How does one get a group of men to stop whatever they’re doing at a moment’s notice, and stare? Sure, a nicely dressed, beautiful woman walking by would do the trick, at least for me, but there’s another sure-fire way to make it happen.
At any auto show or concours, observe what takes place when a hood raises on any vehicle there.
Faster than fake news you will see men begin to wander in the direction of that particular vehicle, as if they were wearing a suit of armor and said vehicle was a powerful magnet. Toting coffee or cell phones, or simply with hands in pockets, these male show goers behave like ants heading for a discarded hot dog.
In a way, I suppose, they’re trying to answer that age-old car guy question— what’s under that hood? Now, that might sound like a sexist statement, because we all know there are car girls, too, but in all the years I have attended countless car shows and concours, I have yet to see a lady wander over on her own to take a peek when a hood goes up. Notgonnahappen.com.
I will admit that I am as guilty as the next guy when I see a hood—or bonnet if you prefer—point at the sky. I can no more feign disinterest than I can turn down a slice of coconut creme pie. The first time I remember peering into an engine compartment and being impressed was way back in 1954—at age 8—when a family friend brought by their new Pennant Blue Corvette right into our driveway and popped the reversed-hinged hood.
There was chrome in there! I had never seen brightwork in an engine compartment. And the Corvette was just as memorable in that dull period of automotive styling. That brief peek aroused my under-hood curiosity so, later, when my dad’s friend gave me a ride in his Jaguar XK120 Coupe, I asked him to show me the engine, which he did.
I had never viewed a power source anything like it, and just the thought of those polished aluminum cam covers kept me awake for several nights. To date, this legendary DOHC inline-6 that was the soul of many Jaguar models still rates as one of the most beautiful engines ever for me, especially in the drop-dead gorgeous Series 1 E-Types.
Other heart-stopping engine views are always possible with any Ferrari but I’ll be a throwback to the 1950s and select a 250 Testa Rossa—not only because of the bewitching curves on the outside—but, oh my, that stunner of a V12 under the shapely aluminum couldn’t be any more perfect with those six Weber carburetors, delicious exhaust headers and crinkle-red cam covers. Can you fire it up, please!
Can’t leave out a Lamborghini Muira from 1966, with its transverse-mounted 60-degree V12 and four 3-barrel downdraft Webers, and the tilt-rear body allowing an unfettered view. Almost erotic.
There are many more examples I could mention, but why not e-mail me with your favorites?
And enjoy them while you can, because as electrification comes to the automotive marketplace, you’ll just have to move along—nothing to see there.
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