Can You Name the Car Company from Its Old Hood Ornament or Logo?
By: Robin Tyler
Image: Packard / BarbeeAnne / Pixabay
About This Quiz
Hood ornaments and badges have been used since the beginning of motoring. Back in the early years of motoring, a hood ornament was a great way to just zing up your vehicle a little. Some could even be bought and added, for instance, a hood ornament called 'The Swallow' could be attached to any car. It was not sold by an automaker but by the Susse Freres foundry.
Some royal families such as that of Kaiser Wilhelm had their family crest turned into a hood ornament and added to their Mercedes-Benz. We're not sure what Mercedes-Benz thought about that!
And as the automotive industry is one that is closely associated with badges and symbols, hood ornaments carried on until health and safety got involved. Yes, a pedestrian on the wrong side of a hood ornament was sure going to be in for some pain! Another reason why you won't find hood ornaments on modern cars ... thieves!
Nowadays, a few cars still have hood ornaments, but these can retract into the hood with just the click of a button.
Let's see how good you are in recognizing hood ornaments and badges from yesteryear, some of which are still used today and have changed very little.
Now a badge on modern vehicles more than a hood ornament, the Mercedes-Benz Tri-Star logo has been around since 1926. Interestingly, the three points depict the land, air and sea as Mercedes made engines in all those spheres in their early years.
Known as the 'Spirit of Ecstasy', which of the vehicles below would you find this hood ornament?
Rolls-Royce – Perhaps the most recognizable hood ornament in the world, the Spirit of Ecstasy was designed by sculptor Charles Robinson Sykes and features a lady leaning forward with arms stretched behind her and clothes billowing in the wind. The design has changed slightly over the years and still appears on cars produced by the company today. Interestingly, they are spring loaded and designed to retract into the hood if the car is involved in an accident.
Perhaps the most famous sports car brand on the planet wears this logo. Name them, please.
Another extremely famous emblem that even those not interested in motor vehicles will be able to identify, the Prancing Horse is the symbol of Italian sports car company Ferrari. Interestingly, it first appeared on Alfa Romeos in the 1920s when Enzo Ferrari worked for the company.
Used since 1932, which car company belongs to this emblem?
The emblem design for Audi features the now famous ‘Four Rings.’ Not many people know what these symbolize, however. In 1932 four different companies merged – Audi, Horch, Wanderer and DKW. The rings symbolize this merger.
Roar! This lion symbol has been part of this auto manufacturer since the early days of motoring. Name the brand, please.
The Peugeot Lion has formed part of the French brand's logo and hood badges since inception. In fact, it was used even before the company got into the auto manufacturing business. It first appeared on the saw blades the company manufactured in 1850 and was registered in 1858.
A red cross, a snake eating a man … what’s not to like about the Alfa Romeo badge? Well, the red cross is actually the symbol for the city of Milan, where the marque was born. The snake eating a man comes from the tale of an important Milan citizen who killed a knight and brought the symbols he used on his shield back to the city. True or not, no one knows, but it is a great story!
This emblem shares many similarities with the shield for the city of Stuttgart. Do you know which auto manufacturer uses it?
This emblem, which appears on the hood of all Porsche sports cars, is extremely similar to that of the City of Stuttgart which was built on the site of a horse farm. And those are not swords toward the top and bottom of the horse, they are antlers.
Still found on their vehicles today, this emblem was first used in the 1920s by which auto maker?
Most will recognize the BMW hood logo, the iconic blue and white quarters in a circle. Many believe this, in fact, symbolizes a propeller as the company did first start out by manufacturing aviation engines.
This hood ornament only appears on one model from this leading American brand. Can you name them?
The iconic Ford Mustang logo, featuring a mustang breed of horse, adorned their iconic muscle car from the 1960s onward. Interestingly, it was originally drawn from left to right and its reversal was an error.
Which auto brand is this hood emblem associated with?
The Flying B is one of the most famous hood emblems in the world. It has adorned Bentley models since the company was started by W.O. Bentley with the first car produced in 1919. Interestingly, in 2010 Bentley was forced to recall cars and modify the hood ornament for fear that it could injure pedestrians in an accident.
'The Leaping Greyhound' was a hood ornament on which vehicle brand?
Lincoln, the luxury division of Ford, has used the leaping greyhound as a hood ornament on its vehicles. It was chosen as a mascot by Edsel Ford who wanted an animal with speed, stamina and beauty. They started appearing on Lincoln vehicles in the 1930s.
Another stylish hood ornament, but which car maker used it?
The winged theme is certainly a favorite among many car manufacturers including Auburn. The company originated in 1900 before it went bankrupt in 1937. The hood ornament on Auburn models featured a winged woman with her chest out and wings sweeping backward.
