Hooniverse Asks-Hidden Engines, Yay or Nay?

Most every car has a hood – or for you anglophiles, a bonnet. And usually what you expect to find when you pop that hood is an engine, right? It’s becoming more and more common these days that upon lifting that lid instead of finding mechanical marvels you are confronted by. . . plastic .

What is up with that?

Sure, automakers are attempting to encompass the brand in all aspects, even extending to engine compartment dress up games. And much like those one-inside-another Russian dolls, opening a hood expecting to find the engine can sometimes result is the discovery of yet another cover – this time one not easily cast aside by a simple in-cabin tee-lever and secondary latch. Instead they require the popping of what appear to be one-time push pins made out of plastic. I think the car makers are telling us to GTFU when we’re poking around under the hood, and I don’t like that.
That also sucks if you want to show off the mechanical macho of your machine, and is equitable to those full-bodywprk motorcycles that also hide all the mechanical beauty of the bike. Hey, y’all, I want to see that, I like it. Here in the cars, it’s just another layer to remove – sort of like your date’s chastity belt – in order to get to the good stuff. Or is it? Do you think these plastic under-hood covers are extraneous weight, or do you think it brings a level of elegance to what was once the other side of the tracks parts as far as cars were concerned? What do you think?
Image source: [roadfly.com]

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88 responses to “Hooniverse Asks-Hidden Engines, Yay or Nay?”

  1. dukeisduke Avatar


  2. skitter Avatar

    Oh hell no.

  3. SSurfer321 Avatar

    I like mine a bit more exhibitionist
    <img src="http://www.torquecars.co.uk/vw/pics/VW-Baja-dans-1.jpg&quot;, width=600>
    <img src="http://bringatrailer.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/1966_Fiat_500_Berlina_Abarth_Corsa_Tribute_Rear_1.jpg"&gt;
    IMG from Torquecars.co.uk and BaT.com respectively

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      My name is Sport-T and I approve this message.
      <img src="http://www.tanshanomi.com/temp/P3280316_cropped_mini-t_buggy.jpg&quot; width="360">

    2. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

      <img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3451/5710741750_833df0078d_b.jpg&quot; width=600>
      …Maybe that's not quite what you meant, but i drove around like that for two days (blasting "Where The Hood At?" for most of it).

  4. theTokenGreek Avatar

    the only case I can think of where I'm ok with it is my own Mazdaspeed3. It doesn't obscure all that much, and it's relatively functional, as it actual mates with the intake ducting for the intercooler to make use of all that air.
    <img src="http://images.autobytel.com/web/carpicsviews/800pixelswide/CAB70MAC221A0104.jpg"&gt;
    Other than that, yeah. Just excess weight and aggravation.

    1. west_coaster Avatar

      And where else are the going to be able to stamp Scrabble-like nomenclature such as MZR 2.3 DISI TURBO?

      1. Maymar Avatar

        Across the entire back end of the car, Isuzu Impulse RS Turbo Intercooled Handling By Lotus-style.

  5. njhoon Avatar

    Oh Hell No! I am a gear head, I like to see the engine bits.

  6. Alff Avatar

    Positives – they help keep the engine clean and can be functional. Like on the Mazdaspeed, my Lego GT's cover directs air from the hood scoop to the intercooler.
    I'm not that concerned about not seeing the nifty engine bits when I pop the hood and the cover is easily removed. My primary beef is that the plastic clips on the Subie's cover are not universal, break frequently and are overpriced at the dealer. For that reason alone, I vote NAY.

  7. B72 Avatar

    It seems kind of "Yo Dawg" to put an engine cover under the "engine cover". Maybe they do it to go with the big rims they are offering from the factory these days.

  8. tonyola Avatar

    Unless they serve a really significant purpose like improved air flow or better sound deadening on a luxury car, I vote no to engine covers.

  9. Syrax Avatar

    No, never. I'm not even sure there's a V8 under there. I'm more of a fan of Audi. They cover just enough.
    <img src="http://image.eurotuner.com/f/9242161/eurp_0703_04z+audi_s6+engine.jpg"width="500"/&gt;

  10. west_coaster Avatar

    It kind of depends on the car. I've popped a few off for fun, and what did I see? A whole bunch of tubes, wiring harnesses, hoses, some huge stickers with bar codes on them, and so on. But any kind of beautiful engine (the Audi one shown above, for example) should be left uncovered.
    One of the funniest examples at the dawn of these things was the Hyundai Tiburon. It had a transverse V6, but the fake intake runners on the plastic cover were arranged to make it look like the engine was in there longitudinally.

