The Least Expensive Date You Ever Had

A few years ago my husband brought home a box of hood ornaments for my anniversary present (he knows me so well)!   Among them was this streamlined beauty:

This gorgeous gal originally flew on the hood of a Nash, and she is autographed by George Petty, the artist that designed her:

George Petty was the original American pin-up girl artist.  Petty’s career shifted into high gear after he went to work for a brand-new magazine called Esquire in 1933.  The Petty Girl became the standard in advertising and was also overwhelmingly popular with American servicemen during WWII.   Hundreds of American bombers featured a Petty Girl on the fuselage including the renowned Memphis Belle, the first bomber to return to the United States after completing 25 missions over Europe.   Ernie Pyle, famed war correspondent, wrote from Tunisia in 1943 that “Petty’s drawing of his famous girl stretched out on her stomach musing about something is tacked up in hundreds of soldier billets in North Africa.”

My hood ornament was designed for the 1950 Airflyte according to this piece from the Late Fall 1949 issue of Nash Airflyte Magazine:

It reads:  “This new Nash Flying Lady was created especially for the 1950 Airflyte (both Ambassador and Statesman models) by the famous George Petty of Petty Girl renown.  Her wide wings and soft contours, finished in heavy chrome, will add a distinctive note to your car.  You can get this stunning ornament (for any Nash Airflyte model) from your Nash dealer – she’ll be the least expensive date you ever had!”

This hood ornament was used again in 1951.  This excerpt appeared in the 1951 Nash Accessories brochure:

Petty went on to design another hood ornament for Nash, and his designs stand out even among the other beautiful and aerodynamic hood ornaments of the 1950s.   What a glorious time period it was in American automobile history, one filled with style, class and individuality.


1950 Nash
1951 Nash


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