Once holding a place of honor as brand-defining symbols, awesome hood ornaments are now edging towards extinction. We've selected ten awesome ornaments which we're looking for you to name and answer the bonus obscure automotive history we've found on each.
Here's how it works, starting from the first page you're given an image of the hood ornament, you'll be asked a question about the ornament and the answer will be found by clicking on the next page, where another ornament and question will exist. And away we go...
Question #1: What's the year, make and model of this hood ornament?
Answer #1: That handsome art deco piece belongs to the 1941 Packard 110. The basic elements of the design had been in Packards for some time, but it was the addition of the glass wings which really sends this particular example over the top.
Question #2: What's the name of this famous Rolls Royce Mascot and for bonus points, name the partner who didn't approve of its inclusion on the company's cars (it's 50/50)?
Answer #2:: The name, of course, is "The Spirit of Ecstasy," and has adorned Rolls Royce motor cars since 1911. Believe it or not, Henry Royce, the engineer who began building the cars and partnered with Charles Rolls for sales didn't approve of the Mascot, believing the decoration obstructed the view of the driver.
Question #3: Here's a tough one: What's the year, make and model of this early depression-era limousine from a manufacturer which would go on to live another 36 years?
Answer #3: This gorgeous ornament belongs to the 1931 Studebaker President, a vehicle designed and introduced just as the Great Depression was hitting its stride. It was intended as competition against the likes of Packard and Cadillac, and spared no expense, though it was not as commercially successful as hoped.
Question #4: Though this hood ornament died at one point, a logo inspired by it was reborn in the 90s, only to die with the brand it was attached to. What's the company, and for extra points, the year and model in this example?
Answer #4: The brand in question is Plymouth and the vehicle behind the ornament is the 1948 Plymouth Special Deluxe Woodie Wagon. Depicted is the the Pilgrim ship the Mayflower, get it? Plymouth... Mayflower.
Question #5: First of all, although practically a gimme, what's the name of this logo? More importantly, when was this leaping cat decoration first available as a factory option?
Answer #5: The Jaguar leaper was first made available in 1938, after Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons noted the successful aftermarket accessory, bought the rights and modified it, offering it as a factory option.
Question #6: We'll give you the make and model on this one, it's a Hudson Terraplane, Now — what's the model year? (they changed it slightly almost every year)
Answer #6: If you answered 1937, you're a freakier brand of car nut than we are. It evokes speed and style and foreshadows all the rocket and jet-age gee-whiz styling to come. Picking a best-of from Hudson is darn near impossible, so we went with a deco standard.
Question #7: If you can even name the brand this radiator ornament comes from we'll be majorly impressed. Here's a hint, it's still around though not by the same name.
Answer #7: This whimsical badge belongs to the 1929 Willys Knight 66A Varsity. Yes, that Willys which went on to become the brand we know today as Jeep. This car used a Knight engine, thus the dual naming convention. We just like it for the extreme pedestrian unfriendliness.
Question #8: This one is thoroughly iconic, and if you don't know it you've been living in a cave, the question here isn't the make, it's the meaning behind the three points to this star.
Answer #8: Gottleib Daimler designed the points of the star to represent the land, sea and sky, which is where Daimler's engines were utilized and the ornament is still in use with his company's flagship brand, Mercedes Benz.
Question #9: This example is perhaps the most surreal example on the list, a jet plane with a face in place of a cockpit — creepy, and yet, really cool. The make and model might be easy, but what year is this car from?
Answer #9: 1955 Pontiac Star Chief, it's basically the Pontiac version of the higher volume Chevy Bel Air, but the snazzy bits make it unique and desirable. The Indian's face was interpreted many times over with this as probably the strangest and most interesting version, and if that's not enough for you, it lights up at night.
Question #10: This last hood ornament is plucked straight from a Jules Verne alternate reality and resides on the prow of an ultra-rare French collectible, name that car!
(And since we're out of pictures...) Answer #10: 1931 Avions Voisin C20 Mylord Demi-Berline. Nothing says badass V12-powered French awesomeness like a steampunk eagle.