Up With – Hood Ornaments

 Posted by at 11:03  Up With
Feb 232015
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“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,


Ralph is the inspiration for Cantankerous Old Coots and is our Grand Duke of Cantankerousness

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Mar 092014
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1934 Ford Stock-Car Racer

Image via Wikipedia

As anyone who has read much of what I write knows, I am more than just a little bit retro.  The fact is I could easily be described as rather Luddite-ish.  I have often been heard to say (only partly jokingly) that I am one of less than 10 people in the country who actually wishes Y2K had been as bad as advertised.

One thing I have enjoyed since I was a teenager is cars.  Real cars.  Not the sissified crap cranked out by automobile manufacturers these days, but serious cars, cars with large bore Detroit iron.

I use to watch the NASCAR races, or as they were called colloquially in the south “stock car racin’.  You could spend a Sunday afternoon watching the likes of Cale Yarborough, Fireball Roberts, and Coo Coo Marlin banging on each other’s doors, and then go down to your local Ford, Chevrolet, or Dodge dealer on Monday and pretty much buy the car that won the day before.  Except for stripping out the interior and adding a roll bar, there wasn’t much difference.

But times change.  The original crowd retired (or died in wrecks, like Fireball Roberts, RIP), and the next generation turned out to be a bunch of pansies.  Instead of getting their start runnin’ moonshine and being chased by the revenuers, a lot of them got their start up in Yankee land, drivin’ those things with a big ass motor, four wheels, and a wing on top big enough for a 747.  And when they got to NASCAR?  Hell, they all had PR people and couldn’t get out of their car after a race without combing their hair first.  Pussies.

Another change, the most disappointing really, was the cars.  Except for a very faint resemblance, Detroit never saw iron that’s on the track today.  Sure, they put a model name on ‘em, but I defy you to go down to your local Chevrolet dealership tomorrow and find anything that really looks like what Dale, Jr. climbed out of on Sunday.

Then came the final straw.  NASCAR, which like baseball is as American as apple pie, let furriners in.


That’s when I quit watchin’ stock car racin’, except at the local dirt track.

And then, on Sunday February 20, 2011, it was Déjà vu all over again.

First, let me give you just a little bit of back story.  In the 1970’s I was a teenager, I loved stock car racin’, and David Pearson was my hero.  Pearson drove the Woods Brother’s Mercury, red top, white bottom, and the number 21 on the side.  At the time, the biggest rivalry in stock car racin’ was between Cale Yarborough, Richard Petty, and Pearson.

One of the few NASCAR races I ever personally attended was the 1976 Daytona 500, a race that will go down in history as having the most exciting finish NASCAR ever had, or ever will, see.

David Pearson won that race.  Driving the Woods Brothers Mercury number 21.  Despite numerous wins in other races, Woods Brothers Racing has never won another Daytona 500, the Super Bowl of NASCAR.

Until yesterday.

I didn’t watch the race.  I gave up on NASCAR several years back when Toyota joined Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge on the track.  I just never got used to the idea of watching little Japanese sewing machines trying to run with the big dawgs.

I was trying to get some writing done and had the TV on mute several hours after the race ended, when I glanced up at the screen.  To use an old southernism, I didn’t know whether to “shit or go blind”.

There, in living color, was a sight I had not seen in 35 years…  A Woods Brothers Racing Mercury(well, Ford), red on top, white on bottom, and the number 21 painted the side, crossing the finish line in the Daytona 500 in first place.

I can sleep well.  Retro ruled the day.

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Bob@HayleStorm Interactive

Bob comes to us with a skeptical attitude and a full cup of Cantankerousness. He also writes about homesteading and yurts over at JuicyMaters.com and rants about politics at Common-Sense-Conversation.com Most of the time, though, you'll find him at HayleStorm.net, cranking out great websites for clients OR writing tutorials teaching them to build their own sites.

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Apr 052013
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I was looking at a magazine the other day and there was an ad for the new Toyota mini-van.  A couple of things really bothered me about it.  First it was a Toyota.  I was always raised that the only cars you should buy should be American.

Right or wrong, those slant eyed Hirotito followers are not going to get any of my money.  Thank you Grandpa.  I guess if you fought the Japanese in WWII you are entitled to that opinion and can drill it into your kids.  I have never owned a Japanese car.

Anyhow, this minivan has a 180 degree camera in the back of it that is hooked to some little communist plot view screen up front so you can back out of the driveway without running over Juniors tricycle or even junior himself.  Bad enough in and of itself, but the tagline “Daddy Like” just made me want to find that copywriter and shove one of those cameras up an orifice.  Choose one, I don’t care.

I am very frustrated that people need to have things like cameras in their cars.  What happened to that simple convention of actually turning around and looking out the back window?  Are we that soft?  What happened to people being able to DRIVE their cars???

I used to work at U-Haul.  There were several employees there that could not park trucks to save their butts.  They couldn’t back up using only their mirrors.  If they lacked the training beforehand, they should have learned fairly quickly.  Some couldn’t even drive a stick, but that is another post.

I want to find an older car for my kids to learn how to drive.  Stick shift, AM radio, no airbags, no air conditioning, power steering if they are lucky.  I want them to be able to drive forward with confidence.  I want them to be able to look, actually look, behind them and drive backwards.  I want them to be able to use their mirrors to back up! I want them to be able to avoid an accident.  They don’t even get a cellphone.  Too distracting.

I think the world would be safer if we didn’t spend so much time trying to make cars safer, and make the drivers better.  I don’t know the stats and I am not going to look them up but I would be willing to bet that there are more accidents now than there were 40 years ago when people didn’t have all of the crap to distract them.  Airbags are great, but so is a 4000 pound car.  Hang up.  Drive.  Learn what your vehicle can do.  Pay attention.  None of this should be hard.

I don’t want any of this sissy crap foreign cars with “Daddy Like” as the tagline.  I would seriously doubt that a man wrote that ad.  At least not a real man who has ever field dressed something.  Or changed an alternator out.

“Daddy Like” in my book should be changed to “Whoever like this ad can cram it and get some real driving skills.”

But I’m just saying.

Tomorrow a digest post!



Justin is the young Coot with a Cantankerous Soul who continues to be educated by older, more cootish Ralph and Bob. His Cantankerosity is his own.

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