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SEVEN of our Favorite Hood Ornaments

And one from the Bikernet Collection

Mostly from the Hagerty Insurance Media Team, by Brandan Gillogly, with photographs by Matt Tierney

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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.

photo by Cameron Neveu
photo by Cameron Neveu

Stutz Hood Ornament

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?

Willy's Knight Hood Ornament

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.

Duesenberg Frederick Bazin Pegasus Hood ornament

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 Hood Ornament

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 Chief Hood Ornament

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 these for 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 with us and tell us why it’s the ultimate front-end eye candy.

--Brandan Gillogly

Photo by Markus Cuff
Photo by Markus Cuff

At Bikernet, we like hood girls and have fun with them whenever possible. Here’s a classic, that makes me smile even on a hot day crossing a desert on the Mudflap FXR.--Bandit 

Join the Cantina, Quick! Touch her.
Join the Cantina, Quick! Touch her.

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Port Hudson , LA
Tuesday, December 29, 2020
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