The Most Iconic Hood Ornaments of All Time

Even though hood ornaments are becoming increasingly rare, these classic designs stand the test of time…

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These days, it’s rare to see cars with hood ornaments other than a few select ultra-luxury brands like Rolls-Royce and Maybach, which have hung on to the decorative element as a matter of tradition and branding. Concerns about theft, aerodynamics, and pedestrian safety in collisions eventually pushed most automakers to transition their hood ornamentation into flat badging in the grille, despite the visual drama and branding that made hood ornaments so appealing. Although the origins of hood ornaments are practical (they started out as toppers to the radiator cap to help indicate the temperature of the engine’s coolant fluid), they stayed on as a trend after radiator caps were relocated underneath the hood, evolving into a showcase feature for automakers’ signature mascots and logos. While there have been plenty of flashy and interesting hood ornaments over the years, we think these examples have endured to become instantly recognizable.