Malibu Grand Prix logos
At its peak in the 1980s, the Malibu Grand Prix empire encompassed close to 50 tiny racetracks across the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Hundreds of thousands of racers racked up millions of laps at a buck-or-so a pop as we chased after ever-better times posted on the electronic timers just beyond the finish line.
Malibu Grand Prix used two main logos over the years, both of which are based on typefaces that haven’t been documented on Fonts In Use before.
The first one features a bold bottom-heavy face that’s shown in Lettergraphics’ 1976 catalog as Tuggle Swash – apparently an upright companion to their earlier Funky Swash. Shin Oka credits Hiroshi Yamashita (of Alpha fame) with the design, but doesn’t cite any sources. [Update from 7 Dec. 2021: Shin kindly provided the source of his info: in issue no. 120 of the Japanese IDEA magazine from 1973, this typeface is shown (without name) in an article about Hiroshi Yamashita, and credited as an alphabet design he made for Photo-Lettering, Inc. Arigatō! It’s not included in Photo-Lettering’s 1971 catalog and hence must have been added sometime between 1971 and 1973.] There is a digitization as OPTI Tubby (1990–1994), based on Castcraft’s 1970s copy named Tubby. The roman style of Jackpot (Canada Type, 2005) appears to be based on Tuggle, too. [Update #2 from 11 Dec. 2021: There’s also an official, high-quality digitization as Plinc Tuggle, made by Susana Carvalho for House Industries before 2011, see the comments.] “Grand Prix” is added in caps from Antique Olive Nord.
The second logo was probably introduced in the mid 1980s, after Malibu Grand Prix acquired all locations of the bankrupt Castle Park in April 1984 and renamed them to Malibu Castle Park. It’s based on an inclined face by Headliners, named Cavalier, or neo-Cavalier. The designer is unknown to me. The design appears to be related to Busride (1969) by Walter Haettenschweiler. The wordmark combines uppercase forms with lowercase ones for a, m, n. Since a 1978 Headliners catalog doesn’t show any such biform alternates, my guess is that the letterforms were partly redrawn to have the same height. There’s a digital version available as TF Cavalier from Treacyfaces, the company that acquired the Headliners library in the early 1990s.
The last remaining Malibu Grand Prix in San Antonio closed its doors on September 7, 2015.
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1 Comment on “Malibu Grand Prix logos”
Oh my, I completely missed the fact that there’s an official digitization! Susana Carvalho revived Tuggle before 2011, for the digital incarnation of Photo-Lettering by House Industries. Not only does it include the swash alternates, it also comes with decent language support and adds a second Highlight style, see below. Previously available exclusively from the (now defunct?) photolettering.com, it was recently made available for standard licensing from House Industries, too, as Plinc Tuggle. House doesn’t mention Yamashita, but credits the Photo-Lettering staff with the design. Thanks again to Shin Oka for connecting the dots.