The cartoon feline with the winning grin has been Felix Chevy’s biggest booster since the silent era. During the ’20s and ’30s, roadsters all over Los Angeles sported hood ornaments in the shape of this wonderful, wonderful cat; today license plate frames advertise the dealership with the cultural icon. The pairing started in 1923, when roadside car salesman Winslow P. Felix offered his pal, Pat Sullivan—who owned the studio that produced the Felix cartoon—the lease on a brand-new Chevy in exchange for a celebrity endorsement. Seven years ago Felix the Cat Productions struck a deal with the franchise to keep the kitty in the sky above Figueroa. Now if anyone could just find a vintage Felix hood ornament for my Beetle….
Illustration by Zohar Lazar