Open Menu
Open Menu

Trinkets, doodads and geegaws for display… forever

Published in

Here are just a few examples of the things I’ve acquired over the years. Photography by author.

Over the past few years I’ve blogged about vintage tools, dash gauges, and other car parts that could be collected to use for their intended purpose in a car or simply displayed to invoke feelings of nostalgia in those who view them. Their dual purpose has always interested me and it keeps me searching for more. This time, however, the subject matter will be a little different, as you may have surmised from the title. None of these low-dollar or free “collectibles” are going to make my cars go faster, last longer or look shinier.


Let’s not forget the decals. None of these were used in the vintage decal blog I did back in August, because at the time I had misplaced the folder I keep them in. Also, plenty of them aren’t vintage anyway, so they wouldn’t have worked for that blog.

Most of these items fall more under the category of promotional. Others, cross-marketing—using the brand recognition of one product to sell another that’s completely different—like Thom McAn GTO shoes or in this case, Avon aftershave in a bottle with a top that resembles a 1933 Pontiac radiator cap ornament featuring Chief Pontiac. Avon said of its design, “Its strong sculptured features suggest the determination, intelligence, and courage of the infamous Indian Chief for whom the car was named.” Inside was Tai Winds aftershave, but it was long gone when I spotted this bottle with its familiar symbol on top at a local swap meet and paid $2 for it. Of course it serves no other purpose than for display, and that’s exactly how it’s used.

I’ve collected plenty of automotive-related minutia over the years like pins, keychains, magnets, dash plaques, decals and the like from car shows, trade shows and swap meets. Some were giveaways and others I purchased just because I thought that they were interesting.


These aren’t all of the decals either, just a sampling.

The one thing that they all have in common, however, is that I can’t seem to part with any of them. I don’t know if it’s a car guy thing or simply a hoarder trait that I’ve developed, but I keep them and display some of them. Other’s that aren’t displayed due to lack of a good space and are kept in a small wooden box not unlike a 12-year old kid who keeps his prized possessions in a cigar box under his bed. Okay, so the box isn’t under my bed and the contents are not prized that much, but you get the idea.

For some reason if it has a car-related logo or symbol on it, I have to keep it. Has this happened to any of you? Tell us what little auto-related trinkets you’ve collected over the years.