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Gold and Chrome, Grace and Beauty

The Race Before Us
Oklahoma Sports & Fitness, November / December 2015 Issue

When the automobile became a common and widely accepted mode of transportation, inventors around the world rushed to make them more efficient and reliable. And with the introduction of the internal combustion engine, drivers needed a way to monitor their engine’s temperature. For this reason, millions of cars featured motometers on the top of their hood. These were essentially thermometers that screwed into the radiator cap. But motometers were ugly. Soon, knobs, wings, and other ornamentation began to appear.

By the end of the 1920’s, motometers were no longer needed. The temperature gauge was now inside the dashboard, and most automakers were covering their grilles for protection. However, radiator caps were still on top of the grille, outside of the hood.

Auto owners now needed something to cover the radiator cap. Elaborate hood ornaments became very popular throughout the 30’s and 40’s, serving as a colorful method to both cover the radiator cap and give the cars a flashy finishing touch. Among the most popular were intricate animal designs, winged birds, and flying ladies.

In 1941, Cadillac introduced the most striking ornament yet, the chrome Flying Goddess. This ornament was born out of the imagination of Cadillac stylists, representing the pure beauty and grace of Cadillacs in the 30s and 40s.

Seventy years from its inception, a medal displaying the unforgettable Flying Goddess greeted finishers of the 2011 Williams Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa. And with the tenth anniversary of the event looming, the Flying Goddess is back at the request of participants. This award-winning medal serves as a perfect token for a race that celebrates not only the storied car culture, but the fabled highway that symbolized the renewed spirit of optimism for so many Americans; the highway that provided an alluring charge to “just keep going,” and discover the mysteries of what lied around the bend.

For many, running the Williams Route 66 Marathon is a time to enjoy every breath of their personal milestone. For many, the marathon, like the historic Route 66 itself, is life changing.

From the Spirit of the Kjell Tovander award, the powerful victory of stroller-pushing Freudenburg, the legendary echoes of Jack Wing, the sea of confetti at the starting line, the award-winning medals, the lure of the Center of the Universe Detour, and the electric atmosphere welcoming runners and spectators at Guthrie Green – The Williams Route 66 Marathon has established its own rich history.

When you cross the finish line of the anniversary event, a beautiful finishing touch awaits you. The Flying Goddess will hang around your neck - the perfect gauge of your effort, your desire and your will to keep going.

Sean M. Call, Publisher/Editor
Oklahoma Sports & Fitness

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