Fuzzy Dice Began as a Good Luck Charm and Reminder of the Dangers of War

A pair of fuzzy dice hanging from a rearview mirror is one of the most iconic car accessories. Today, fuzzy dice are used for style and might have no specific meaning to the owner, but that wasn’t always the case. Visible dice in vehicles used to mean a driver liked to live dangerously. And before that, dice in cars had an even more dangerous connotation. 

Accessories add a personal touch to a car

fuzzy dice
Fuzzy dice | Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Car accessories like fuzzy dice allow drivers to personalize their cars. Something as simple as a bumper sticker can show off a driver’s hometown, alma mater, or favorite sports team. CarLashes, giant plastic eyelashes that attach to a vehicle’s headlights, might seem silly to some people, but to others, these aesthetic modifications give a car a more feminine look and express the driver’s personality. 

Other accessories are more functional. For instance, dashcams can provide video evidence of what happened if a driver has a collision. And chargers and other products can be useful to EV owners.

Some car accessories become popular because of trends, but fuzzy dice have remained beloved long after their initial surge. Their history is long, and fuzzy dice began in a very different place from where they ended up.

World War II fighter pilots popularized fuzzy dice

Dice are a fairly universal symbol of gambling and luck. Some rolls of the dice bring a fortune, and others take it away. That’s why they became a go-to accessory for fighter pilots in World War II.

According to Erie Insurance, pilots put dice on their instrument panels as a reminder of the dangers they faced. Fighter pilots knew the risks each time they flew, and the dice served as a good luck charm. Coming back unscathed was a successful roll of the dice.

When pilots returned home from the war, some displayed the dice in their cars. That’s when the dangerous gambling spirit of the dice entered a new phase: hot rod culture.

Fuzzy dice became a symbol of street racing

The postwar boom made a significant impact on the automotive industry, and one development was the rise of hot rod culture and street racing. It’s not hard to see how former pilots got involved in the racing scene. They were accustomed to living on the edge, and their mechanical insights translated well from planes to hot rods.

Many street racers hung dice from their rearview mirrors. The dice continued to symbolize an understanding of the risks of danger they faced in World War II. According to legend, drivers with dice hanging in their cars were ready to race. At this time, the dice hung in hot rods were still plastic, and it would take time for the accessory to have the widespread appeal that led to fuzzy dice. 

As decades passed, the popularity of fuzzy dice expanded until the accessory was no longer associated with the dangers of war. Liveaboutdotcom states that by the 1990s, drivers with dice hanging from their mirrors were no riskier than drivers without them. Fuzzy dice went from being a statement of one’s comfort with risk-taking to an everyday style accessory. 

Fuzzy dice hanging from a car’s rearview mirror are no longer associated with street racing, but they still make great accessories. A classic hot rod at a car show feels almost incomplete without the iconic dice.

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