What do you think of when you think of performance? Engine size perhaps, or maybe the low burble of a great exhaust note. Cars come in many shapes and sizes but it wasn’t until the late 1960’s that designers really started to encompass one performance feature that in my mind stands out – the hood scoop. We all know that one component of making an engine run is clean air flow. There is however one inherent problem with this, that being the hood that sits atop your engine bay and restricts the air from getting in. In the 1960’s designers began experimenting with new hood ideas that were designed to make the entrance of air more accessible and in the process, created some of the most radical designs we’ve ever seen. You can see remnants of these designs in some modern cars, but today they are more show than go. Here are 10 hood designs that are not only amazing looking, but fully functional. Wouldn’t it be great if manufactures actually started designing like this again.
1. The Air Grabber from Plymouth
This is one of the coolest features that has ever been put on a production automobile. The Air Grabber is an articulating vent that is controlled by a vacuum switch under the dash. Hit the switch and the scoop on the hood opens up letting more air into the carburetor, hit it again and it will close right up. The best part however are the sharks teeth graphics that adorn it.
2. The Tear Drop from Ford
These hoods can now be found on all manner of vintage muscle car, but to my knowledge Ford was the first one on the block with this design.
3. The Shaker from Chrysler
Probably one of the most recognizable, as well as one of the most functional scoops on the market, the “SHAKER” from Chrysler is a truly iconic design. One look tells you the car wearing it means business and the fact that these things literally did rumble back and forth confirmed that this was no simple bolt on accessory.
4. Cowl Induction from Chevrolet
This was a similar set-up to Plymouth’s Air Grabber only not as pronounced. The cowl mechanism worked in much the same way as the Chrysler unit but was located up against the firewall of the vehicle.
5. The Ferrari 575 Maranello
Leave it to the Italians to transform the hood scoop into a thing of sheer beauty. Not only was Ferrari able to maintain the beauty that is the 575 Maranello, but they incorporated one of the most iconic performance features into the body lines while keeping the elegance that Ferrari is known for.
6. The Lift-off Hood by Plymouth
Before you make a comment understand first off what this car is. You are looking at an 1969 M-Code Plymouth Road Runner. This was literally a stripped down car that was built to go racing and sold to the general public through dealers. There were no hood hinges, so you literally popped off the safety pins, grabbed two buddies and lifted the hood off the car. This gave you full access to the engine bay and with no obstructions, made performance tweaking much easier.
7. Oldsmobile Dual Snorkel
Oldsmobile was looking for a way to jazz up their hot rod executive coupe, the Cutlass 442. Racing stripes and functional ram-air scoops helped them complete the package nicely.
8. Pontiac Trans Am Shaker
Like Chrysler before them, Pontiac decided to jump on the shaker hood scoop bandwagon in the early 1970’s. Smaller and narrower than the shakers from Chrysler, Pontiac’s scoop was no less functional and helped give the Trans Am that real performance look and feel.
9. 2008 Shelby Super Snake
Take your garden variety Mustang Shelby GT500 and add $27,000 on top of the original price. For that you get an extra 200hp, brakes, wheels, exhaust and one very cool ram-air style hood. While I’m not a big fan of these cars there is no denying that there was serious thought given to the design of that hood.
10. Pontiac Firebird Formula 400
Big, pronounced and in your face, the Formula 400 was the performance model that was slated in between the standard Firebird and the burly Trans Am. Every bit a street rod, the 400 set itself apart with those big bullnose scoops that told the guy next to you to be very cautious when the light turns green.