The dashboard doll has become a staple car accessory for many years, mainly due to the fact that the decoration adds a bit of flair for vehicles while also serving as a stress reliever whenever drivers look at it during heavy traffic. Along with the car mirror fuzzy dice, the dashboard doll can be seen in many cars and trucks today, and the tradition of putting these decorations on vehicles will not fade away as long as passengers and drivers enjoy looking at them.
The most popular kind of dashboard doll out of all is arguably the hula girl figure, which usually has springs on its legs to make it dance while the car is moving. While it is the most famous dashboard doll, not many people know how it became a car decoration. To understand how it had been instrumental in the creation of other dashboard decorations in the market, here is a brief history of the hula girl doll.
Hula Girl Doll Origins
Nobody knows who invented the hula girl figure, but it is a fact that the doll started becoming quite popular among the tourists visiting Hawaii during the 1900s. Some people who frequently visit Hawaii would often collect as many hula girl dolls as they can, and they would often give some of these dolls to their friends and family, who will eventually start collecting them as well.
The dolls that were created in the 1920s to the 1930s were said to be hand-painted and were hand-sculpted using bisque, a type of porcelain that isn’t shiny and instead has a matte finish. Besides bisque, another material used for making hula girl dolls is redware, which has a reddish-brown color that is supposed to replicate the typical skin color of Hawaiians. There are still hula girl figures that are made with these materials today, but the most common dolls are now made of plastic.
It is essential to note that the hula girl dolls did not have springs to make them dance during that time, and it is only in the 1950s when the iconic feature was added into the figures. It was also in the 1950s when American soldiers who participated in World War II bought hundreds of hula girl dolls as a souvenir and remembrance for their time in the war.
After the soldiers brought the dolls home, they tried placing it on the dashboard of their vehicles and saw that the dancing hula girl figures were enjoyable and relaxing to look at. The soldiers then recommended their friends and loved ones to place the dashboard doll in their cars, and the decoration soon became a hit in the United States and eventually around the world.
The Best Dashboard Dolls
Along with the hula girl figure, there are now more than a hundred different dashboard dolls to choose from. Here are some of the best-looking ones we found online.
The first one on the list is the most iconic dashboard doll, the Leilani Hula figure by KC Hawaii. Depicted in the dashboard doll is a woman named Leilani, who is playing the ukulele while dressed is the typical hula outfit. Besides the ukulele figure, the Leilani character is also represented in another dashboard doll made by KC Hawaii that has her placing a flower on her head.
If you want to celebrate Mexican culture or just adore the appearance of sugar skulls, then the Day of the Dead Sugar Skull Man may be the right dashboard doll for you. The Skull Man doll is painted in a bone-color to emulate the color of real skulls, and it also has a large head that bobbles around if you push or pull it. The bobblehead is also available in black that has a variety of colors that highlight the usual decorations found on sugar skulls.
Another dashboard doll made by KC Hawaii, this figure features an anthropomorphic shark wearing a hula outfit and sunglasses on the beach. At the bottom of the doll’s stand is an adhesive sticker that you can use to stick the figure on your car’s dashboard. However, you might have to replace that sticker after a few months because it might lose its adhesiveness due to heat.
Made by Funko, the creators of the popular Pop series of figures, the Dancing Groot doll depicts a happy Baby Groot that has a bobblehead to make him look like he is dancing. It is significantly larger than the KC Hawaii figures, which makes it more noticeable for passengers at the back of your car. Unfortunately, you would have to buy adhesive stickers for it since it doesn’t have one at the bottom of its stand.
The JIMMY’S TOYS Emoji Car Dashboard Bobble Smiling Face Dolls has eight dashboard dolls that have different emoji expressions placed on the figures’ faces. In addition, the dolls have springs on their bodies to make them move around like bobblehead figures. Since there are eight dolls included in each package, you can give the others to your family members and friends if you only need one for your car, or you could just display them all as long as it doesn’t obstruct your view on the road.
Like the SOJUFOG, the Vanki Cute Dogs has not only one, but six figures that can be used as a decoration for your car’s dashboard. There are different breeds featured in the Vanki Cute Dogs, so the dolls are more special if you have a dog that is the same breed as one of the dogs found in the package.
The YGMONEY Dancing Cactus is a solar-powered doll that will keep on dancing as long as the sun still shines. Since the doll is powered by the sun, there is no need for people to place batteries inside the figure, making it a safer decoration than battery-operated dashboard dolls. YGMONER also produces other solar-powered dashboard dolls like the Soldier, the Beach Girl, and the Unicorn.
If you like cats, then getting a Batty Bargains Bobblehead Kitten may be the best decoration to represent your love for felines in your car. The Batty Bargains figure will keep on nodding as long as the car keeps moving, and its expression while its head bobbles is truly calming to look at during stressful moments on the road. Also, it already has an adhesive pad at the bottom, so you wouldn’t have to buy a double-sided tape to place this figure on your dashboard.
The last dashboard doll made by KC Hawaii on the list, the Mini Kauai Rooster Doll presents a funny-looking rooster that is wearing a hula outfit and dances around while you are driving. Like all the other dolls made by KC Hawaii, the rooster figure has an adhesive bottom base to help it stay on your dashboard securely.
If you like alien movies or horror flicks, the best dashboard doll you can place as a decoration on your car is the Airhawk Dashboard Monster Figure, which features a weird creature with four eyes and two crab-like claws. Each eye and arm has a spring so that it can move around independently, but the bottom part of the creature has a larger spring to make it dance like a hula girl figure.
These are just a few of the best dashboard dolls in the market in terms of appearance, but if you don’t like the looks of the figures we mentioned above, then feel free to search around the internet for the perfect dashboard doll for you. If you think that dashboard dolls can be too distracting to place in your car, you can still use it as a nice decoration in the living room or your bedroom.