10 Most Murderous Hood Ornaments In Automotive History

Hood ornaments have mostly disappeared, and there's really only one reason: Historically, they've probably the least-safe aspect of any automobile's exterior design, especially from a pedestrian's perspective. For every sword-like swatch of chrome striking towards the future in the eyes of the designer, there's an innocent victim out there missing an eye—and that's the best-case scenario.

Let's take a quick look at the most murderous hood ornaments in history.

1. Jaguar Leaper

Jaguar Leaper hood ornament

Jaguar really didn't pull any punches with its famous Leaper, that springing silver cat aimed straight at one of your internal organs as you attempt to make it safely through the crosswalk. Bonus points to Jag for not only streamlining the shape of its chromed spirit animal for maximum penetration, but also for giving it ACTUAL TEETH that will no doubt cause the coroner to sigh deeply as they write up the accident report.

Impale-O-Scale Rating: 8/10

2. Rolls-Royce Spirit of Ecstasy

Rolls-Royce Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament

More like the Spirit of Murder. One of the few life-threatening hood ornaments to carry on into the current era, this now-crystallized lady is perfectly positioned to snag you on the way down, gaffe-style, after you've been hurtled into the air by the flat coffin-nose of any of Rolls-Royce's modern luxo-machines. It's also worth noting that modern iterations of this ornament retract automatically into the grille surround at the touch of a button, making it easy for ultra-rich perps to hide the weapon.

Impale-O-Scale Rating: 6/10

3. Mercury's Entire 1950s

Mercury hood ornament

Ahh, Mercury. When your brand is named after a winged god of speed, it only makes sense to embody that aerodynamic principle in the various design elements that make up your vehicles. For the period immediately after World War II, and throughout the '50s, Mercury would mine the Jet Age for skull-piercing designs that only grew more pointed as time went on. By the middle of the decade, perfection had been achieved with the fighter-style trident that perched at the front of the car—a clear callout to stablemate Lincoln's similar designs—and few could argue with its body count.

Impale-O-Scale Rating: 10/10

4. Pierce Arrow Archer

Pierce Arrow Archer hood ornament

The Pierce Arrow Archer one-ups Jaguar's murder-feline by making the centerpiece of its hood styling a man aiming an actual bow and arrow straight at neck-height of whoever happens to be passing in front of the classic luxury machine. Make no mistake, that Arrow will Pierce your jugular and leave you bleeding out on the asphalt. It's paired well with the shin-crushing sweeper bumper outfitted to most Pierce Arrow models.

Impale-O-Scale Rating: 9/10

5. Chevrolet Bel Air

Chevrolet Bel Air hood ornament

Imagine Mercury's Jet-paler ornament if it had been given eviscerating fins and a blunted nail-punch at the tip. 1955 was the worst offender, but while the Bel Air's ornament got more bird-like in the following years, it certainly didn't lose any of its "sorry I smashed your orbital bone" menace.

Impale-O-Scale Rating: 10/10

6. Duesenberg Model J

Duesenberg Model J hood ornament

Some hood ornaments rely on ram-rodding their way into your sternum in a bid to snuff out your existence. Others, like the one that outfitted to the Duesenberg Model J at the end of the 1920s and early 1930s, are sharp enough to break the skin should you merely brush up against them while walking by. This is the Art Deco equivalent of razor wire.

Impale-O-Scale Rating: 11/10

7. Packard Goddess of Speed

Packard Goddess of Speed hood ornament

Also known as the "donut chaser," a more apt nickname might have been the "ambulance chaser" for the amount of blood, tears and injury that Packard's Goddess of Speed has brought into this world. That flying donut pose is perfect for slicing into mortal flesh before the trailing serrated wings do exit wound damage that wouldn't look out of place on a battlefield. Packard's got you covered coming and going here.

Impale-O-Scale Rating: 10/10

8. Nash Metropolitan Flying Lady

Nash Metropolitan Flying Lady hood ornament

Every group of injurious hood ornaments has to have a brawler mixed in somewhere, and here it's the Flying Lady affixed to the front of the Nash Metropolitan. She may look peaceful and serene floating on a silver wave of steel at the front of Nash's pint-size bath tub, but beware, as the Flying Lady is nothing more than a set of chromed brass knuckles intended to connect with your ribcage.

Impale-O-Scale Rating: 6/10
Bonus Blunt Force Trauma Rating: 9/10

9. Buick Super 8 Bombsight

Buick Super 8 Bombsight hood ornament

Does it get any more blatant than naming your hood ornament the "Bombsight?" How about surrounding its dart-like tip with actual crosshairs to maximum accuracy when picking off pedestrians? Buick experimented with nearly a decade of increasingly-lethal hood hardware in a constant bid to up the ante on the mean streets of Detroit.

Impale-O-Scale Rating: 8/10

10. Plymouth Mayflower

Plymouth Mayflower hood ornament

Plymouth's stylish and heritage-inspired Mayflower hood ornament is the stealth entry on our list of motorized murder implements. At first, its curved leading edge makes you feel safe and protected—and sure, there are certain iterations of the Mayflower that even look like they've got a protective arch covering all the pointy bits. In 1949, however, Mercury decided it was time to take the gloves off and added trailing fins to the once-sleek ship to fishhook you onto the hood forever so that the homicidal maniac behind the wheel could securely drive you to their secret lair for later dismemberment.

Impale-O-Scale Rating: 6/10
Bonus Hooked Like A Flounder Rating: 8/10

Not all hood ornaments are out to get you. Flip through this gallery of the ones we love most.

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