    1. Maymar Avatar

      Worst part is, that V6 is a pretty decent looking engine, for something that ended up in a Tiburon.
      <img src="http://image.modified.com/f/17345059+w750+st0/0301_20gs_02zoom+2003_hyundai_tiburon_v6+engine_view.jpg&quot; width=500 /img>

    2. Syrax Avatar

      The Arese V6 laughs at thinking that transverse equals bad.
      <img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3265/3260324397_14bc1c0f26.jpg"/&gt;

      1. Alff Avatar

        so pretty

  11. LTDScott Avatar

    A thousand nays here. Like others here, my main concern is the fact that they're flimsy and are easily broken. But as a car guy, I like seeing all the components and knowing exactly where everything is. Ignorance is NOT bliss.

  12. grantlinderman Avatar

    F that noise, brah! There are few things as irritating as having to tear off a pile of plastic to get to a part that needs fixing/replacing.

  13. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    We're clearly headed down a slippery slope here.
    <img src="http://static.racingjunk.com/63/ui/0/23/16400230-611-1989-Honda-Pacific-Coast.jpg"&gt;

    1. Smells_Homeless Avatar

      While I'm not a fan of engine covers on cars, I truly desire a PC.

      1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
        Peter Tanshanomi

        It's not a bad motorcycle. It's just the Camry of motorcycles.
        …or perhaps "the Sienna of motorcycles" would be more apt?

        1. Smells_Homeless Avatar

          Oh man. Desire quashed. Well, at least that's one more I don't need to throw money at.

          1. crinklesmith Avatar

            Spray paint and bumper stickers. Problem solved.
            <img src="http://media.photobucket.com/image/recent/subybaja/CIMG1595.jpg"/&gt;

          2. topdeadcentre Avatar

            Oh, it's not all bad. I believe that the cargo compartment below the seat can take a case of beer without breaking it into sixes… Show me another motorcycle that can do that.
            The PC's are actually great at touring and light commuting. I want one for my (eventual) extensive stable of motorcycles.

    2. Black Steelies Avatar

      Mom jeans!

      1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
        Peter Tanshanomi

        You get major points for that reference.

    3. K5ING Avatar

      I love those PC800's. Mine was a '94 (black) and was the best bike I ever owned.
      <img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-EO4MNh9c6Pk/TXfzrP5qK3I/AAAAAAAAAcU/ir1y4zZUv8E/s1600/pc800da.jpg&quot; width="500/">
      That said, I did remove the engine cover on my '01 Golf TDI; so I could see the diesel engine in all it's noisy splendor.

  14. Froggmann_ Avatar

    Nah, I ripped that thing off and never put it back on the 2nd time I opened the hood. (1st time being at the dealership)
    Personally I like to see the motor, I want to see that I have a minor oil leak here or that wire is getting chaffed there most of all, I want that damned intake plenum to stay cool.

  15. jeremy![™] Avatar

    not even on the late damnelantra™…
    <img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2585/4203163023_3610ff64b3.jpg&quot; width="500" height="343" alt="damnplastic™">

    1. jeremy![™] Avatar

      <img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2460/3720128333_962978dc01_m.jpg&quot; width="240" height="168" alt="headlight replacement">

    2. dragon951 Avatar

      Even though I no longer have my MkIV GTi, I still have a crap load of that cladding I can't bring myself to throw away (curse my hoarding genes).

  16. CptSevere Avatar

    Every vehicle I've ever had, I've maintained myself. Of course that means older, less complex vehicles, which don't have a mile of hoses or mysterious circuitry under the hood, much less covers like this. Lift the hood on both the F100 and motorhome, and not only can you see the engine, but you can see the ground. Every bike I had, you could see through and touch the spark plugs and carburetors while sitting on it. No, I have no use for engine covers. I want to see what's going on in there.

    1. JeepyJayhawk Avatar

      your manifesto, I subscribe now…

  17. joshuman Avatar

    To me the plastic covers are lazy design work. An engine is a wondrous mechanical device that should be shown off and not hidden. Well, go ahead and hide the wiring and hoses if you like but keep the rest scantily-clad.

  18. Jeremy Wilson Avatar
    Jeremy Wilson

    I vote nay. They should be forced to make the engines as awesome looking as they used to be.
    Mind you, I do like the Ford 5.0 Coyote cover. Pretty boss looking.

    1. tempesjo Avatar

      Neat! What kind of Ferrari is that?

