Monday, August 8, 2011

Beautiful Auto Sculptures: The Hood Ornaments

The other night I was watching "Antique Road Show." The show featured a collection of car hood ornaments. Some were really beautiful sculptures made by famous artists such as crystal ones designed by Rene Lalique.

There was a time in manufacturing when something so utilitarian as a hood ornament (They were originally thermometers to track radiator temperatures.)was embellished as part of the culture of beauty.

Here are a few designs from the cars of 1920-30s art deco era with animals and figures of Greek gods and goddesses:

In the 1940-50s, interest was in aviation as shown in these images:

Today, there are still a few luxury cars with hood ornaments, but most cars display only the logo of the manufacturer. Should you decide to have a special hood ornament designed for your car, there is one surviving design company - Louis Lejeune Ltd, England, established 1910.

I imagine it would cost more to make a custom hood ornament than most of today's cars are worth. You could look at it as an investment in the future. After all, some day that ornament may show up on a collectible show and astonish your heirs with its value. While you're thinking that prospect over, here are a few other beautiful hood ornaments:


  1. It really marks a time gone by when art and industry were still working to create a beautiful product - not just utility. Jake

  2. Gorgeous! My favorite hood ornament, though, pre-dates cars. The Nike of Samothrace from a ship's prow, now in the Louvre. Most of these art deco pieces have the same sense of movement. Just gorgeous! Thanks. Leslie

  3. Wow, these are really wonderful and remind me of a hood ornament of a horse ("old faithful") that my Dad used to keep on the hood of his pick-up truck in the 60's ... not too fancy (he installed it himself!) ... but it made us kids marvel at the care and craftmanship and pride in having an work of art to look at as yr driving down the road.

  4. Wonderful stories! Thank you. R.

  5. I watched the tv show also and remembered a Pontiac auto my dad had with a beautiful sculpture of Chief Pontiac.......loved it. Connie

  6. I have The lady hood ornament it is signed, Petty with serial numbers on lady and base. I would like to know what it is worth. In Excellent condition