Friday, July 22, 2011

Car Hood Ornaments Via Dark Roasted Blend

The folks over at Dark Roasted Blend continually serve up amazing content. Once we saw a few of the images they had posted vintage car hood ornaments, it just had to be reposted. So sad that cars will never again have the over the top style they once had unless they are custom. The craftsmanship alone would run their price sky high and folks would probably still complain. Instead of our mass produced fiberglass junkers made to be discarded after a few years, keep that old iron alive and ride'em.

Car mascots (or hood ornaments) used to be installed on the exposed radiator caps of cars and even when radiator caps disappeared, hood ornaments were still used. These objects were often intricate works of art and today are highly prized by collectors. In the thirties and forties, many of the ornaments depicted flying ladies.

Also in the forties, manufactures used planes as designs for ornaments, with jet planes becoming more common in the fifties. By the sixties, hood ornaments began to appear less and less on mainstream cars and eventually came to symbolize only luxury vehicles. We still see company logos on all models of cars today of course, but here’s a look at just a small selection of hood ornaments from days gone by.

(this incredible variety of hood ornaments (top row) can be seen on Chris Balm vintage motoring site)

Fabulous 1920 Sabino Glass Aerofoil Car Hood Ornament:

(images credit: Tony Wraight, via)

This face example also dates from the late 1920’s (the one on the right appears to have been inspired by the Vikings):

(images via MuscleCars, Thomas McEldowney)

Here is a car mascot (hood ornament) made in the form of a swallow, manufactured in the 1920's by "Susse Freres" (France):

(images credit: Chris Balm)

"Bonzo Dogs" were made into car hood ornaments back in the 1920s (Bonzo was a dog from popular George Studdy's cartoon series, mascots made by AE Lejeune):

(images via)

Here’s an elegant lady in gold, resembling a Greek or Roman goddess:

(image credit: Keith Lovelady; on the right is the Flying Man ornament)

While this one looks like it could almost have originated in ancient Egypt:

(image credit: Alan)

And here’s one depicting an angel:

(images credit: Keith Lovelady)

The Pierce Arrow featured this fabulous archer design in the first three decades of the twentieth century (left image). Citroen's mascot in on the right:

(originals unknown)

Rarely seen Plymouth' ship hood ornament (left). On the right is the 1920 Corning Glass Daughter:

(left image credit: Paul Malon, right image via)

This greyhound was no doubt meant to symbolize the speed and grace of the vehicle it adorned:

(top image: Brett Morrison; bottom left - 1937 Lincoln K Brunn, art by Jill Reger; right - 1928 Delage, via)

Here’s an interesting one from a Chevrolet model (right). The hood ornament on the left is from a 1967 Marlin manufactured by American Motors (AMC):

(images via 1, 2)

This jet design dates from the mid fifties:

(image via)

Here’s another rocket hood ornament from a 1936 Terraplane:

(image via)

This is the exquisite ornament from the 1931 Packard Eight:

(image via)

The golden winged woman is from a Cadillac Sixty Special Fleetwood:

(image credit: Kevin Hulsey)

Another Cadillac beauty, slightly tinged by rust:

(image credit: Paul Malon)

Flying ladies were a favorite with Packard:

(image via)

The Delahaye flying Venus design dates from 1947:

(image credit: Steve Correy, via)

This rather odd hood ornament is from a vintage Bentley (right); The official Bentley hood ornament is shown on the 1960 model (left image):

(right image credit: Sandro Menzel, left: Furlined)

This hood ornament is from a 1954 Chevrolet police car (right image). On the right is the hood ornament from the DeSoto Diplomat:

(images via 1, 2)

The Soviet auto industry also produced hood ornaments. Here’s the GAZ Volga deer emblem (left image). On the right is the aftermarket parody - a Lenin mascot on a Bentley:

(left image credit: W. Grabar)

Here is a mascot similar to the Russian Volga one, from the 1930 Chrysler Imperial Eight:

(image credit: Sandy Leidholdt)

This one is from the Packard 902 Coupe Eight from 1932 (left). On the right is another Plymouth' Winged Lady:

(images via)

This is the famous Rolls-Royce' "Spirit of Ectasy" (see the video of how it retracts):

(images via)

The theme of ladies continues with 1920s Chevrolet (left) and a Buick (right):

(left image credit: Walter Coles)

The famous Dusenberg Glass Lady can be seen here (slightly nsfw).

We have to include these incredible car hood identification posters, created by TaillightKing (we'll show only a few of them, see a bunch more here):

(images credit: TaillightKing)

We mentioned that some car hood ornaments are highly desirable collector items, commanding very high prices. This particular beautiful piece of car hood art was priced at $35,000.00 U.S dollars while on display at Blackhawk Classic Car Museum in California (more info):

(image credit: Keith Lovelady)

And finally, perhaps the most over-the-top ornament is this pinned lady from the legendary designer Luigi Colani, featured on his Horch Mega Roadster:

(image credit: Tom Vack, via)