Above is a photo of an "original" McDonalds drive-in hamburger shop circa 1960.
I collect primarily pre-1960 automobile ornaments and emblems. My personal recollection of these items begins in the mid-1950s. For most others I have to rely on what others have posted on internet sites. I research as thoroughly as internet content allows at a given time. When I come across additional info I make corrections as warranted. If you believe that I have something misidentified as to make or year, please email me along with the basis of your ID.
Below are all of my car-related creations, both For Sale and Not For Sale. I also enjoy doing custom commissions - if you have a particular make/model that you wish to have a memorabilia of (for yourself or as a gift), please feel free to email me at email@example.com and tell me of your interest. I will get back to you to discuss it. If convenient, leave a phone number.
Hood Ornaments + Fender Ornaments
These small, stand-up hood ornaments are fun and quick to do mountings for. Some I turn on the lathe; others I shape with table saw, band saw, miter saw and belt sander.
These items can be complex and time consuming. Just fitting the base to the contour of the piece takes some time. I try to create a different and unique mounting for each one, hopefully suited to the design of the ornament.
Oldest Hood Ornament
The U.S. automotive aftermarket includes replacement parts (tires, batteries, exhaust, etc.) and accessories (add-ons that do not come from the manufacturer as standard or optional equipment). One of earliest accessories was the dashboard clock. Around 1900, watch manufacturers of the time modified existing 8-day, wind-up clocks to be mounted on, in or under the dashboard or clove-box lid. Soon companies specialized in providing 6 and 12 volt electric clocks to the manufacturers as factory options. These became known as "original equipment manufacturers" (OEM) and this kind of industry continues to this day, along with a robust aftermarket industry.
David D Buick was born in Scotland in 1854 and moved with his parents to Detroit when he was two. He went to work for a plumbing manufacturer, proving his inventiveness early. He invented a process for enameling bathtubs that is still in use today. He formed a plumbing business with a partner, but his growing interest in the novel internal combustion engine proved too much of a distraction and the business was eventually dissolved. His focus on engine development resulted in development of the revolutionary “Valve in Head” engine but only one vehicle was built during Buick Manufacturing Co.’s first year. Buick borrowed money, formed Buick Motor Company and began producing cars with the new engine design in 1903. The Valve in Head engine was the forerunner of today’s OHV engines, used in virtually all modern automobiles. Buick Motor Company would eventually become the cornerstone of the General Motors empire.
1930 & '31 Buick
1946 & '47 Buick
1948 & '49 Buick
1951 & '52 Buick
Late 1950s & beyond
Some Buick pictures that I really like
Henry M. Leland, born in Vermont in 1843, gained experiences in toolmaking, metrology and manufacturing while employed by various manufacturers, including Colt Firearms and Olds Motor Vehicles.Leland created the Cadillac automobile from the remains of an early Henry Ford Company that was considering liquidation. Leland sold Cadillac to General Motors on July 29, 1909 for four and a half million dollars, but remained with GM as an executive.
Louis Chevrolet was born in France in 1878. In his early years he worked as a machinist and had an interest in bicycle racing. In 1900 he moved to Montreal, Quebec, working as a mechanic, then moved to New York the following year. He obtained more and more work as a race car driver, including racing Buicks for William Durant, owner of Buick and founder of General Motors. In 1911, Chevrolet and Durant co-founded Chevrolet Motor Car Co. in Detroit. Chevrolet had design differences with Durant and sold his interest in Chevrolet Motors to Durant in 1915. Chevrolet Motors was merged with GM in 1917-18. Chevrolet himself continued a career in car racing and died of a heart attack in Detroit 1941.
