From their plain beginnings as manufacturer’s badges installed on car radiators, hood ornaments evolved into an art form all their own. Early automobile badges were often made from enameled metal decorated with a company's name and logo, like the intricate butterfly symbol that branded Invicta automobiles in the 1920s ands '30s. Three-dimensional hood ornaments, or mascots as they are also called, were created as a combination of these official insignia and the home-made talismans car owners frequently attached to their radiators. A mixture of brand identifier and good-luck charm, hood ornaments quickly became standard decoration on automobiles during much of the 20th century.

A few early hood-ornament designs had functional properties, like the popular Calometer temperature gauge from the 1920s, which featured a glass-enclosed radiator thermometer mounted between a pair of outstretched wings. However, as car designs matured, most radiator mascots were created simply as emblems of speed and power, like the sleek jet-plane symbol used on Ford cars in the 1950s and '60s. Others explicitly integrated the manufacturer’s logo or brand, like the Austin of England ornaments from the 1940s, whose windswept lines formed the letters “A” and “E.”

Countless statuettes were modeled after animals, like the Packard swan, the Mac Truck bulldog, the Dodge ram’s head, or the Ford greyhound. Many other hood ornaments were created to represent ancient civilizations or mythological characters, like Armstrong Siddeley’s sphinx, Pontiac’s Native American bust, and Cadillac’s winged goddess.

While there have been many variations of the flying woman mascot, Rolls Royce’s “Spirit of Ecstasy,” is perhaps the most celebrated. Also nicknamed “Nelly in her Nighty,” the Rolls Royce ornament was designed from an original radiator cap statuette sculpted for Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, modeled after his mistress Eleanor Velasco Thornton. Rolls Royce’s hood ornaments were actually silver plated through 1914, but their frequent theft caused the company to switch to stainless steel.

During the 1920s, the illustrious glass studio Lalique introduced a series of beautifully sculptured radiator covers featuring classical deities and animal figures. These ornaments, which could be used to customize any standard car, ranged from “The Archer,” a flat disc engraved with a nude Grecian bow-hunter, to a stylized row of leaping glass horses. One of Lalique’s most popular designs, “The Dragonfly,” included a lighted, multicolored mechanism beneath its base, which revolved as the car moved to cast various shades of light up through the clear glass statue. By 1932, Lalique was offering 46 different radiator cap designs in its annual catalog, and the company’s eagle emblem had been adopted for use on cars belonging to Adolph Hitler’s Third Reich political party.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Hemmings Auto Blogs

Hemmings Auto Blogs

This great (and frequently updated) blog from the folks at Hemmings Motor News is a visual feast of old and new pho… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Most watched eBay auctions    

