I have a pet peeve at concours. It’s owners who insist on leaving the hoods of their cars open all day long.
It’s hardly the way designers would want their cars seen.
Further, the hoods jutting upwards are a jarring contrast to the elegant setting of a concours field.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about this — and offered a solution:
I proposed an “SCM Hoods-Down” standard. I propose that hoods of all cars be down from the official opening of the show until 11:30 a.m, then “Hoods-Up” until the end of the day.
That way, attendees and entrants would have a chance to see the cars in their intended stylistic configuration in the morning — and still admire the engine bays in the afternoon.
They look like hungry baby birds
Evidently I’m not alone in my frustration. My blog hit a nerve, and here are a few of the many comments I received:
Hoods up does totally ruin the lines of a car. Just a bit further, I really want the hood closed, not just resting slightly ajar. I like the idea of limiting the hoods up for that two-hour period. Makes much sense, but a bit annoying to employ. Would take some education. — Eliot Silber
Hoods up makes the exhibition look like a giant gas station, or like an official inspection or, worse, like a salvage yard with shiny cars. Leave the hoods down; the owners will gladly open them, should anyone want to see the engine. — Gabriel Hernandez
I had my 1966 Series 1 XKE coupe at a small car show last week. For the first half, the bonnet was up. Huge crowd. Once I closed it, the number of lookers was about half. I think it may depend upon the venue and the sophistication of the gawkers. — Scott Currier
I thought I was alone in this thinking. I was just at a Cars & Coffee this past weekend, and as always, my hood was down. If I’m at the car and someone asks, I’m glad to raise the hood and let them look. When everyone is done looking, it goes back down. I’d much rather see the uninterrupted lines of cars with hoods and trunks closed. Hard to control this at a Cars & Coffee. It’s a great idea having hoods up during lunchtime for traditional shows. — Brian Znamirowski
At the Petersen Automotive Museum, where I am a Vault Docent, we have the opposite problem. As you’d expect for a museum founded by the publisher of Hot Rod magazine, the museum has a lot of hot rods in its collection. Anyone who has been to hot rod shows knows that for many hot rods, the “jewelry” is the engine. Yet at the Petersen the hoods on our roadsters (10 AMBR Award winners), coupes, and customs remain resolutely shut for almost the entire year. The one-day occasional “hoods-up” events are rare and much too short. A compromise such as you suggest is needed. — Richard Steward
I’m a picture poster on Facebook, and this is my pet peeve, too. I’d say, when you arrive, open the hood for a while to avert heat soak. Then, unless your motor is gold plated or something, leave it down. — Ron Lindom
I always support local shows in my little town and bring an interesting car. I leave the bonnet/hood closed but put a small sign near the lift point that says “Lift here to see the engine” and another sign inside that says “Close when finished.”
I don’t own any cars with American V8s in them, so I figure everyone wants to see the one engine at this car show that is NOT an American V8!
Of course, I also have a sign I put in the windshield that says “IT IS OK TO TOUCH THIS CAR. Go ahead, you can’t hurt it.” — Chuck Goolsbee
I totally agree too. I am a visual sort of guy with art training, so car design, lines and stance is everything to me. I do appreciate what’s going on under the hood, but I want to see the car with the lines and fit uninterrupted. Good call. — Bob Lichty
I think you are in the majority, and your recommendation is such a reasonable compromise. I can’t think of a car that I would prefer to photograph with the hood up. Maybe as a second, third, or later shot. Thank you for raising the issue and offering a solution. — Jon Bernheimer
I 100% agree. It ruins the experience of taking in the overall car design completely. Granted, it most often happens with American muscle cars. But then again, I find the engine compartment less exciting than the entire car with the panels closed. If somebody wants to see the engine, your idea of a certain time or maybe open it to allow for those who ask (I do) is the way to go. Leaving a car with the hood open for the entire car show is a bit ridiculous. — Mike Baum
I think the difference is whether it is a people’s choice or judged concours. I can’t vote for a car in people’s choice without seeing the engine compartment. If it is closed, the question is always how much dirt and incorrectness is hidden? In concours, the judges have full access, so leave bonnets (hoods) closed. Your suggestion to have open and closed times would work for most shows. — Randy Bauder
Interesting question. Not sure there is an answer that fits all shows. I do agree the lines are spoiled, but it seems most of the time the paying public wants to see everything about the car. — Irene
I have an old Corvette and an old Chevelle — both with cool engines that I like to show off. I’m 50/50 on those cars. I also have an older Porsche and a newer Porsche. What really looks stupid is a 991 Porsche with the hood up when all there is to look at is a couple of filler caps and a plastic cover. I like your idea of hood up/hood down. — Sid Cannon
They look like a bunch of hungry newborn baby birds clamoring for food. — Bruce S. Bevitz
What’s you opinion? Leave your comment below. I’ve been in touch with several concours about this issue, along with Ed Gilbertson and Nigel Matthews of the International Chief Judge Advisory Group (ICJAG). We look forward to reading your thoughts. ♦