“Hood ornaments. They were just lovely, and they gave a sense of respect. And they took ’em away because if you can save one human life- that’s always the argument- it’s worth it, if you can save one human life. Actually, I’d be willing to trade maybe a dozen human lives for a nice hood ornament. I imagine those things really did tend to stick in bicyclists.” Michael O’Donoghue
It is comforting to be a Cantankerous OLD Coot because when you look around at the trivial cultural wasteland of modern day America, you, at least, have the memories of better times. Sick of ugly, look-alike cars? Remember hood ornaments! Back when you used to be able to tell one car from another and all cars weren’t ugly, hood ornaments were totally useless sculptures found on the hood of every car no matter the price or cache. These were not trivial junk but carefully crafted works of art designed to reflect the unique image for the car make itself and quite often the specific model. The hood ornament was just one more way to make a car distinctive. Today most of us will remember the Flying Lady for Rolls Royce or the Mercedes Star because those two manufacturers held out the longest before abandoning hood ornaments. It may have been safety that precipitated the end for hood ornaments but in the long run I think the big reason was cost. Popular priced cars after the onslaught of government regulation in the 60’s couldn’t afford hood ornaments and as hood ornaments became rare, the few remaining became collectors items causing Rolls to go to outlandish length to protect theirs before giving up.
We at Cantankerous Old Coots want to propose a solution to the ugly car problem. We say bring back the hood ornament! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to make your car distinctive again? Now that you can’t tell a Toyota from a Lexis from a KIA and all cars look like a cross-over, think what a hood ornament could do to make your car distinctive. Finally you could stop having to click your key fob and wait for the lights to flash to know which car is yours. Look for the one with your special hood ornament,