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Question of the Week: What’s your favorite hood ornament?

#1

For decades, hood ornaments were literally at the forefront of automotive design. Cast and chromed, occasionally illuminated, they suggested grace, elegance, power, and gave vehicles a touch of character.

As styles changed, several themes have come and gone across the industry. A winged female figure was used by Cadillac, Auburn, Nash, and perhaps most famously, Rolls-Royce with its Spirit of Ecstasy.

If you’re a fan of Art Deco, then the late '30s and early '40s are chock full of great examples. Cadillac’s flying goddess transformed to a stylized and finned version by 1937, with Chevrolet following suit. Chevrolet also had wonderful train-inspired Art Deco ornaments in '40 and '41 that stand out. Pontiac’s Chief emblems also moved from more realistic depictions of the human form to faceted and geometric.

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The 1950s were big on aircraft inspiration, with Ford, Mercury, Hudson, Kaiser, Chevrolet, and Packard all getting in on the Jet Age, just to name a few. The aftermarket took note, with sci-fi-inspired creations of chrome and plastic that looked like a Buck Rogers blaster.

By the '60s, most proud hood ornaments had disappeared, along with many of the brands that sculpted them. Most of what remained evolved into much more subtle representations of the brand logo, although luxury marques keep them alive.

Does your favorite hood ornament take human form or is it a means of transportation? Is it an animal, like Mack’s famously sturdy bulldog or the angry duck from Convoy? Whether it’s a factory part or an aftermarket addition, tell us about your favorite hood ornament in the comments below.

Here are the 5 best hood ornaments, according to you
pinned globally #2
#3

It should also be stated that the hood ornament also was the radiator cap, on some older models.

Kyle

1 Like
#4

1930’s to 1950’s Pontiac Indian head ornaments were always my favorites…fell in love with them they first time I saw one…

2 Likes
#5

The Packard hood ornaments are unique. I enjoy the high end ornaments from the 1930’s and pre-war 40’s.

#6

Right on! especially The amber vs clear. Jim

#7

One word - Jaguar! Sorry but hood ornaments on brands that are dead could not have been all that great or impactful (or else they would be alive today!). The market (Oz) has spoken - Jags!

1 Like
#8

I agree! The Leaper is as iconic as any, and the beauty is in its configuration …

#9

Pre-'80s Jags are cool, but try to keep one on the road as long as a Packard. Another story. And that glass Goddess of Speed, Flying Lady, or as the guys who say 'Frisco call her, the donut chaser, is something special.GoddessOfSpeedweb

3 Likes
#10

“Spirit of Ecstasy”, closely followed by the “Goddess of Speed,” (doughnut chaser)

#11

The Packard “Goddess of Speed” as already shown is one of my favorites I have one on my '40 Packard. The decorative and functional dog bone/Motometers of the '20’s were also neat,as seen on my '25 Buick coupe.

#12

My favorite going on 60 years now is the 1933 Hudson/Essex Terraplane Griffin. It is a great way to show the power and performance these cars possessed. The Terraplane 8 was an early muscle car!

1 Like
#13

!This has to be one of the wildest hood ornaments ever.It doubles as the radio antenna on a '42 Packard

3 Likes
#14

yes and being the radiator cap the most interesting I couldn’t believe my neighbour has/ or could find, the model a radiator cap that is the temperature gauge.

#15

The Hood ornament on the earlier Rolls Royces has to be the most beautiful ever.

#16

@455webley - Whoa. That one is awesome.

#17


1933 Plymouth Flying Mermaid

1 Like
#18

The 1953 Nash chrome pin-up Flying Lady is one of the most erotic ornaments to ever grace a hood. Seems like it would have been pretty distracting as you were driving down the road, though.

1 Like
#19

I like the ones from the 30’s
None from today

#20

Strangely the cars never grabbed my eye, but the stuff you would see on Big Rigs I always thought was over the top fun stuff to see.
-ALF