Who Made The Most Beautiful Hood Ornaments?
Once upon a time, wealthy motorists bought custom-made caps called “mascots,” twisting them onto radiators to sit proudly on top of the car’s front grille. Ever since, thousands of unique designs have been crafted, with fans of mascots paying five figures for the most desirable. On the other hand, one company made its hood ornaments from scrap metal and few customers seemed to mind.
Automobiles made by Avions Voisin resisted the hood ornament craze for years, until designers finally decided to come up with an “unpretentious” design of their own. Using sheets of aluminum that were cut into a shape worthy of the nickname La Cocotte, once bolted together formed a striking Art Deco figure.
Others, like Rene Lalique, fashioned theirs from glass that could be illuminated from below—which is definitely a striking feature I’m surprised hasn’t been replicated on an ultra-luxury car for 2016. One of the nice things about collecting hood ornaments is their usefulness even without a car to mount them on, especially if you’ve been looking for a substantial paperweight.
Simple or complex, manufacturer-designed or completely bespoke, who made the most beautiful hood ornaments?
Photography by Michael Furman & Nat Twiss