There’s two of them, they’re large, round, and you can’t help staring with your mouth half open as they pass by–there’s nothing like a set of robust Dagmars to accent your classic’s front end. When grille teeth, or tube grilles just aren’t cutting it, customizing your bumper/grille assembly with a fine set of chromed torpedoes can really add that finishing touch. Ever wonder where these mesmerizing modifications got their name?
Dagmar was the persona of a 1950s sensation–born Virginia Ruth Egnor, this gorgeous blonde was an American actress, model, and television personality. According to Wikipedia, “As a statuesque, busty blonde, she became the first major female star of television, receiving much press coverage during that decade.”
After her marriage to Angelo Lewis in 1941 the newlyweds moved to New York. While there, Virginia adopted the name Jenny Lewis and became a fashion photographer’s model. From 1944 to the end of the decade Virginia performed on broadway, motivated by the encouragement from her fellow models.
It was in 1950 when Virginia was hired by Jerry Lester for NBC’s first late-night show,Broadway Open House, that she was given the name Dagmar. According to Life, “Lester devised the name as a satirical reference following the huge success on television of the TV series Mama, in which the younger sister, Dagmar Hansen, was portrayed by Robin Morgan.”
On Broadway Open House, Virginia adopted the persona of a dim-witted blondie with a busty figure. “Virginia was instructed to wear a low-cut gown, sit on a stool, and play the role of a dumb blonde. With tight sweaters displaying her curvy 5-ft 8-inch figure (measuring 42”-23”-39”), her dim-bulb character was an immediate success, soon attracting more attention than Lester.”
Virginia’s glowing personality, dedication to her craft, and her astonishing figure lent itself to what we as car guys know today as the Dagmar bumper. It was a staple in Cadillac, Buick, Chevy, and Packard designs–just to name a few–during the 50s. Today Dagmars are sought out in the kustom world to add some “weight” and boldness to a front end setup.
So, next time you’re looking to drop a set of big rounds onto your kustom or classic restoration, remember to thank the one and only, original Dagmar.
Article courtesy of the Rod Authority, written by Andrew Almazan.