1936 Chevrolet DeLuxe
1936 Chevrolet Standard
1937 Chev Pickup-Suburban-Panel Truck
1939 standard hood ornament
1939 deluxe accessory hood ornament
1941 standard hood ornament
1941 deluxe accessory hood ornament
1941 fender ornament
1947-48 Chevrolet Truck
Walter P. Chrysler was born in 1875 in Kansas, a first generation American. He worked as a railroad mechanic and earned a mechanical degree through correspondence courses. A local banker introduced him to Charles Nash, then president of Buick Motor Co. in Flint, MI. Nash hired Chrysler as works manager where he found many ways to reduce the costs of production. When William Durant wrested control of General Motors in 1916, Chrysler turned in his resignation to Durant who was then located in New York City, but Durant was able to keep Chrysler as head of Buick with the unheard-of offer of ten thousand dollars a year. Chrysler stayed on for three years, but in 1919 he did leave Buick due to policy disagreements with Durant. Chrysler’s stock in GM was bought out for ten million dollars, making him one of the richest men in America. After a well-payed stint at Willys-Overland Motor Co in Toledo, OH, in 1921 Chrysler acquired a controlling interest in ailing Maxwell Motor Co. and absorbed it into his new firm, Chrysler Corp, which manufactured cars under the name Chrysler and soon created brands Plymouth and DeSoto as well as purchasing Dodge Brothers, dropping “Brothers” from the brand name. In 1928 he financed the construction of the Chrysler Building in NYC and was named Time Mag’s Man of the Year.
1934 Chrysler AirFlow
1951-52 Chrysler Imperial
1951 Chrysler (except Imperial)
1952 Chrysler (except Imperial)
As the Roaring Twenties approached its end, the car market was doing well and automakers wanted to capitalize on the healthy market by having model offerings in all segments. In 1928 Chrysler purchased Dodge Brothers and also launched two new brands named Plymouth and DeSoto (both names harkening back to America’s exploration and development). DeSoto was initially intended to compete with mid-priced brands such as Ford and Chevy. The Great Depression hit the following year. Mid-priced cars suffered the worst, but DeSoto was kept alive with market-shifting strategies. Fast forward to the post-WWII 1950s, car sales were rising and DeSoto brought some popular designs to market. Designer Virgil Exner created some iconic designs featuring tail fins and lots of chrome that were well received by the US consumer. Several factors brought about DeSoto’s demise at the end of the decade. The 1958 recession and the overcrowding of the mid-priced market by new models (brought out by Chrysler itself as well as other makers) left DeSoto with sharply declining sales. The closing of DeSoto was announced in 1960, with 1961 it’s last model year; a thirty-two year run.
John Francis and Horace Dodge were born in 1864 and 1868 respectively in Michigan. The brothers started a bicycle manufacturing business with a third partner, which was highly successful thanks to a patented ball bearing that Horace had invented. After four years the brothers sold their interest in the bicycle business and started their own machine shop. They soon had lucrative contracts with Olds and Ford to supply automotive parts that were considered superior to most other suppliers. When Henry Ford Co. was in financial difficulties, its debt to Dodge Brothers was satisfied with a transfer of 10% of Ford stock to the brothers. When Ford could not meet demand for the Model T, the brothers produced some of the Ford cars. John eventually became a vice president at Ford. In 1913 they decided to produce their own eponymous automobiles to compete with the Model T. Their car set itself apart with all steel construction, 12 volt electrical and 35 horsepower. Their plant was the first to have its own on-site test track. In 1916 they produced an enclosed “winter” car and in 1917 an ambulance for the U.S. Army which evolved into the commercial truck.
1935 Dodge (?)
1936-38 Dodge large truck
1957 & '58 Dodge
1980s Dodge truck
Henry Ford was born in 1863 in Dearborn, MI, a first generation American. He apprenticed as a machinist, later he worked for Westinghouse and Edison. He also studied bookkeeping. In 1898, while working for Edison in Detroit, he developed a self-propelled “Quadricycle” on his own time but with Edison’s approval. With outside capital, Ford built a successfully raced automobile in 1901, which led to greater investments allowing the founding of the Henry Ford Co. which became the Cadillac Automobile Co. the following year. Ford formed a partnership with a Detroit coal dealer producing inexpensive cars with the Dodge brothers as major parts suppliers. In 1903, this partnership was incorporated as Ford Motor Co. The Model T debuted on October 1, 1903 and the rest is common knowledge.
1908-27 Ford Model-T
1950 Ford - Illuminated
1950 Ford - Illuminated
1952-53 Ford (aftermarket)
On February 20, 1909 the Hudson Motor Car Company was formed by eight Detroit businessmen, including Joseph L. Hudson, a department store entrepreneur. who provided the needed capital and allowed his name to be used. One of the chief “car men” of the group was Roy D. Chapin, Sr., an American industrialist who had worked with Ransom E. Olds and later served as United States Secretary of Commerce. In 1954 Hudson merged with Nash -Kelvinator to form American Motors Corporation (AMC). The Hudson name was used through the 1957 model year, then discontinued.
