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updated: 8/4/2014 5:01 PM

What is the deal with fuzzy dice?

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    Photos Courtesy of Prestige MotorCar Photography

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A walk around any area cruise night or car show will reveal a common auto accessory: fuzzy dice. These fun, retro throwbacks have been swinging from rearview mirrors for decades.

You've probably seen fuzzy dice displayed on everything from a souped-up hot rod to a high-powered muscle machine to a gleaming cherry classic. How did the practice become so prevalent?

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According to the common-held belief, its origin did not begin on any strip of sunbaked asphalt, but overhead in the perilous skies above war-torn Europe.

During World War II, superstitious military pilots carried many things for luck -- often a pair of playing dice. Flying in intense raids and dangerous dogfights was not for the faint of heart. Any good-luck token promising a safe return was a welcome consolation.

At war's end, veterans came home and started to participate in a different form of vehicular danger; hot rodding. It's believed dice were still used to bring luck during the high-octane, gas-pedal smashing street racing common during the 1950s and '60s.

Instead of carrying the small dotted cubes in a their pockets, it became popular for drivers to have large dice prominently displayed in their vehicles.

At the time, dashboard decorations were all the rage with hula girls, graduation tassels and even faux shrunken heads showing up inside cars.

As untamed outlaw racing moved from the streets to well-organized tracks, hanging dice became an aesthetic touch and less a needed talisman for a gamble with high-speed death.

Over the years different colors, sizes and styles have been introduced while this cool road ritual has persisted.

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