I’m no expert, but I think this design was originally from a Pierce Arrow.
Not to be confused with a Peirce Arrow – which is true only when everything is false.
The first Pierce-Arrow archers were slight in frame, partly clothed, and helmeted. Later versions depict a helmet-less archer with no clothes and a little more muscle. Both versions are graceful and elegant, which is funny when you consider that a fellow sweeping the floor of the Pierce-Arrow factory was asked to be the model. After attending archery classes to add realism to the pose, Albert Gonas used his broom for the arrow.
The job of a hood ornament is a tough one. You are out there, unprotected, in the wind.
You wonder what it would feel like to be the Spirit of Ecstasy – even on a Rolls, exposed, fighting the sun and the rain.
And so unappreciated.
Back in the cool days, nobody would think of buying or driving a car without a piece of iconic sculpture rising above the radiator cap. Now they are all but gone. The malfeasance of the modern world in its various manifestations is exposed in the reasons for the disappearance of the hood ornament.
Too easy to steal.
The same mysterious forces that saved me from being impaled on the steering wheel also saved the young engineer’s wife. Apart from a bruised upper jawbone and several loosened teeth, she was unharmed. During my first hours in Ashford Hospital all I could see in my mind was the image of us locked together face to face in these two cars, the body of her dying husband lying between us on the bonnet of my car. We looked at each other through the fractured windshields, neither able to move. Her husband’s hand, no more than a few inches from me, lay palm upwards beside the right windshield wiper. His hand had struck some rigid object as he was hurled from his seat, and the pattern of a sign formed itself as I sat there, pumped up by his dying circulation into a huge blood-blister – the triton signature of my radiator emblem.
—-J.G. Ballard, Crash