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1987: Hood ornaments offer fast fashion

Posted at 6:00 AM, Apr 28, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS — Hood ornaments were vanishing from Hoosier autos by the thousands 35 years ago. The hood hardware was a hot accessory for Hoosier youths in 1987.

“We’ve got a lot of people wearing them around their neck,” said an employee at an Indiana Cadillac dealership.

When asked how many hood ornaments the dealership sold in the first five months of 1987, the employee told former WRTV reporter David Klugh a whopping 392.

“That’s for all Cadillacs,” said the employee. “That’s about 8 or 9 times greater than normal.”

It was the same story at a Mercedes-Benz dealership. It reported selling 350 replacement hood ornaments in the same time frame.

According to Klugh’s report, the stolen hood ornaments were also being used as belt buckles.

“It’s so easy for them to go out and steal one, why would they come in here and pay $25 for an ornament?” said an employee at a Ford, Lincoln and Mercury dealership.

Replacement hood ornaments ranged from $20-80.

According to several published police blotters, the five-fingered fashionistas also snatched hardware from Datsuns and Oldsmobiles.

Throwback Fact Check

WRTV's Ray Steele revisited the 1980s to see if the claims made in the original 1987 WRTV report stand the test of time.

Here’s what he found.

Throwback Fact Check: Were hood ornaments really worn as fashion accessories?