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The Story of the Porsche 356 and the Pegasus Flying Horse

The history of the Mobil Oil Pegasus logo on many Porsche 356 fenders is a murky history, but one that Porsche 356 owners have embraced. You also occasionally see an early Porsche 911 or two with the flying Pegasus logo too, but it is really a Porsche 356 icon.

Mobil Oil Pegasus Decal on Porsche 356
Porsche 356 with a Mobil Oil Pegasus Graphic at Luftgekühlt 6

What seems to be the first recorded image of a Pegasus logo on a Porsche 356 fender is this photo of James Dean’s 356. It appears that Pegasus Oil, the precursor to Mobil Oil sponsored his road racing activities. At the time James Dean was the celebrity representing freedom and rebelliousness, and the ultimate cool. A Porsche 356 in the ‘50’s was the car to represent these same characteristics.

Mobil Oil Pegasus logo on Porsche 356
Early Porsche 356 Road Racer James Dean with Pegasus Sponsor Logo

Vacuum Oil in South Africa first used the flying red horse image of Pegasus in 1911. The Pegasus trademark representing speed and power came to the United States when Vacuum Oil merged with Socony in 1931 to expand the product lineup to include Pegasus Spirits and Mobilgas; later simplified to Mobil. In 1955 the name of the company changed to Socony Mobil Oil. In 1966 it became just Mobil Oil.

The Pegasus flying horse logo is a prime example of the power of auto racing sponsorship. From this first image of James Dean’s Porsche 356 with a Pegasus Mobil Oil logo on the fender the logo continues 65 years later building the brands of Mobil and Porsche today as the logo is seen on so many Porsches.

Pegasus Decal Placement on Porsche
Placement Instructions Pegasus on Porsche 356

Proper placement of the logo is always a question that is best answered by this decal sheet from a non-defunct supplier. It states that the nose of the Pegsus should be parallel to the ground. A Porsche friend who used to work with Mobil confirmed to me that this is the proper placement and brand guideline for this logo.

Many collectors value Mobil gas signs with the red Pegasus flying horse. Instead I collect photos of the Pegasus logo on the fender of the Porsche 356.

Tags: Pegasus, Mobil Oil Pegasus, Red Flying Horse logo

Mobil Oil Pegasus Flying Horse on Porsche 356
Pegasus Logo as a Graphic on Porsche 356 | Luftgekühlt 6

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