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Hood Winked!

A Brand New Hood for Yor '55

Grant Peterson Jun 22, 2005

With all of those days you've spent breakin' your back and bustin' knuckles under the hood on your Double Nickel, it's time to take a closer look at that hood you've been under. Most of them by now have had to weather some serious storms brought on by both Mother Nature and mankind. They've endured hail, hacksaws and hood scoops, followed by who knows what. You probably have sighted down the peak of a few and seen the dip that most have acquired, along with those mandatory bent corners that run rampant. Just when you think you've found a cherry one, somewhere outside of Tucumcari, while being shipped, the freight driver drops his doughnut and hits that pothole, which brings your cherry hood down to the pits.

Fret no more. Let's put our hands up in the air and holler out loud because the search is over! C.A.R.S. has just introduced a brand new reproduction hood for '55 passenger cars. When you get your hands on one of these babies, you will see how much time and effort it took to bring us this piece. They have all the factory inner structure and bracing, the hood latch bolts right in, and the hinges bolt right up, as well.

Randy Maning's '55 two-door wagon gasser project needed a little help in the hood department, along with some parts and bright work up front. What's a guy to do? What anyone should do: call C.A.R.S., of course. Chris Basset at C.A.R.S., in Fullerton, California, fixed Randy up with a new hood, headlight rings, park light assemblies, a chrome grille and grille surround trim. Since that nice new hood is going to cover the straight-axle, 427/4-speed combo, Randy was anxious to see how everything was going to look in the most unlikely position--standing still.

With all of the new parts installed, Randy can see what else needs to be done in the garage and at the body shop to get things wrapped up. Despite the fact that the car had been hit in the past, and has since had the other sheetmetal pieces fixed and/or replaced, everything fit very well and will need only minor fitment for paint. There is only one concern that needs to be addressed as far as the hood goes: C.A.R.S. chose not to put any holes in the front for the "Chevrolet" scrip because of the different badges. They are working on maybe making templates for those holes, so stay in touch with them. You could also try to make a template yourself off your stock hood and drill the holes that way. Randy wasn't concerned because the "nosed" look fit in with the gasser theme. Speaking of the "look," Randy can hardly wait to get those tires smokin'!


Here's the culprit. Good from afar, but far from good.

Not only does Randy's original hood have the bent corners and the big dip in the middle of it, but it's rusted through where the hood bird mounts!

Take the old latch out of the old hood and toss the rest! A past owner had tried to weld up the emblem and bird holes. Since the bird holds much of the under-hood bracing together, there wasn't much holding this hood in shape.

The front corner braces, which allow the hood to sit on the rubber bumpstops, are exactly as the originals.

Wow, if this doesn't show quality then I don't know what does. I'm sure C.A.R.S. could have taken the easy way out on the bracing structure, but they nailed the stock look.

As you can see, the hood is ready to be crowned with the brightest bird you can find.

Pretty simple, just bolt the new hood in place. All of the holes in the C.A.R.S. hood lined up well. Check out the attention to detail on Randy's hood hinges! A little time spent with a measuring tape and a drill, went a long way on highlighting the '60s gasser theme.

Here's another look at the remarkable original stamping work.

There's not much slop in the hinge mounting holes on the hood, so when it was closed, it was close to where it needed to be.

While we were at it, Randy wanted to check out the other new parts he had bought from C.A.R.S. We started with installing the new chrome grille. There are factory rivets that run along the top of the grille that attach it to the frame work that need to be drilled out or ground off.

C.A.R.S. supplied the new mounting hardware that looks like the stock rivets from the top, but are really bolts with nuts and star washers.

Take a look at the "Made in the USA" grille surround trim that C.A.R.S. offers.

Install with the mounting hardware that is provided. Now the grille assembly can be reinstalled into the car.

On goes the hood bar molding.

The stock latch mechanism fits right into the new hood. Notice the support rods that are the same as the originals.

The new headlight bezels sure are pretty.

Looks like night and day! It's hard to get any more of a drastic difference with so little work just by removing and replacing the park light assemblies.

In just a couple of hours a world of difference was made!


C.A.R.S. Inc.
Rochester, MI

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