Vintage “Beauty-Flash” Hood Ornament

I love vintage automotive accessories, and this “Beauty-flash” is one I hadn’t seen before. It is a light-weight aftermarket hood ornament and it is very long, over 23 inches in length. The box indicates it was made by a company called Knight-Morley.

I hadn’t heard of Knight-Morley, either, and I guess that is because they weren’t around very long. In 1953, the company fired some employees that walked off the job in a dispute over safety conditions, namely heat and dust. Other employees went on strike to protest the firings, and they were let go, too. The company was accused of unfair labor practices and eventually had to pay the employees back-pay of approximately $66,000. In the meantime, however, the business was sold to C.M. Hall Lamp Co., and that business moved operations from Detroit to North Carolina.

I found this advertisement for the Beauty-flash in a 1949 newspaper:

Other items advertised alongside the Beauty-flash in this same ad include an auto desk, a man’s size ash tray and a DIY body-fender tool kit. All things you don’t see anymore!

A 1934 Bank Robbery With A Ford V8 Getaway Car


On a Saturday morning in September, 1934, the First National Bank in Holdrege, Nebraska, was robbed by three men carrying automatics. Customers and employees were herded behind the bank counter and ordered to line up, facing the wall, with their hands in the air.  It was reported that the bandits worked with “a desperate air,” swearing continuously and threatening murder with frequency.

Both customers and bank officials were taken hostage, some inside the Ford getaway car and some perched on the running boards to discourage anyone from firing weapons at the fleeing robbers.  The hostages were released a few blocks away, and the bandits hightailed it out of town.  The car was described as a “newer” Ford sedan with stolen plates, red trim and yellow wire wheels.  It also had a V8 engine, and that means it was soon long gone.  The local sheriff found evidence that the robbers had put the Ford in the ditch while taking a corner too quickly, and a farmer reported that the car had hurtled past his farm shortly after the robbery and had narrowly missed crashing into cattle crossing the road, but that’s the last anyone saw of it. Thieves matching their description, right down to the vigorous swearing, did continue to strike banks throughout the area during the following months, however.

1933 at Pioneer Village in Minden, Nebraska.

Hilariously, the opportunistic local car dealership saw the whole affair as a way to hype their line of Fords:

The Ford V8 was the engine of choice for bad guys in the 1930s, and law enforcement had no choice but to respond in kind. For more on the topic:

A Grand Christmas Gift (for Law Enforcement)

Arsenals On Wheels


1932 at Pioneer Village in Minden, Nebraska.


“Bandit Hunt Spreads Over Two States.” The Holdrege Citizen, 24 Sept 1934, p. 1.

“Citizens Pursue Kearney Bandits.” Nebraska State Journal, 4 Oct 1934, p. 1.

“First National Bank Loses Five Thousand To Three Holdups.” The Holdrege Progress, 27 Sept 1934, p. 1.

Holdrege Motor Company. Advertisement. The Holdrege Citizen, 24 Sept 1934, p. 3.

“Robber Quartet Loots Holdrege Bank Of $5,000.” Evening State Journal [Lincoln], 22 Sept 1934, p. 1.

“Superior Robbery Fifth Bank Job In State, Two Months.” The Holdrege Citizen, 23 Nov 1934, p. 1.

Barney Oldfield In His Own Words, Circa 1911

Barney Oldfield at the Tacoma Speedway Races in July of 1915.

I have wanted to write something about legendary race car driver Barney Oldfield for some time, but I don’t think I can do better than his own words. I found this interview with Oldfield from 1911, and it is such an absorbing account that I am just going to present it as written. Note that it starts out with the question, “Is the game worth the candle?” I had to look that one up. It is a saying that originated when people had to illuminate with candles when gambling after dark, so the potential winnings had to be sufficient to warrant the expense of the candles. Oldfield also refers to a pilot named Hoxsey and Colonel Roosevelt. He is referring to Arch Hoxsey, the pilot who took President Theodore Roosevelt for a flight and made Roosevelt the first American president to fly in an airplane. Hoxsey died tragically in a plane crash a few months later, but Oldfield lived until retirement and beyond, not dying until 1946, so I guess, for Barney Oldfield, the game was worth the candle.

A Baby Nash, Featuring The “Foreign Look”

This adorable turquoise and white Metropolitan was sold at a recent auction in our area:

This is a 1958 model, but the Metropolitan was first introduced by Nash in 1954 after 11 years of research in the small-car field.  It was not intended to replace the family car but to “provide a discriminating answer for the suburban housewife” as a second car.  The diminutive Metropolitan had a wheelbase of only 85 inches, an overall length of 149.5”, width of 61.5” and height of 54.5”. 

In order to keep production costs down, Nash farmed out the manufacture of the Metropolitan to Austin in Birmingham, England.  It was initially powered by the A-40, a 4-cylinder OHV 42-hp Austin engine, had a top speed of around 80 mph and achieved 40 mpg at “normal highway speeds”. The A-40 was replaced by the larger 52-hp A-50 in 1956.

In 1954, the hardtop sold for $1445 and the convertible for $1469.  The Metropolitan incorporated many of the styling details of the full-size Nash automobiles, but was said to feature “the foreign look” (as if that were a good thing) while still being built to American standards.

The Metropolitan survived Nash’s merger with Hudson and the creation of the American Motors Corporation, but it’s styling was dated by the time the 1960s rolled around and the last Metropolitans were sold in 1962.


“Nash Motors Unveils New Small Car.”  The Chattanooga Times, 18 March 1954, p. 45.

“Nash Motors Unveils the Metropolitan.”  The Selma Times-Journal, 21 March 1954, p. 25.

“Nash Offers Newest Small Car.”  The Miami News, 19 March 1954, p. 20-A.

“Nash Unveils 40 Miles Per Gallon Model.” Pittsburgh Sun Telegraph, 18 March 1954, p. 8.

“New Nash Metropolitan Features Economy, Ruggedness, Fine Styling.” The Knoxville Journal, 18 March 1954, p. 12.

“New U.S. Cars Combine Beauty, Style, Economy.” The Iola Register, 11 March 1954, p. 12.