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]

88 Comments

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

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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

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

          1. 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.

  6. 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.

    1. 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).

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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. 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.

  10. 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. 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'

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

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

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

          1. Give me a lawn mower with a 400-horse V8 and a six-speed, and I'd take it over the Mustang.
            /whoamikiddingnoiwouldn't

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

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

  16. 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. 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/

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