1935 Hudson Terraplane
1951-52 Hudson Hornet
1951-52 Hudson Wasp
1963-69 Jaguar S-Type
2002-08 Jaguar S-Type &X-Type
Aftermarket imitation leaping cat
Frazer was the premium line of Kaiser-Frazer. There were two models produced for model years 1947-1951: Standard and Manhattan. Kaiser also had a Manhattan model, which was considerably less expensive than the Frazer and outsold it two-to-one. In spite of their near-Cadillac price and trim, all Frazers came with a six-cylinder engine, manual transmission and the hood ornament was an option. Frazer ended production in 1951 with a warmed-over 1950 model. The Henry J was a small car named after its chairman, Henry J. Kaiser. It was introduced 1n 1950 and marketed through 1954. The car could achieve 25 mpg and in 1953 won the Mobil Economy Run. The Kaiser name soldiered on until 1955 before being dropped to concentrate on Willys Jeeps, which Kaiser had purchased in 1953 when the Henry J was discontinued..
1950 Kaiser Virginian
1951 Frazer Manhattan
1951 Henry J
1953 Kaiser Dragon
Henry M. Leland formed the Lincoln Motor Company with a ten million dollar contract from the Federal Government to build the V12 Liberty engine for use in WWI. After the war, the Lincoln Motor Company plant was retooled to manufacture luxury automobiles. In 1922, Lincoln became insolvent and was bought out by Ford Motor Company, whose eight million dollar bid was the only one submitted, in spite of Lincoln being valued at twice that amount. Leland chose the company name because he was a great admirer of Abraham Lincoln.
In 1893 brothers Jack and Gus Mack purchased the Fallesen and Berry Carriage Company in Brooklyn, NY. In 1900 they established the firm name “Mack Brothers Company” which produced its first successful motorized vehicle that year. The company's trademark Bulldog was earned in 1917, during World War I, when the British government purchased the Mack AC model to supply its front lines with troops, food and equipment. British soldiers dubbed the truck the Bulldog Mack. Its pugnacious, blunt-nosed hood, coupled with its durability, reminded soldiers of the tenacious qualities of their country's mascot, the British Bulldog. In 1922 the company adopted its present name, Mack Trucks, Inc., and established the now-famous bulldog logo.
Karl Benz developed a carriage with an internal combustion engine, the Benz Patent Motorwagen, which he financed with Bertha Benz's dowry and patented in January 1886. This is generally acknowledged as the world’s first self-propelled vehicle. In 1899 a European entrepreneur named Emil Jellinek successfully raced an automobile in Nice, France built by Benz, Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach. He raced under his daughter’s first name, Mercedes, to conceal the identity of the competitor (a common practice of the time). In 1901 the trademark “Mercedes” was registered by Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) and Jellinek proceeded to successfully sell the cars to the wealthy of Europe and the US.
The Mercury Division of Ford Motor Company was created in 1938 by Edsel Ford as an entry level premium brand positioned between Ford and Lincoln to compete with such other marques as Buick and Chrysler. In 1945 it was combined with Lincoln as the Lincoln-Mercury Division of Ford. In 2010 Ford announced the closing of Mercury and the last “Merc” left the plant in January, 2011. “Mercury” remains an active trademark of Ford.
1956 to 1971 Minor 1000
Charles W. Nash was born in 1864 to a farming family in DeKalb, IL. His parents moved to a farm near Flint, MI when he was two, but divorced when he was six and abandoned him. A court “bound him out” as a farm hand until he turned 21, but he ran away at age twelve. He worked his way up from farm hand to shepherd to owner of hay bailing machinery and managed to acquire a fair education along the way, learning the trade of mechanic. In 1890 Nash was hired by William C. Durant as an upholstery stuffer for $1/day at Durant’s carriage manufacturing company. As the automobile industry grew, Durant’s carriage company transitioned to building auto bodies. In 1910 Durant bought Buick Motors in Flint and Nash was made vice president. When Durant was fired from General Motors in 1912, Nash became its 5th president. Nash made many improvements at Buick and GM, improving efficiency and profits. In 1916, when the heirs of the Jeffery Motor Company of Kenosha, Wisconsin, (makers of the Rambler automobile) were anxious to retire, Nash bought the company with a down payment of a half million dollars. He renamed it Nash Motors a year later. By 1929 Nash was the fourth largest automaker after the Big Three. During its production from 1916 to 1956, Nash Motors pioneered such improvements as the modern heating and ventilation system, unibody construction (1941), seat belts (1950) and one of the first successful compact cars, Metropolitan (1950). Mr. Nash retired and moved to Southern California in 1936 and died in Beverly Hills in 1948, leaving an estate valued at $50 million. Later acquisitions and mergers with Packard, Studebaker, Willys-Overland and Hudson led to the creation of American Motors Corp. which was purchased by Chrysler in 1987, evidently for the sole purpose of acquiring the Jeep brand because all other brand names were dropped.
