There are at least a hundred good reasons to put a hood on a car but only one to take it off. And it's not a good one, either; it's a great one: a car built the right way and with the mechanical brawn or at least the looks to back it up looks bitchin' without a hood.

But not all cars lend themselves to going without a hood. By the close of the '30s most manufacturers integrated the hood with the rest of the car's shape. To remove any piece from such a body is to break its continuity, a key element to the streamline movement that inspired those designs.

As a formally trained automotive designer, Chris Ito understands the significance of continuity. And as a hot rodder, he also understands the lure of an exposed engine. But stuck intractably between those two is a '40 Ford DeLuxe.

You could say that car's nose is greater than the sum of its parts. The grille sort of withers away into the hood, so removing it basically destroys one of the car's hallmarks: its streamlining. Or as Ito sees it, "I don't like the way it look when it just stops." So he did what came natural: he hit the sketch pad.

He concluded that the hood doesn't have to go away entirely to sufficiently expose the engine. As his sketches indicated, only the first few feet, the ones that cover up an otherwise unremarkable-looking panel and an uninspiring radiator, were needed to preserve the grille's continuity. In fact, covering those anonymous parts actually drew more attention to the subject at hand: the engine. The rest, for the most part, was unnecessary.

As luck would have it, a local resource had a deluxe hood just rough enough to cut up yet good enough in the right spots to use. "It was run over but it was perfect for what I needed because the back half was flat. I got it for $15-like I said, it was perfect."

Note that your car will likely need a hood that looks considerably different from Ito's. It's because his car is channeled, and in a novel way too: only the core of the body and not the fenders moved down. That the fender mounting points were relocated higher into the body meant a stock hood would be too tall to fit. The solution meant sectioning the hood but in the end Ito sectioned it considerably lower than the cowl itself. As the rest of the car's body is pretty low, it works, but it probably won't on a car that hasn't been channeled or sectioned.

But as the photo of Mike Small's '40 shows, there's more than one way to skin this cat. By re-shaping rather than heavily sectioning his hood top, he made his work with a stock-height cowl. But just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, talent is in the hand of the craftsman.

SOURCE
So-Cal Speed Shop
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800-343-9353
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