We may be bidding farewell soon to one of the most iconic uses of plastics and composites in the auto industry: the hood scoop.
The scoop was originally designed to help performance cars go faster by providing extra cooling to the engine, although some car designers and enthusiasts just liked them and added nonfunctional scoops. They have appeared on everything from classic muscle cars to the Subaru WRX rally car and the Trans Am that starred (alongside Burt Reynolds and Sally Fields) in Smokey and the Bandit.
Blame electric vehicles for the expected end of the scoop, writes Richard Truett of our sister paper Automotive News. EVs don't need the funnel of cool air from scoops, and in fact the poor aerodynamics of a classic scoop means they're more of a drag than an enhancement. And with automakers looking to squeeze every mile out of an EV, the scoop has to go.
Richard breaks down the history of hood scoops into three eras: Stylized slots and slits used from the late 1940s to mid-'60s; scoops that fed air directly into the engine via the carbureator or fuel injection system from the late '60s to early '90s; and scoops used to help turbocharged vehicles deliver more power by routing air to the turbo's intercooler, which helps create cooler, denser air for more power, starting in the 1990s.