One General Motors Corp. designer thinks it is time to stop hiding engines behind plastic.
Recently, the auto industry has developed the habit of using nylon for ``beauty covers'' that hide the working parts of cars and trucks, said Ken Parkinson, an executive design director for Detroit-based GM.
In some cases, the cover makes sense. Minivan owners, for instance, normally are not prone to doing their own repairs or maintenance.
But in some cases - on trucks or sports cars - drivers want to see the engine, Parkinson said Aug. 26 during the Industrial Designers Society of America meeting in Washington. If the automaker can put some thought into how the vehicle looks under the hood as well as its exterior and interior styling, it can turn out something that beautifully integrates those working parts.
``You don't have to add parts or add weight with a beauty cover if we can educate the people in powertrain on basic design principles,'' he said. ``Under-the-hood is a big issue with me.''
Motorcycle producer Erik Buell agreed with the concept of a good-looking engine. His Buell Motorcycle Co.'s new CityX sports bike features an engine cover made of a translucent polycarbonate and polybutylene terephthalate blend. The cover is made by injection molder Bemis Manufacturing Co. of Sheboygan Falls, Wis.
``We don't like covers,'' said Buell, whose East Troy, Wis.-based company is a subsidiary of Harley-Davidson Inc. ``I want anything that's going to be seen to be beautiful on its own.''