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Are Hood Ornaments Egotistical?

Kenneth Avery is a Southern humorist with well over a thousand fans. The charm and wit in his writing span a nearly a decade.

A pretty girl, Buick, and hood ornament Equals: Happiness.

A pretty girl, Buick, and hood ornament Equals: Happiness.

This is a piece where I head for Virgin Territory. I plan on walking through my thoughts about those gorgeous car hood ornaments instead of running at great neck speed and letting my haste become waste.

Hood ornaments have been around forever. Since the late1920s at least. Talk about the one thing that was designed by René Jules Lalique for whatever car company's sales numbers to skyrocket beyond Saturn. Hood ornaments were the icing on the cake for those who wanted a car that looked as important as the owner. The bee's knees. Yes, if one had a hood ornament on their flashy automobile, it was not hard for the car owner to score a hot date at any night of the week. Hood ornaments were more than special.

A bit more about René Jules Lalique. He was the genius whose most coveted hood ornaments adorned the Cadillac's and Packard's who were in the Elite Class of our country. Lalique also designed and made beautifully crafted glass car mascots. By 1932 Lalique was offering 27 different models of car mascots for those discerning car owners.

The very first time that I met a chrome hood ornament was in the summer of 1963. I was staying during the day with my grandparents during school vacation while both my parents held down their jobs, and one of the most-interesting man who came through my life was the now-late Ottis Clark, who was married to my grandparents' older sister, Arvilla, and they resided in Illinois. And each summer just like clockwork, the two of them made a yearly-trek to see my grandparents and spend a few days with them.

That was great. But what captured my attention was not Ottis or Arvilla, God forgive me, but the gorgeous hood ornament which lived on their '56 Buick Road Master, solid black with red interior and fully equipped with one of those huge steering wheels. I got to sit in the front seat and just for a moment, I dreamed that I had died and went to Heaven. Even the smell of this car was divine because Ottis had just bought the car a week prior to theri trip. I was about to doze-off in the front seat, but Ottis blared-out, hey, Ken! Get over here and wipe the fenders of the car. Can you do that?

Are you kidding me? I was there in a flash while Ottis was visiting with my grandpa James underneath one of those big shade trees that lived in my grandparents' backyard. But I had not been polishing Ottis' car fenders until I felt like I was working for nothing, which I was, but I considered it a bit of investing in Ottis' love of Buicks and maybe when I reached 18, I would get to drive one.

Now comes the $64,000-dollar question? You might need to think about your answer. Would those classic cars of yesteryear look as good without a fancy hood ornament? The answer might shock you. Yes. Those cars would look as good without a chrome hood ornament. How do I know? The summer prior to the one I am talking about here when I polished Ottis' black Buick Roadmaster, well, last year, he drove a black Buick and it had NO chrome hood ornament. At the time, it didn't really matter until . . .now.

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True, millions of folks, guys and dolls, appreciate those beautiful hood ornaments. It's like baking a delicious cake and presenting it without the pretty and tasty icing. Simple as that. It's also a matter of a single guy scoping-out a date and upon a pretty girl sees him without a nice hood ornament, she will, in all probability, walk away.

Take the same single guy scoping-out a part of town where pretty single girls congregate, if he has installed a gorgeous chrome statue with wings on his car hood, well, the hard work is finished. What pretty girl would dare look past such a great opportunity? It's like this. In a psychological view, she judges the single guy by the beautiful chrome carhood. Bam! She is going out with the single guy.

Let's be really open about these closing thoughts. My dad owned a pretty, green in color, '55 Chevy pickup truck and now that I think of it, dad did not have a chrome car hood ornament on his truck. Nada. Zilch. And to me, even to this day, his truck looked better without a chrome hood ornament.
That's just me.

I don't have a chrome hood ornment on the top of my head.

Hood ornaments were so important to the looks of the car.

Hood ornaments were so important to the looks of the car.

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© 2022 Kenneth Avery

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