Did you know that the art designs or ornaments on today’s cars like the Rolls-Royces and Bentley models – that speaks volumes about the owner and the brand,were early forms of external radiator caps?
The early automobiles like the 1931 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport Zagato has a bonnet ornament with a motor meter (thermometer) that measures the temperature of the vehicle
Cadillac used heron ornaments for a number of years, Benz still use 3star, Bugatti’s Dancing Elephant and Lincoln a greyhound.
Let’s look at some of the most popular ornaments or mascots that turned Luxury wheels into Showpieces
1) Rolls-Royce “Spirit Of Ecstasy”
The Flying Lady is the most famous amongst the luxury cars and it depicts a woman leaning into the wind.It retracts during collision ,accident or when touched .
2) Bentley “Flying B”
The flying B for Bentley and the wings for its speed first appeared in 1919 Bentley. It is also designed to retract in the event of an accident
3) Mercedes-Benz “3-pointed Star” surrounded by a circle
The 3-pointed star is arguably the most popular bonnet ornament ever .Driving a car with the 3-pointed star instantly makes you famous in the 80’s and early 90’s.
4) Mercedes Maybach Double-M
One of those Ms in the double-M hood ornament is for Maybach while the second M (doesn’t stand for Mercedes ) stands for Motorenbau .
5) Jaguar’s “Leaper”
The legendary leaping cat finally disappeared from Jaguar cars in 2005 because of pedestrian safety.
6) 1931 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport Zagato
The famous mascot also functions as a thermometer that let’s the driver know when the engine is running hot .
7) 1935 Buick 96S Sport Coupe
8) 1934 Cadillac 452d Fleetwood
9) Lincoln Greyhound bonnet ornament
10) Bugatti Dancing Elephant
Most of these iconic ornaments are rapidly disappering or being replaced by the badges because of pedestrian safety .
To protect pedestrian safety, safety laws on “the external projections of motor vehicles” ( i.e. the ornaments or mascot ) in the early 1990s stated that mascots and ornaments should retract (in the case of Rolls-Royce and Bentley) , bend or break off (Mercedes-Benz) when subject to certain force.