On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff
THE DETROIT AUTO show, formally the North American International Auto Show, runs from today, January 11, through January 24, 2016. It’s expected to fill Detroit’s Cobo Hall with global debuts of 18 new production models from around the world and at least four concept cars. President Barak Obama has announced he’ll be visiting the show. In his announcement, with a touch of yesteryear thinking, he called it the Big 3.
The show’s opening got me thinking about the elegant NAIAS logo, formally called the Winged Woman Mark. Young people may not recognize her and similar objects as hood ornaments or, as a Brit car enthusiast might call them, bonnet bling.
Before the demise of the hood ornament for concerns of pedestrian safety, this bonnet bling defined a marque. Even the likes of Lalique produced aftermarket bonnet bling in fine crystal, today highly collectable.
Here are several photos of bonnet bling I’ve collected; the photos, mind; not the bling.
The archer theme made sense for this marque. In fact, a Pierce Arrow badge had its Pierce pierced by an arrow. One can imagine the safety implications of the archer’s armed weapon as bonnet bling.
Some Bentleys have only the B; others, it and a trailing wing; still others, a B ready to soar with a pair of wings. W.O. Bentley built aero engines, including the Sopwith Camel’s, before starting his car company in 1919. Thus, the wings are completely legitimate.
Most Isotta Fraschinis featured a winged personage thrusting a wheel forward (as did Packard). However, this Isotta Fraschini seen at the Pebble Beach Concours displayed a hooded cobra with ruby-tipped fangs.
Officially, Rolls-Royce’s Flying Lady is the Spirit of Ecstasy. She’s also known as Emily or the Silver Lady, designed by English sculptor Charles Robinson Sykes.
These days, she’s a spring-loaded Spirit, designed to fold in any direction in the event of a mishap. What’s more, there’s a button in the cabin that lowers her away from mischievous sorts. An OnlyOneEll video shows her disappearing act.
The Mercedes-Benz three-pointed star also pivots for safety. These days, many of the marque’s models do without the three-dimensional bling, settling for a badge embedded in the bonnet.
Gabriel Voisin was an outspoken advocate of French airpower, highly accomplished early in the last century. Fourteen years after founding Avions Voisin, he turned to automobiles. Deservedly, the Voisin bonnet bling had wings. What’s more, their shape celebrated the era’s Art Deco theme of mechanized potency.
Hector Bergandi said of this evocative image, “When I was a kid, my attention was captured by a hood ornament of a 1926 Buick…. Not long ago, I saw a photograph of such a car. The ornament was no more than a few millimeters high in the photo, but it brought it all back. This painting grew from the idealized memory.”
Hector contributed his art and whimsy in many R&T articles. He did a wonderful illustration that became a perfect addition to “Say Again in ‘Alice.’ ” ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2016