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Hood Straps, Pins, and Locks: The Finishing Touch for Security and Style

DIY, Exterior  /   /  By Mark Bach

For many early 20th century classics, the final classy touch is to tie down the hood with a leather strap. See how it finishes the appearance of this 1926 steel-bodied Ford Model T boat-tail speedster. In the era of rough suspensions and rougher roads, a standard hood latch could easily fail. Special leather bonnet straps performed an important function—to help prevent flying pieces of sheet metal.

1926 steel-bodied boat-tail Ford Model T

1926 steel-bodied boat-tail Ford Model T

As you can see from the thousands of hood straps, pins, latches, and locks available on eBay Motors, the tradition continued throughout the decades.

Black leather hood straps with stainless-steel springs

Black leather hood straps with stainless-steel springs

In the hot-rod era, parts were held firmly in place—even as speeding vehicles cruised down dry lake beds. These black leather straps stainless-steel springs allow a Ford Model T hot rod to remain safe and stylish while allowing parts some degree of movement.

Up until the 1960s, it was fairly common to see hood releases on the outside of the car. Gas-station attendants (a vanished occupation) fumbled to get them released—while “midnight shoppers” could quickly find a way in.) Everyday hot-rodders started using NASCAR’s hold-down hood pins, especially those with small locks, to provide additional security for expensive high-performance parts.

The hood pins on this 1971 Dodge Charger RT let the world know that there’s a powerful engine lurking beneath.

The hood pins on this 1971 Dodge Charger RT let the world know that there’s a powerful engine lurking beneath.

To allow for easier engine bay access, some racers remove hinges to save weight and use four hood pins to keep the hood in place. When it’s time to work on the engine, pull the clips and lift the whole hood up and away. AeroCatch’s low-profile bonnet pins and panel fasteners provide a modern, aerodynamic way to secure parts for motorsports.

1960 Willys Jeep Surrey Gala

1960 Willys Jeep Surrey Gala

Hood latch-lock for Jeep and Willys

Hood latch-lock for Jeep and Willys

We’re big fans of the stylish exterior metal hood hooks found on Willys vehicles and early Jeeps—and the rugged rubber hold-downs used on Baja Buggies. Check out the beautiful restoration of this 1960 Willys Jeep Surrey Gala, which wouldn’t be complete without its hood hooks.

In 1971, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration required all cars to have a secondary latch to prevent flyaway hoods. As a result, manufacturers started using cables linked to an interior handle to pop the hood open. This system thwarted thieves and made the engine compartment more secure.

About the Author

Mark C. Bach has oil in his veins and remembers feeler gauges and brake springs. He has a love for all things that move, especially old-school muscle cars. Bach writes for a variety of outlets, including Chevy Classics and FuelCurve.com, and maintains Route66pubco.com.

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