Before & After: Open Hoods

One of the many tips on car show photography is this one:

Tip #2: Try, and I know that it’s not always possible, not make photographs of cars with their hoods—or bonnets if they are British—raised.

Many owners like to display the cleanliness or sparkling chrome underneath but that’s not always the best way to photography a vehicle because it breaks up the car’s lines. Who makes that determination? You do. If the owner is nearby, ask them owner if they would please closeg the hood so you can make a good photograph of the car. In exchange, offer to give them a print or e-mail them a JPEG of the finished image.


But sometimes as in the case of the Valiant shown, the owner offers to close the hood which gave me the opportunity to be able to shoot near-identical images—one with the hood open, the other with it closed. This gave us an opportunity to get better antiquated and listen to his car’s story. And as any car lover knows there never was a project that didn’t have a story to it. This gentleman was a Valiant aficionado and owned and had owned other Valiants. This was a 1962 the last year in this series and when I asked if it had the fake spare tire on the trunk he told me the 62’s did not have the fake spare but he bought a 1961 rear deck and installed it because he too liked the look.


This car looked bone stock from the exterior except for many a slightly different two tone effect than what came from the factory and the larger-than-stock period Cragar wheels, But under the skin it had the mechanical where from a  70’s Dodge Charger, complete with 360-V8, though he retained the push-button Torqueflite transmission. Mary and I enjoyed sharing stories about her second generation Valiant and my 1964 Barracuda. So if there is any lesson here it’s that just don’t just look at the cars. If you really like the car, talk to thw owner. You never know what you might learn.