Back when hoods were unique automotive styling elements distinct from the fenders and grille, dressing it up with a mascot or hood ornament made a lot of sense. Originally serving as the decorative cap to the actual radiator fill – a frequent necessity in the olden days – they moved back away from the radiator openings, and with the advent of the mid-fifties shoebox designs they began celebrating that era’s jet age.
By the sixties and seventies hood ornaments had become little more than mechanisms for delineating the physical end of the car and sighting pedestrians should your inclinations lean toward the homicidal. Today, in the name of aerodynamics, even stalwarts like Mercedes Benz have cast off their upright three-pointed star for a grille opening or hood badge across their range. Pretty much only Rolls Royce and Bentley still rock an open air mascot, and that’s mostly only due to the Flying Lady and big B being such and iconic representations of the brands.
It wasn’t always that way, and well into the eighties one could buy almost any midsize or larger American car with a shield or gunsight-like chrome appendage proudly leading the way. It was both a status symbol – especially for urban youth who liked to lever them off the cars and wear their spoils like jewelry – and a handy guide for parallel parking. Do you miss those? Give us your thoughts on hood ornaments – are they Brah! or Blah? And, if you are in the pro-ornament group, which one is your favorite?