The hood scoop, a key piece of automotive design for the last 70 or so years, does more than just look cool. It helps performance cars, from Subaru WRXs to Ram TRXs, go faster and run cooler.
But in the age of electric vehicles, the popular appendage is headed for the automotive design history book.
It’s not that car buyers are tired of hood scoops, which over the years have risen to iconic status on some vehicles — such as the Pontiac GTO and Trans Am, many Dodge and Plymouth muscle cars and even some Ferraris.
The history of the hood scoop can be viewed in three eras:
- Late 1940s to mid-’60s, when the stylized slits, slots, vents and flaps on the hood were used to channel cool air into the engine bay.
- Late ’60s to the early ’90s saw many hood scoops feeding air directly into the engine via the carburetor or the fuel injection system. Some were nonfunctional design elements.
- Mid-’90s to present, hood scoops are used to help turbocharged vehicles deliver more power by routing air to the turbo’s intercooler, which helps create cooler, denser air for more power.
The heyday of the hood scoop is ending because the aerodynamic drag it creates reduces the distance an EV can drive between charges. Every inch of range matters to automakers battling to sell EVs.
Here’s a look at some of the classic hood scoops of the internal combustion era.