The CCCA Museum’s extraordinary collection of nearly 700 mascots has been individually photographed and is now available for viewing on our website here . This collection was generously donated in 1996 and 1998 by CCCA charter member, Marvin Tamaroff.
It was an Englishman who first thought of a mascot for his vehicle. On the dash of his 1896 four-cylinder Daimler, Lord Montagu of Beaulier placed a bronze statuette of St. Christopher, patron saint of travelers. The mascot idea quickly caught fire. By the turn of the century, examples could be purchased in fine jewelry shops and a few accessory stores. Motorcar owners did not necessarily ascribe to the mascot selected for them by the manufacturer for their vehicles. Often they preferred one of their own which more specifically reflected their taste, their lifestyle – or their station. The earliest dated American mascot design was a small gnome-like fellow called “Gobbo, God of Good Luck” whose likeness was copyrighted by L. V. Aronson in March 1909. According to William C. Williams, in Motoring Mascots of the World, Aronson was also responsible for the graceful diving girl “Speed Nymph,” which hit the marketplace in 1910. (Examples of both are in the Museum’s collection).
Eventually, mascots were located on the caps of the exposed radiator in the very front of cars. Some were “official” manufacturer mascots, for instance the “Flying Lady” for Rolls Royce, while others added personal distinction. All types of figures, animals, and symbols were attached to owner’s radiator caps. Once radiators were enclosed under the hood of a car, the radiator cap adornments became hood ornaments (mascots) on the front of cars. Among today’s production cars the traditional mascot survives only on the likes of Rolls-Royce, Mercedes and Brooks Stevens’ Excalibur.
The Museum’s collection includes rare, mostly European, priceless works of art, many of which are one-of-a-kind, dating back to the earliest days of motoring. Many were commissioned and are signed works by sculptors Aubert, Renevey, Eastbough, Monier and Bazin. There are beautiful women with flowing tresses along with various birds and animals depicting speed and graceful movement. Other animals and mythological characters that display strength and mystery are also exhibited. Customized designs include cats, dogs, elephants, women, men, children and World War soldiers as well as airplanes, yachts, cars, golf balls, wheels, globes, and auto emblems.