Flying Quail Radiator Cap Topper Motometer Mascot Accessory Scta Hood OrnamentVintage 1928 Studebaker Atalanta/chevy Figural Hood Ornament Radiator Cap Nr YqzVintage Hood Ornament 1925 Packard Goddess Of Speed Rare Mascot Original AmericaVintage Winged Hood Ornament Harley Indian Chrysler Knucklehead Panhead Rat RodVintage 1930s Original Cadillac Ultra Rare Flying Speed Goddess Hood Ornament!!Vintage "flying Lady" Chrome Rolls Royce Hood OrnamentVintage Hood Ornament 1929 Chevrolet Figural Aviator Rare Mascot Orig. Rad CapVintage Hood Ornament1935 Studebaker Flying Lark" Ultra Rare" Mascot Art Dec EraVintage 1949 Ford Deluxe Car Hood Ornament Victoria Accessory Oem Fomoco Clean1933 Oldsmobile Hood Ornament/mascott1950 ‘s Vintage Accessory Hood Ornament Illuminated Winged LadyOriginal Vintage Hood Ornament Radiator Cap Bird Art Deco Peacock Car Accessory Vintage Original 1955 Cadillac Hood Ornament Series 62, Deville, FleetwoodVintage Hood OrnamentVintage 1930s Eagle Car Radiator Cap Mascot-old Pre-war Brass Bird Hood OrnamentVintage 1929 Reo Hood Ornament Radiator Cap, Flying Cloud Mercury 1926 1927 Vintage Car Mascot/hood Ornament Sphinx/armstrong Siddeley PaintedVintage Hood Ornament 1952 Nash Flying Goddess *americana History Rare Art Nice"Vintage 1931 - 32 Pierce Arrow Hood Ornament Beautiful Condition / Dc Fine Arts1930's-1940's Packard Hood Ornament/mascottAntique Goddess Hood Ornament With Lucite Fin Vintage Car Part Emblem TrimVintage Hood Ornament1964 Mercury Parklane Marauder Hood Ornament Emblem Nos! Oem Fomoco Rare!!!Vintage Dodge Ram Head Hood Ornament Mack Truck Bull Dog Hood Ornament. Lot Of 2.Vintage Cadillac Flying Lady Goddess Car Hood Ornament Chrome Metal #7542Vintage Old Original Mack Truck Bulldog Hood Ornament Semi Truck Chrome DogVintage Car Pontiac Hood Ornament / Grill Emblem1953 Oldsmobile Rocket Hood Ornament Oem 564578 Blc UsaVintage 1953 1954 Packard Hood Ornament Chrome Original Swan Trim MoldingRare Original Vintage Hood Ornament Radiator Cap Bird Stork Car Truck Accessory Vintage Restored Kenworth Crooked Kw Slanted Nose Hood Grill Emblem Ornament Antique Hood Ornament 1920"s Red Indian Chief Signedmascot Rare & True AmericanaVintage Hood Ornament 1951 Desoto" Hernando Knight" Ultra Rare" Mascot Art DecoOld Galion Roller Indian Chief Cast Iron Hood Ornament Mount Beautiful Lalique Crystal Made In France Ram Figurine Hood Ornament PaperweightVintage 1930-1932 Cadillac Flying Goddess Hood OrnamentVintage 1930's Dodge Ram Hood Ornament Staketruck Chrome Metal Rare Hard To FindVintage Airplane Plane Table Lighter World War 2 Era Wwii Chrome Hood Ornament1955 Oem Pontiac Chieftain Hood Ornament Indian Hot Rod Rat Rod 1977-79 Lincoln Mark V Hood Ornament Nos D7ly-16850-a New Old Stock1930's Packard Art Deco Automobile Hood Ornament - Gooddess Of SpeedVintage Lw Lee Superman Bicycle Or Car Fender Accessory Hood Ornament MascotWillys Jeep - Station Wagon - 3 Wing Hood Ornament - Pitted, Missing Mount Stud1933 Chevy Hood Ornament1955 1956 1957 Gmc Truck Hood Emblem Trim Molding Pickup Ornament GrilleMack Trucks Bulldog 4 1/2 Inch Hood Ornament Or Paper Weight1952-1954 Oem Chrysler Dodge Ram Hood Ornament Emblem. Beautiful Original ChromeVintage Large Lighted Hood Ornament Packard Hudson Pontiac1932 1933 1934 Dodge Ram Hood Ornament Radiator Cap Norlipp 221 (not Original)1974 1975 1976 1978 Chevrolet Truck Hood Ornament Nos1946 Chevrolet Nors Hood Emblem Hood Ornament Fleetline Fleetmaster Stylemaster1954 Ford Deluxe Hood Ornament Rare Winged Falcon Flying Vintage 1950's ChromeVintage Hood Ornament 1910"s Flying Bird Goddess" Rare Signed " Mascot Art Deco1955 Packard Clipper Hood Ornament - All Original And Nice (see Pictures)1954 Pontiac Chrome Hood Ornament Original Chief 1984 1985 1986 1987 Buick Regal Hood Ornament Nos Gm 25517267Dodge Hood Ornament Ram Patina Oem1975 Lincoln Continental Mark Iv 4 Hood Ornament Hood EmblemChauffeur Boy Car Mascot Hood Ornament Radiator Cap Mascotte