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Lightweight Lift-Off Hood - El Cheapo, Part 5

A lightweight lift-off hood: Everyone’s got one, right? They’re all over the NMCA races, and Harwood’s 4-inch-cowl version made our El Camino look faster than it can live up to while heaving a hefty 75 pounds off the nose of the car as comp

Photography by Terry McGean

A lightweight lift-off hood: Everyone's got one, right? They're all over the NMCA races, and Harwood's 4-inch-cowl version made our El Camino look faster than it can live up to while heaving a hefty 75 pounds off the nose of the car as compared to the stock slab. That makes it worth it. But to tell you the truth, installing the hood was a bigger pain than we expected, mostly because we held it down with 10 Dzus quarter-turn fasteners instead of hood pins. The installation is complicated, but the old four-pin method lets the hood bow drastically at dragstrip speeds.Another hassle with the lift-off design is having to remove the hood to check the oil, but working on the engine without the hood and hinges in the way is a big plus.

There are pros and cons, but this time we selected a lift-off. The installation gave us the chance to feel like we knew what we were doing, play with Dzus buttons, look like race-car guys, and best of all, show you how it's done. Don't know about you, but we've never seen this in a magazine before. The installation will vary a bit depending on the design of the car, but our info will get you in the ballpark and will apply directly to any '70-'72 Chevelle or Elco.

If the procedure looks like a bit more than you can handle, sweat not. Harwood has hoods that bolt to the stock hinges too. They're slightly heavier and more expensive (by about $180), but far easier to install and live with day to day. Either way, the finish on Harwood products has always impressed us--just look at this month's cover to see how smooth the hood looks after paint.

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