Hood ornaments melded into the radiator
Gone are the wonderful ornaments that adorned the hoods of cars. They were the miniature sculptures of the cars’ logos and emblems. They added to the experience of richness and to the drama of design.
Most clever was the Mercedes ornament that refused to be broken off because it was designed to be bumped. Resting as ball in a socket, the Mercedes owner could adjust and align the ornament before driving off.
The Jaguar is a shining representation of what otherwise might be envisioned as better carved from onyx than cast in stainless steel. Nonetheless, the Jaguar is running in the right direction even when the Lucas electrical system fails.
My favorite old car, the Volvo, is lacking ornamentation, except those wonderful headlight wipers.
Wisegeek discusses hood ornaments
“A car hood ornament, also known as a car mascot, is an upright decorative device located on the hood of a car. Historically, many car manufacturers installed hood ornaments on their products, but today such ornamentation is largely associated with luxury cars, with other brands preferring badges rather than upright ornaments. The 1920s through the 1960s were golden years for the car hood ornament, and a number of lovely examples can be seen on vehicles from this period.
Each manufacturer had its own car hood ornament design, and some went through several iterations. The hood ornament was often supposed to suggest power and energy, as in the leaping jaguar seen on vehicles made by Jaguar, and the archer positioned on the hood of cars made by Pierce-Arrow. Other hood ornaments more closely resembled the figureheads seen on ships, consisting of elegant women wearing minimal drapery.”
Ornaments can be a downfall, even for the best and most expensive manufacturers.
“Bentley Recalls 2007-'09 Vehicles Over Faulty Hood Ornament
Published Sep 20, 2010
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WASHINGTON — Bentley is recalling 596 2007-'09 Arnage R, Arnage T, Arnage RL, Brooklands and Azure vehicles in the U.S. because of a faulty hood ornament that may not retract in a pedestrian accident, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
"There is a potential for the 'B' hood ornament's retracting mechanism to become corroded," said the NHTSA in its recalls summary of the problem. "This may lead to the 'B' hood ornament not retracting as intended when a vehicle is involved in a crash. If the hood ornament does not retract, it could increase the risk of injury to a pedestrian in the event of a crash between the vehicle and the pedestrian."
In other documentation filed with the federal government, Bentley said a U.K. dealer reported the problem during "routine maintenance."
"However, this condition has not been witnessed or reported to Bentley Motors Limited, neither is Bentley otherwise aware of any accidents or injuries related to this matter," said the documentation, which was signed by Stephen Worrall, Bentley head of after-sales.”