Another great hood ornament from yesteryear. Which auto maker used it?
You probably don’t want to be a pedestrian who gets in the way of this hood ornament – a knight with a very pointy lance. These appeared on cars made by Willys who later made the Jeep for the United States military in World War II.
A car manufacturer with a logo and hood ornament featuring a ship. Yes, its true. Who was it, though?
This incredible design looks nothing like a ship until you take a closer look. It is then that you see a sailing ship within the borders of the hood ornament. Strikingly beautiful and yet simple. Plymouth also changed the design from time to time.
This beatiful flying stork appeared on a range of luxury vehicles made in Europe. Who manufactured them?
Another flight-themed ornament, the Flying Stork appeared on Hispano Suiza vehicles, a Spanish luxury brand often compared with Rolls-Royce. The Stork itself is in a downward flap, with the wings attaching it to a base. Incredible beautiful and striking.
The Chevrolet ‘Bowtie’ is instantly recognizable. But where does it come from? It is claimed that it was designed by one of the people who started the company, William Durant, and first appeared on vehicles in 1913. This may not be the whole story, however, and some historians believed he may have ‘borrowed’ it from a company called Coalettes.
This leaping ram was found on early vehicles made by ________?
Although you won’t find them on a Dodge now, the Leaping Ram was found on all early vehicles produced by this American manufacturer. Eventually, it progressed to just a ram’s head and then a ram on a badge. Now the ram is associated with a truck brand.
One of many examples of hood ornaments produced by this company up until 1937. This was known as the 'Duisenbird'. Who did it belong to?
Duesenberg produced a range of hood ornaments between 1913 and 1937 when the brand went defunct. One particular favorite was the Duesenbird, a sharp, angular design, definitely very different from what other manufacturers used. It would never get past health and safety today, however.
Pontiac is a manufacturer that has had a range of hood ornaments and other badges over the years. This includes the ‘dart’ which in fact is an arrow head, a natural progression from the Native American chief who formed part of their early logos.
A raging bull is the logo of choice of which sports car manufacturer?
If you see this in your rearview mirror, best to pull over and let the car past … unless you are driving a hyper car! Why a bull for Italian car manufacturer Lamborghini? Well, it’s the zodiac sign of founder Ferruccio Lamborghini. Simple really.
This logo seems fairly modern. It was, in fact, first used in 1925. By which auto manufacturer?
French manufacturer Renault certainly liked to change their logo in the early years. A few of the early designs include a tank and a car grille among others. In 1925, they used the diamond which we still see in our rear view mirrors today.
Which vehicle manufacturer does this logo belong to?
Volvo, which means ‘I Roll’ originally manufactured bearings for the automotive industry. The circle and arrow pointing up is actually an ancient symbol used to denote iron, an important alloy in the bearing manufacturing process.
Which British company made use of this animal hood ornament?
Probably one of the most iconic hood ornaments in history, ‘The Leaper’ adorned most early models of this iconic British brand. Today, because of various safety laws, you can buy one as an accessory when purchasing your Jaguar.
This hood ornament was used on the 'Diplomat' model of which car company?
Founded by Walter Chrysler, De Soto manufactured vehicles between 1928 and 1961. On their Diplomat Model, they chose to have a Spanish conquistador as the hood ornament. Not very politically correct, particularly in the Americas.
The 'Dancing Elephant' was found on vehicles from which European manufacturer?
The Dancing Elephant appeared on Bugatti vehicles. It was designed by Rembrandt Bugatti, a sculptor and brother to the owner, Ettore Bugatti. Sadly, he never saw it appear on vehicles having taken his life years earlier.
Known as 'The Growler', this hood ornament is from which British manufacturer and was an alternative to another famous hood ornament?
An alternative emblem to their other famous hood ornament, the Leaper, this badge is commonly known as the Growler. It was used before the 1940s but became a regular badge option from the 1950s onward.
The beautiful 'Goddess of Speed' appeared on which car manufacturer's models?
Packard certainly had a variety of hood ornaments during its history. One of its designs was the Goddess of Speed, essentially an angel figure with wings facing toward the rear and outstretched arms holding a car wheel. It certainly added a certain grace to the Packards it adorned.
This leaping deer was a hood ornament for which of the vehicles below?
Produced in the Soviet Union, GAZ automobiles have been in production since 1932. From 1950, models featured an elaborate Leaping Deer as a hood ornament. The first model to have this was the GAZ-12 ZIM, a limousine and first executive car produced by the company.
This beautiful hood ornament, named 'The Goddess of Speed,' was from which vehicle maker?
Packard certainly had a variety of hood ornaments during its history. One of its designs was the Goddess of Speed, essentially an angel figure with wings facing towards the rear and outstretched arms holding a car wheel. It certainly added a certain grace to the Packards it adorned.