It’s a real shame cars and hood ornaments don’t mix like they used to. Sure, Jaguar still offers the “Leaper” as an option, and you can spec an E-Class with a hood-topping three-pointed star, but would you really want to? They look more like metallic warts than the final artistic flourish they once were. Rolls-Royce and Bentley may be exceptions, but at least they give you the option of hiding it.
Classic cars seem to have been built around their ornaments. In certain cases, the cars almost end up taking a backseat to what’s riding up front. From pre-war era cars all the way up to the Jet-age, the hood ornaments that garnished some cars were works of art. Whether it’s a signature figurine, a one-off or just a stepping stone in design somewhere along a brand’s history, these are the most beautiful hood ornaments of all time.