On all sails - the history of LADA logo
The "rook" appeared on LADA logo almost accedently. During the start of 2101 (you call it LADA 1200) manufacturing everybody forgot that the car should have a logo. It became a huge problem when the first radiator grills arrived from Torino - there was an emtpy place for badge. Of course - Italians could not install FIAT logo there.
Fast solution was required. The first idea was, how Chuck Panalnhiuk says, "not the most suitable but the first what comes to mind". Russian designer V. Antipin copied the sizes and design of FIAT badge and even font, but now there were 3 letters instead of 4.
Here you can see the sketch of first official LADA logo.
The rook is designed like "B" (pronounced "V" in Russian) letter which means "BA3"/VAZ - Волжский Автомобильный Завод/Volga Automotive Factory.
The first LADA badges were produced in Torino using Soviet sketches.
Nobody knows who and why added "ТОЛЬЯТТИ" letters under the rook but they were printed in the first party of badges.
But even a bigger confuse happened. For some reason Italians printed English "R" instead of Russian "Я". So the early 2101 had a false "ТОЛЬRТТИ" badge. Only 30 was made and I never seen such anywhere except museum.
R was turned to Я and this design was used until 1971.
If you see such badge for sale - 95% it is a modern replica. The difference is that replica looks too new. Later, according to heraldic laws, the name of the city Togliatti was removed.
Technologically the first versions of the VAZ logo was a fairly complex product consisting of several parts. It is believed that the "canonical" emblem of Lada contains a relief chrome rook, chrome edging, as well as the background, covered with the ruby lacquer, through which the translucent body wave, creating the effect of floating in the water of the ancient Slavonic rook. Such emblems were installed on the model from the "first" to the "third", and they remained on the first "six", although the sign on the VAZ-2106 had become, as we already know, rectangular.