A shaker hood is a special intake scoop known for protruding up and out of the car’s hood for better air intake.
Shaker hoods first debuted on the iconic Plymouth Barracuda and the Dodge Challenger in the 1960s and 1970s.
There’s no denying that a good shaker hood is a stylish accessory that makes a performance car stand out, but it isn’t just an accessory for style.
A shaker hood offers a slight performance boost over a stock intake system as well, and that’s another reason for performance car owners to be excited about it.
Why is it Called a Shaker Hood?
The shaker hood has its name for one simple reason; it shakes during use. Since this scoop is mounted on the engine block, it vibrates as you drive down the road.
You’ll notice a slight vibration as you drive with this hood, which is one of the reasons there is a slight gap between the actual scoop and the hood itself to prevent it from resonating as you drive.
Shaker hoods have been known by many different names, but most car enthusiasts have settled on calling it a shaker hood, thanks to its simplicity.
How a Shaker Hood Works
A shaker hood is two different parts working together. The first is a special intake air scoop that’s mounted on top of the engine block and the air filter of your vehicle.
This scoop-shaped intake has one or more intake vents positioned to force air into the engine as you drive. It’s essentially a type of short ram intake, and it efficiently loads the engine with as much air as it can use as you drive.
The other component of a shaker hood is the hood itself. It’s a standard car hood with a hole that fits over the top of the intake scoop.
When you close the hood, you’ll see the raised hood scoop that comes up and out of the hood with a slight gap between the hood and the surrounding scoop. The setup is simple and attractive and is used on several different muscle cars.
Enjoy Real Performance Improvements
Compared to a stock air intake, a shaker hood helps deliver real performance improvements to your vehicle in a few ways.
This special intake brings a greater volume of denser air to your engine faster. By getting more oxygen to the engine, the hood increases the amount of power generated during combustion.
The performance gains are slight from a shaker hood, but they are notable enough to be worth mentioning.
Your vehicle will see a slight horsepower increase while traveling at high speeds with a shaker hood, though the benefits are slighter at low speeds.
Less Air Travel Distance
With a shaker hood on your car, air doesn’t have to travel as far to reach the air filter and the engine. Since the intake scoop is mounted directly atop the engine, air flows straight to the engine.
This system is more efficient than a standard air intake system, which is good news if you’re pushing your engine to its limits and you want oxygen readily available for each combustion cycle.
Cold air contains a greater number of oxygen molecules than warm air does. Since a shaker hood delivers outside air to the engine sooner, the air is cooler upon arrival.
This is because the engine bay is generally warmer than the outside air temperature, and intake air heats up on its way to the engine.
By shortening the travel time to the engine, you ensure that cooler air reaches the cylinders for combustion. This is important because the more oxygen you burn during combustion, the more power you produce.
Cold air has a thicker concentration of oxygen, so cold air produces slightly more power when used for combustion than warm air does.
This is also the reason that performance vehicles rely on a cold air intake system and it’s the whole point of upgrading to a cold air intake if you want to drive faster.
Increased Repeat Air Volume
The total volume of air within each cylinder during combustion is important if you want your engine to produce as much power as possible.
The car’s manufacturer carefully balances the amount of oxygen in the cylinders compared to the total amount of fuel vapor present.
Increasing the amount of airflow to your engine allows your vehicle to produce more power. That’s because more fuel vapor can be added to the cylinders to match the larger amount of air, and greater power can be produced.
A shaker hood delivers air to the engine through a wide scoop opening that pulls in huge volumes of air as you drive down the road. This special scoop delivers air sooner as well because it’s positioned on top of the engine itself.
Although the air increase is slight compared to a well-optimized modern intake system, a shaker hood still helps increase the total volume of air available in your engine’s cylinders during use.
These benefits increase as you increase your driving speed as well, which isn’t always true of a standard intake system.
Protects Your Car Against Pooling Water
Muscle cars aren’t designed for driving through pools of water, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never encounter a deep puddle while driving during a rainstorm.
A shaker hood functions in the same way that a snorkel does on an off-road vehicle. Just in a less dramatic way.
This special air intake raises the point of entry of air into your engine’s intake system slightly. By raising the intake a bit, you protect your engine from moisture more effectively.
With a shaker hood, you won’t have to worry quite as much if you have to drive through a pool of water.
The Shaker Hood was Lost Due to High Gas Prices
Gas prices began to climb throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and that made muscle cars using powerful V8 engines less common and desirable.
The result of this preference change is that people stopped buying vehicles equipped with a shaker hood. Over time the shaker hood disappeared from vehicles, and it wasn’t brought back until 2008.
The Return of the Shaker
Dodge brought the shaker hood back with its Challenger SRT10 concept in 2008 and released a production car, the 2014 Challenger, with the shaker hood again.
The retro-styled hood was so popular that Dodge maintained the specialty hood on some of its modern Challenger vehicles, and it’s still possible to get a Challenger equipped with the hood modification today.
The shaker hood wasn’t a revolutionary intake upgrade. Still, it’s an iconic part of muscle car history, and it was one of the early steps in the impressive intake technology we use today.
It’s easy to see why this unique hood is so appealing and why many car enthusiasts go crazy for it still. It’s also nice to know that the hood is useful for more than just looking good.
Sure, the performance gains are slight, but adding a shaker hood to your car will help keep your engine outputting the optimal level of power while making your vehicle stand out.
It’s hard to ignore a car equipped with this iconic intake system!
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