Hood Ornaments

The hood ornament today actually started as something more than mere decoration. In the very early days of the automobile, the front of the hood had a thermometer, called a motometer, that showed the temperature of the radiator. This motometer screwed into the top of the radiator and, as early cars were only available to the wealthy in most cases, their ugly appearance was viewed negatively by those obsessed with the appearance of their vehicle and the status it represented. The motometers began to be made with decorative ornaments, such as wings and knobs, to appeal to the tastes of the owners.

As technology used on cars advanced, a temperature gauge for the radiator was placed on the dashboard of newer cars. The radiator cap was still visible on the hood, leading to decorative hood ornaments being placed on the radiator cap, much like the decorative motometers but without the functionality. Certain hood ornament designs became synonymous with a model or make of automobile. Car manufacturers created hood ornament designs for their specific lines of vehicles to act as a branding, somtimes being very detailed in their designs. Even today, long after it has been necessary for radiator caps to protrude from the hood of cars, manufacturers still use decades old hood ornament designs to brand their cars. The Jaguar brand of vehicles commonly had a leaping jaguar figurine for their hood ornaments. Rolls Royce is famous for its winged lady hood ornaments, titled "The Spirit of Ecstasy" to represent the elite status of their vehicles and the feeling that the company wants consumers to associate with owning one.

In the present, fewer and fewer vehicles are made with hood ornaments. There are some car owners who like hood ornaments and purchase ones that require little to be done to get them set on the hood of the vehicle. Other drivers use hood ornaments to create their own custom branding, setting their car apart from others of the same model to create an individuality for their vehicle. The largest demand for hood ornaments today is in the car restoration market. Some rare original hood ornaments have gone for thousands of dollars. Other car restorers use reproductions that are created to factory specifications to give their restored vehicle the authentic look that it would lack if the hood ornament was not present.

As a way to brand a vehicle, either by a manufacturer or for an individual, the hood ornament has become a large part of both Americana and automotive history through many parts of the world. There are a lot of collectors who still seek original hood ornaments, especially ones that are exceptionally rare or detailed. What they represent varies from person to person but, regardless of the vehicle, a hood ornament can be found that will add that extra piece of style that many desire for their vehicles.

Hood ornaments can be found in many online stores. Many stores specialize in custom hood ornaments while others specialize in authentic and historically correct hood ornaments. The most popular online stores that sell hood ornaments will typically do most of their sales to buyers looking for historically correct hood ornaments that are less expensive reproductions. Whether a driver wants a mint condition original for a restoration or just wants something to set their car apart from their neighbor's car, hood ornaments are widely available in many online stores. Once you find the look you want for a hood ornament, make sure you check with the retailer to ensure that the mounting will be correct on your vehicle. If not, you may be able to find a mounting cap that makes the hood ornament you select compatible with your vehicle. If you don't mount a hood ornament properly it can be a hazard to you, and others on the road, when it comes loose and flies off the hood into your windshield or the windshield of the car behind you.

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