Many people agree that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If that is true, it is exemplified among car enthusiasts. Many believe that a beautiful car can improve your life. To those who take emotional value in their cars, “beauty is power,” as John Ray said. That applies to cars as often, that beauty adds to the handling ability of a vehicle as well as the power that vehicle holds over others who see it.
As Edward G. Bulwer-Litton suggested, “In life, as in art, the beautiful moves in curves.” Never is that more apparent than in the sensual architecture of truly well-crafted automobiles. According to many top automotive industry designers, beauty is about emotionally engaging the public with a design, a feel and personality of a car. Most often, that design comes with a car right off the line, but to many, it comes with customization to make over the vehicle artistically and aesthetically as the owner envisions it.
Car owners can make their cars cooler. They can make their cars beasts for the street. They can improve style and performance and they can do these things in various ways from adding performance-boosting components, to body panels and exterior accouterments to interior niceties.
When going for exterior enhancements, the first thing many customizers go for is the grillework or the hood. As an automobile hood is arguably the body panel encompassing the largest surface area, and the one that comes at the public while it is in the driver’s view, a component often demands attention and customization.
Hood customization serves various purposes. One plus is improving performance by reducing heat using louvers, vents or air scoops to adding even more air intake with ram-air systems. Other pluses can be increasing aerodynamics, and a major upside it creating just the look the car owner wants.
If your car didn’t come with the hood you dreamed of, or if it is an older car that demands just the right look of yesteryear custom hoods may be the way to go. Before going shopping, it is more than simply a hood that customizes the look. All of the accessories associated with a hood are involved as well. That includes hood scoops, hood vents, dress-up kits, hood pins, latches, hinges and hardware.
Then there are the materials that make up hoods. While basic hoods are typically constructed from steel or aluminum, after-market hoods can be made from such popular materials as carbon fiber, fiberglass, or polyurethane, and each has its high points or drawbacks.
As to what makes a hood “hot,” that truly is in the eye of the beholder, but some of the most popular after-market bonnets include the following. Many have a muscle car or sports car feel, but a large amount are tailored for Jeep modification and Jeep owners are among the top hood customizers.
Ford Racing Carbon Fiber Hood
Pulled from the Ford Racing design team, these give your vehicle an aggressive Mustang racing look. You can add a Mustang cowl hood, and Cobra R hood or a ram air hood that are lighter than stock hoods. Ford Racing provides fiberglass and steel construction as well as hoods made of made of carbon fiber. You get style and substance with this engineering.
There are also tons of representations of carbon fiber and fiberglass hoods for that Corvette look. While many car owners want to customize, there is a real trend among Jeep owners to beautify their off-road beasts for the street.
Smittybilt SRC Stingray vented
If you are more outdoorsy and Jeep-oriented, but Corvette is your go-to look, Smittybilt’s Stingray vented hood that can give your JK (Wrangler) a sportier look. Gearing toward safety, these steel hoods are constructed with factory crumple zones, and providing substance, they keep your Jeep cooler with an 8.7mm thick underbody insulation mat. Smittybilt also makes straight and off-road Wrangler hoods and kits.
Another Jeep hood maker is Crown Automotive, specializing in vintage Wrangler parts from 1987-1995 Wranglers to Jeep CJ-5s to CJ-8s, ranging from 1955 to 1986. Their hoods are made from for functionality and durability. These unparalleled hoods are created as replacement parts and feature direct OE fit design with pre-drilled mounting holes for easy installation.
If you just want to accessorize your hood, Rugged Ridge makes hoods and dress up kits that are also oriented to Jeep. Constructed out of stamped steel, they are designed for improved air flow and come in black, ready for paint. Rugged Ridge hoods are injection molded for precision fit.
Regardless of your focus – street vehicle or off-road – there are plenty of ways to customize your ride and it may begin with what’s right there in front of you … your hood.