      1. $kaycog Avatar

        Smarty pants! 😉

        1. tempesjo Avatar

          Have you ever considered doing a mystery car submission?

          1. $kaycog Avatar

            Oh, sure…..nobody would ever guess.

    2. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      Now THAT'S an engine cover!

      1. $kaycog Avatar

        At first I was going to post this one, but then I had a better idea. I saw a '54 Ford with this hood at a car show several years ago and thought it was pretty cool.
        <img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3197/2679001585_d8a9b823bd.jpg"width="500"/&gt;

        1. tonyola Avatar

          Oldsmobile installed plexiglas hoods on a few 1950 display cars, and a few have survived.
          <img src="http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2008/06/all_gm_car_show_ca08_opt.jpg&quot; width=400>

          1. $kaycog Avatar

            I've never seen an Olds with that hood. Thanks for that.
            200 of the '54 Fords were made with that hood for dealers. I don't know the survival rate.

  19. mike2coupe Avatar

    Its good for Toyotas like the one pictured that dont have an engine worth looking at anyway.
    Secondly Toyota owners mostly dont know what an engine is.

    1. tonyola Avatar

      Do you always toss around broad and uninformed generalizations like that? That won't work here. In case you didn't know, the Lexus 4.6 V8 is perhaps the silkiest and smoothest V8 built by anyone, period. And I bet many owners of this Toyota know about their engines.
      <img src="http://image.automotive.com/f/reviews/parts/9753052+pheader/0401_impp_01_z_+1995_toyota_supra+twin_turbo.jpg&quot; width="400/">

    2. Maymar Avatar

      My best friend's parents have a late model Camry. A couple years back, they drove their '28 Model A hot rod (which they built themselves) to Bonneville, and have a garage full of bikes in various states of running.
      Just sayin'

  20. Black Steelies Avatar

    I just don't understand the need to neaten up an area already covered by the hood. Sure, most people that buy new cars don't need/want to go under the hood especially if they have a dealership warranty. If it were me driving a new car, I'd probably be in the same boat.
    I don't plan on buying a newer car any time soon at all, so my main beef is that there is little pragmatic purpose to engine covers.

  21. muthalovin Avatar

    I will take the flip side (personally, I prefer to see the belts spinning).
    We are a unique group here, and we do like to see our engine bits, but most auto consumers are just that, consumers. They want their vehicle to run, take it to the dealer when it doesn't (GASP!), and just have a relatively docile time while driving. They don't need to see the engine. They will never look at it. If they did, they are probably showing off to equally uninformed folks. I am fine with having engine covers on new cars, because, hell, I am not getting one.

  22. muthalovin Avatar

    Easily removable engine cover:
    <img src="http://www.shocauto.com/Inventory/070591_NSX_engine1.jpg&quot; width=550>

  23. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    What is this "hood" you speak of?
    <img src="http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL22/551859/23418299/390658096.jpg&quot; width="500">

  24. facelvega Avatar

    Rather than use a plastic engine cover, I like to fill my entire engine compartment with expanding foam to protect all the parts from dirt and from ever being touched. Works great!
    <img src="http://pictures.deadlycomputer.com/d/34359-1/great+stuff.jpg"&gt;

    1. SSurfer321 Avatar

      helps insulate against NVH too!

      1. facelvega Avatar

        Anybody can have a body and chassis unibody. I like to get the engine effectively in on the single solid-structure sweetness. Save money on motor mounts too!

        1. SSurfer321 Avatar

          is that where Porsche got the idea from?

    2. Smells_Homeless Avatar

      You're typing on this, aren't you:

  25. Alff Avatar

    Just to play Devil's Advocate for a moment. It's fair to say that the lead photo makes a pretty sound case for engine covers …
    <img src="http://lexusenthusiast.com/images/weblog/07-11-07-lexus-is-f-engine-uncovered.jpg"width-500&gt;
    Source: lexusenthusiast.com. If you visit, please say "hi" to the members – they're both great guys.

    1. Syrax Avatar

      Well yeah, but that cover is only there to hide the fact that they don't want to clean things up like Audi does. And it isn't about money cause the Mustang 5.0 followed practically the same formula.
      <img src="http://www.allfordmustangs.com/forums/attachments/2011-mustang-talk/86619d1262019072-new-coyote-5-0-photo-5.0.jpeg"width="500"&gt;

      1. tonyola Avatar

        But let's not forget that the Mustang doesn't have anywhere near the amount of electrical, vacuum, and hydraulic goodies that the Lexus LS has. Of course it's going to be cleaner.

