7 of our favorite hood ornaments from the ’20s and ’30s
Hood ornaments have gone by the wayside for most automakers, but the heyday of chrome and glass came in the Art Deco ’30s. Several brands offered similar themes of athletic animals, famous (literal) figureheads, or the female form. Here are just seven of our favorites, we’re sure you’ll recognize quite a few.
Rolls-Royce Spirit of Ecstasy
Perhaps one of the most famous hood ornaments, this stunning form looks ready to take on any boulevard at great speed.
Cadillac’s Flying Goddess
Rolls-Royce wasn’t alone in placing a wind-swept woman at the leading edge of its gorgeous machines. Chevrolet, DeSoto, and Nash all had variations on the theme, but we think Cadillac’s ever-changing goddess looked great through several iterations. The one at the top of the page is from one of Cadillac’s late ’30s V-16 flagships.
This late’20s and early-’30s ornament that topped the radiator cap of Stutz cars represents the Egyptian go of the sun, Ra. Seems proper for a convertible or roadster, no?
This guy would never make it with today’s passenger safety standards, considering he looks like he’s just itching to joust with a jaywalker.
This striking Art Deco Pegasus is a fitting mascot for the large, powerful Duesenbergs of the early ’30s. It’s a steed that could allow the rider brave enough to nearly take flight. Our very own ace shooter, Matt Tierney, spotted this pair of them at last year’s Arizona Auction Week.
Bugatti Dancing Elephant
Rembrandt Bugatti designed the dancing elephant mascot that was used even before the distinctive oval macaron emblem that it is paired with above. The fanciful design manages to make the world’s largest land animal seem graceful.
Pontiac called upon the memory of the war chief that led the Odawa against the British with a number of emblems and ornaments before eventually switching to an arrowhead design. The hood ornament here, from 1934, depicted his whole body, lunging forward, but the chief would later become more stylized in other Pontiacs.
Check out the slideshow below for some additional hood ornament majesty, from the same era. Bonus points if you can name them all in the comments, and if we missed your favorite, be sure to share it below and tell us why it’s the ultimate front-end eye candy.