The First Postwar American Hood Scoop

Hi Gang…

Maybe I have too much time on my hands.  I ruminate about various aspects of these vintage fiberglass cars and how they were ahead of the curve in terms of what the designers of the bodies – and builders of the cars – actually achieved.  Take hood scoops, for example.  Something we tend to forget were not always part of what constituted the front of a car.

In postwar America, we saw several foreign jobs with hood scoops – an innovative feature on postwar sports cars in every way.  Force more air in the engine compartment and preferably where the carbs were to boot.  One of the first was the 1949 Ferrari 166 MM Barchetta – a beautifully designed car and a nice neat little scoop front and center.  Another foreign job with a hood scoop was the 1949 Allard J2, and you can add the stunning 1949 Healey Silverstone as well.  But what about American cars?

1949 Ferrari 166 MM Barchetta

Well first I suppose you could award the ultimate American car hoodscoop to the 1950 Studebaker.  Talk about the most aggressive and ostentacious hood scoop of all time – this would certainly be on the short list.  But…it’s more of a “grill” than a “hood scoop” so I guess you have to exclude it. So let’s move to 1951.

And now…we’re at the start year for vintage fiberglass cars.  But first the “1951 Nash Healey” comes into contention.  A beautiful scoop appointed in chrome (from what I can tell).  Nicely done.   But not purely American.  Nash-Healey, after all, was a British/American hybrid.  So we exclude this one. We’re looking for the first purely American car with a hoodscoop – right?

Enter the 1951 fiberglass sports cars – Glasspar, Lancer, and Skorpion. Let’s take the Lancer first.

The Lancer had hood scoops – on it’s later models, but not Eric Irwin’s initial 1951 Motorama car.  Close but no cigar.  No hood scoop on the Skorpion – that’s an easy one.  But what about the Glasspar G2?  Hmmmmmm.  Every picture I’ve found of the first G2 and ones photographed in early 1952 are devoid of hoodscoops.  This was a soon to be option, but apparently not for 1951.  It must have been offered on G2’s starting in 1952. So we’re off to 1952.

A flurry of cars begin to appear with hoodscoops. First, the 1952 DeSoto (although I’m not sure if it was truly functional). Next the 1952 Cunningham which surely was functional. And of course the 1952 Mercury had a hoodscoop too. And also…the American fiberglass bodied sports cars which included: Glasspar G2, Victress S1A, and Woodill Wildfire (Series 1).

1952 Victress S1A (Dick Feeney Collection)

If you look at all of the 1952 cars mentioned above, the true sports cars of the day were the Glasspar G2, Victress S1A, Woodill Wildfire, and Cunningham. The DeSoto and Mercury would not be classified the same. Which brings us to an interesting fact.  Fiberglass sports cars in America were using hood scoops earlier than the majority of Detroit automakers.  And if Glasspar would have offered this as an option in 1951 – it would have beat them all to the punch.

Just an observation from the depths of fiberglass research down here in Florida on a cold December evening.  You’ll never look at hoodscoops the same again.  And for your Glasspar owners out there…not all of you have true Glasspar G2 hoodscoops.  Do you know how to tell the difference?   That’s for another story on another day.

For those of you interested, there’s a thread about this same topic in the HAMB.  Click on the following link to check it out:  Click Here About Hood Scoops

Happy Holidays gang..(and polish those vintage hoodscoops on your fiberglass cars too).


Update 1/21/2010: 1952 Frazen Sports Car (fiberglass) also had a hood scoop


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The First Postwar American Hood Scoop — 1 Comment

  1. Hi, I’m thinking that the first production car to have a hood scoop was the 55 Tbird. Just for the history of it so did the last Tbird, The 2005 anniversary edition that I am presently a proud owner of.

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