        1. mdharrell Avatar

          I'm reading your comment as yet another solid argument against the Lexus.

          1. tonyola Avatar

            Apples vs. oranges. Do you think a Mercedes S-class or BMW 7-series is any less fearsome under the hood?

          2. mdharrell Avatar

            I think… Hmmm. I think I'm happy to admit that I don't know what to expect under those hoods, actually.

        2. tonyola Avatar

          By your reasoning, a lawn mower should be even more reliable and trouble-free than the Mustang.

          1. Alff Avatar

            Aren't they?

          2. MrHowser Avatar

            Give me a lawn mower with a 400-horse V8 and a six-speed, and I'd take it over the Mustang.

    2. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
      mr. mzs zsm msz esq

      Quick, no one has registered enginebayorgamingrig.com yet!

      1. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar
    3. citroen67 Avatar

      OHMYFUCKINGLORDINHEAVEN!!! It looks like Medusa! Quick…step on it, or swat it with the sports section, or something!

  26. dustin_driver Avatar

    Not. All that plastic shit adds weight. Strip it out, recycle it. Only cover the stuff that would explode/short out if exposed to the elements.

  27. P161911 Avatar

    I was thankful that my new Silverado was free of any extra covers, although it does look rather funny with the little 4.3L V-6 sitting about 2 and half feet behind the radiator without even a fan on the front of it. I really need to take a picture and post it.
    The S52 in the Z3 did have a "fuel rail cover" and a cover that goes over the valve cover to cover up the coil packs. The last time I worked on it I just left this cover off, although it does look a little better with it in place.

  28. ZomBee Racer Avatar

    If by hidden engines you mean finally dragging 5 MGB carcasses out of the driveway and into the garage last week, then all my neighbors would undoubtedly say "thank-god yes".
    <img src="http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/227825_2059141922715_1369652107_2428981_7895655_n.jpg&quot; width="500" />

  29. Smells_Homeless Avatar

    When in fact it is something that Don Johnson rode in a bad biker/cop movie.
    /Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man

  30. dragon951 Avatar

    Nah, sometimes I like being confused:
    <img src="http://hooniverse.info/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Maserati-Quattroporte-II-Engine-650×433.jpg&quot; width=400 />

  31. ptschett Avatar

    I don't mind my Challenger's cover. It just mounts with rubber grommets on 4 ball-stud thingies, so it's not a chore to remove.
    <img src="http://i847.photobucket.com/albums/ab40/ptschett/Challenger/DSC03899.jpg&quot; width="500"/>
    <img src="http://i847.photobucket.com/albums/ab40/ptschett/Challenger/DSC03897.jpg&quot; width="500"/>

    1. Maymar Avatar

      <img src="http://image.hotrod.com/f/9682225/hrdp_0804_02_z+2008_dodge_challenger_srt8+6.1_hemi_v8_engine.jpg&quot; width=500 /img>
      The 5.7 is really only disappointing because of what they did with the 6.1 (and to a lesser extent, the 6.4).
      Although, at the auto show this year, that Hemi engine cover was my second biggest annoyance (after the iPads) – they were less likely to stay on than a stripper's shirt.

    2. Lotte Avatar

      With a little (ha) work that cover can be made to look pretty damn good:
      <img src="http://www.speedysgarage.net/challengerweb/challenger_mods/challenger_engine_cover/images/challenger_engine_cover_45.jpg&quot; width="500/">
      He has a how-to for it, too: http://www.speedysgarage.net/challengerweb/challe
      Is it too much work for an engine cover? Arguably. But I think the results are spectacular!
      source: Speedy's Garage

  32. B72 Avatar

    Already did above! Apparently I was too subtle…

  33. Mad_Hungarian Avatar

    It's probably just a matter of time until some manufacturer slaps one of those stickers there like they have had on TV's and audio components for a long time, saying "NO USER SERVICEABLE PARTS INSIDE. DO NOT OPEN." Aren't there already cars that don't even have an oil dipstick, because you are supposed to rely on an electronic readout for that?

    1. texlenin Avatar

      Exactly, M_H!
      They seek to divorce us from any and all proprietary mechanical knowledge, fun, and/or product liability!
      Down with covers, I say!! Engine covers, bed covers, my lady friend's fun bit covers! Dastardly hindrances
      that should be abolished!
      See: Owner's Manifesto http://makezine.com/04/ownyourown/

  34. 2stroke4life Avatar

    No. Never. Absolutely not.