victoria was formed in Melbourne
in December 1903 following the initiative of Harry James, manager
of Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Company, and two friends Syd Day and James Coleman. A
meeting of 55 inaugural members took place on 9th December at which the
objectives of the club were approved. By 1909 the club had become affiliated
with the Royal Automobile Club, London, as an Associate Club, and the first car
badges based on the RAC Associate design were made available to members. These
were a double sided badge bearing the inscription "The Automobile Club of
Victoria" on one side and "Royal Automobile Club Associate" on the
other. The badges were made by Stokes & Sons of Melbourne. Badge No.457
is illustrated here. "World of Car Badges" Type 1.
The double sided car badge introduced in 1909 was to continue in use until
about 1950. During this long period the central emblem depicting a car is found
in four versions. In 1916 the club was granted Royal Patronage and became
the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria and the design of car badges was altered
accordingly. The original veteran car depicted on badge No.457
remained in use for several years until the design was altered sometime around
1916 or '17. The badge below, No.2177, is an example of the first style of
"Royal" badge. In both cases the enamelled centres were flat and were made by
Stokes & Sons of Melbourne. "World of Car Badges" Type
Badge No.3038 below illustrates the second style of emblem with a
slightly altered veteran car. For the first time the legend "Property of the
RACV" appeared on the base. The enamels on this badge are flat and was made
by Angus & Coote of Sydney. By 1923 club membership had reached about
4000 and although badge numbers are not related to membership numbers, they give
some idea of the approximate dates of issue. In 1926 the club introduced a
service member category with no entrance fee and a modest annual subscription.
This resulted in a rapid increase in membership and it suggests that badge
numbers over about 8-10,000 were issued after that time.
Although the design of the central emblem
changed again in the early 1920s, the design in badge No.3038 reappeared during
the late 1920s or early '30s on some badges with a dashboard mount rather than
the usual radiator cap bolt fitting. These were made by Angus and Coote and the
emblems were convex rather than flat. Badge No.20050 is shown below.
A third version of the central emblem appeared in the late 1920s or
early 1930s depicting a veteran car without a driver. The central emblems
were convex rather than flat and the example below is badge No.15353, again by
Stokes & Sons.
The last version of the central emblem appeared in the 1930s
and depicted a much more modern vintage car. Two examples are shown, No.32067
with a conventional bold fitting (left) and No.31377 with a dashboard
fitting (right). Both these badges probably date from the mid 1930s and were
made by Stokes & Sons.
In 1950 the RACV ceased issuing the elaborate double sided enamelled badges
and introduced the lozenge shape then used by the RAC in the UK. The first
badges bore the Kings' crown and were un-numbered (Type 6a). A Queens' crown
version replaced this in about 1955 (Type 6b). Both these types were of two
piece construction, with an anodised aluminium backing plate behind a stamped,
fretted chrome front. The Queens' crown version was in turn replaced
by a solid metal version in the 1960s (Type 6c) and finally a
plastic badge was introduced about 1970 (Type 7).
Rare original packaging for a 1950s Type 6a badge. (A kind gift from Lawrie
Although not a car badge, this double sided Kings' crown 1960-61
membership award makes a fine display.
1978 the RACV celebrated 75 years and produced a small (55mm) badge to
commemorate the event. These were available to entrants in a veteran and vintage
commemorative car rally held to celebrate the 75th
For the club's 80th anniversary in 1983 a replica of the early double sided
badge was produced as a desk emblem and sold to members for $50. All badges bore
the number 4580. Two versions are shown here - the official one with the
Australian Red Ensign and an unofficial one with a Blue Ensign.
year 2003 was celebrated as the RACV's centenary and a commemorative car badge
was issued to mark the event. These badges were numbered and the one illustrated
This badge is considered by many collectors to be a car badge but
is in fact a replica of early RACV car badges, and is used for
promotional purposes. It is not and was never intended to be, a car
badge. It is designed to be attached to wooden plaques accompanied by an
engraved metal label. It is given either to individuals or car clubs in
appreciation of their support of RACV events, or provided to car clubs for them
to present to their own supporters.
Text and photographs on this page are copyright. ©
More information on the history of badges of the
Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV) may be found at www.racv.com.au/wps/wcm/connect/racv/Internet/Primary/about+RACV/RACV+history/badge/