3.06.2010

1951 pontiac hood ornament


1951 pontiac hood ornament, originally uploaded by Xyling.

In the greatest days of Detroit styling, the typical studio had experts in the design of trim and ornamentation. Detail didn't get much grander than items like this 1951 Pontiac hood ornament. It's probably a hefty 3 pounds of metal. With fuel economy and profit margins today, such extravagance is not considered on the everyman's car, and very rare even on the most luxurious brands. The fine detailing and design on the classic item are amazing. It's a bit of sculpture that had no purpose on the car, no function, apart from style. Common '51 Pontiacs got the regular all chrome hood mascot, but this was the special lighted amber version, a small bulb inside would illuminate the chieftain's head. The absolute peak of hood ornament design may be the 1955 Starchief amber head ornament. Where the '51 recalled the art deco Raymond Loewy locomotives, the '55 took the Chieftain into the jet age, sprouting broad swept chrome wings and slick blended turbine pontoons. After '55, the Indian head disappeared, and only the jet remained. Somehow it lost a lot of its drama. The distinction of the brand eroded enough for decades after so that by 2009, hardly anyone missed Pontiac when GM dissolved the brand. How can a brand retain distinctive character and attention to detail in a more economy driven auto design world? Will we see a rebirth of art in the common car some day? I don't see why not- it may not be chrome, but some light, less expensive material that provides adornment and individuality...


Pontiac hood ornaments

1 comment:

  1. Hot damn that is the coolest! I thought that was a sketch at first

    ReplyDelete