Ransom Eli Olds was born in Geneva, Ohio on June 3, 1864 but eventually settled in Lansing, Michigan, where he married Metta Ursula Woodward on June 5, 1889. He founded the Olds Motor Vehicle Company in Lansing on August 21, 1897. The modern assembly line and its basic concept is credited to Olds, who used it to build the first mass-produced automobile, the Oldsmobile Curved Dash. (Henry Ford developed the first moving assembly line) In 1899 the company was bought by copper and lumber magnate Samuel L. Smith and renamed Olds Motor Works with Olds as vice president and general manager. Olds left the company in 1904 because of a dispute and formed the REO Motor Car Company. General Motors purchased the company in 1908 but discontinued the Oldsmobile brand in 2004, after a production run of 96 years. At that time Oldsmobile was the oldest surviving American automobile marque and one of the oldest in the world.
James W. Packard was born in 1863 in Warren, OH, attended Lehigh University, graduating in 1884 with a degree in mechanical engineering. In 1899 he, his older brother William and their partner George L. Weiss, formed Packard Motors after James Packard was rebuffed in his approach to Alexander Winton with suggestions on how to improve the Winton automobiles. Packard automobiles were produced in Warren, Ohio for the first three years, then relocated to Detroit, MI after an infusion of money by new investors. Packard rapidly moved from cars with a single-cylinder engine to twelve cylinders by the mid-teens. By the twenties, Packards were selling for as much as four times the price of an Oldsmobile Runabout. Packard soon became an established and admired luxury car manufacturer, on a par with Piece-Arrow of Buffalo, NY and Peerless of Cleveland, OH. They sold world-wide in competition with Rolls-Royce and Mercedes-Benz. In 1928, gross income for the company was almost $22 million. Packard became famous for their slogan, “Ask the man who owns one.” Having been exclusively a luxury brand almost since its inception, the Great Depression forced Packard to add a “Junior” line of affordable models, which dimmed their image in the eyes of their elite clientele. Packard converted to 100% war production during WWII and by war’s end had some 33 million in assets, but they began to struggle to keep abreast of other US car manufacturers with updated designs. In spite of continuing innovations in automotive engineering (air conditioning in the 1930s) they fell behind competing marques in the marketplace. They tried to economize and produce lower priced cars, but their reputation suffered further. By the mid-fifties, Packard purchased Studebaker hoping to broaden their customer base, but had failed to recognize the financial pit that Studebaker itself was in. Trying to resuscitate the two troubled brands, the result was rebadged Studebaker cars, termed “Packardbakers” by some. The last cars bearing the Packard nameplate were produced for the 1958 model year. Studebaker struggled on, but dropped the Packard name from its register when the Avanti model was introduced in 1962.
1948-50 Packard - illuminated (2 ea)
In the 1930s, Tacoma, WA lumberman T.A. Peterman needed a faster way to transport timber to his mill than rafting them down the river. He began purchasing military surplus trucks and rebuilding them for the job of hauling logs by road. The scheme was successful and by 1939 he began selling his log trucks to the public. The original Peterbilt plant was in Oakland, CA.
After Peterman’s death in 1944 the manufacturing business was bought by seven company employees, but the property remained with his widow. In 1958 Mrs. Peterman decided to sell the property for development of a shopping center, so the company was sold to Pacific Car and Foundry (later Paccar) which had already acquired the Kenworth brand. The bird in flight hood ornament was introduced in 1958 with the introduction of the tilt-hood Model 358.
In 1980 Peterbilt manufacturing was relocated to a state-of-the-art plant in Denton, TX, followed in 1992 by their corporate head office. Both Pete and KW use Paccar power trains and are considered premium big-rig brands.