Metaphors in Motion



Recreated from Rodding and Re-Styling August 1960

Trend setting re-stylers are adding punch to their cars' appearance with varied patterns of air slots - and they only scratched the surface.....................

Louverartaug1960_large Hoods are more likely than other parts of a car for two reasons the openings are functional there and the hood can be easily removed for the punching process. There's is no end to the variety of designs. Formation of staggered columns was preferred by the owner of this '57 Plymouth.

Louverartaug1960 A louver operation is a simple or as complicated as you make it. Louvered section shown started out as a piece of sheet metal which received the punch treatment before it was molded to the body of a '56 Chevrolet.

Louverartaug1960 Fender treatments compliment louvered hood on an '56 Chevrolet. The fenders had to be removed.

Louverartaug1960 Removable louvers: Nothing major about this operation. "59 Chevy owner simply took off his skirts, removed paint, had louvers done and repainted skirts.


At a recent car show, one the exhibitors was asked by a spectator whether the louvers in his car's wheel discs were functional."of course they're funtional," the car owner replied. "They help me win extra points."

The sentiment of many a re-styler is reflected in that statement. After all, if something is intended to look good, isn't its function that of pleasing the eye? Sure louvers cut in a hood may serve to permit greater air flow around the engine. But situated any where else on a car, louvers are 50 times out of 100 are for looks.

Here are five check pionts that should seriously be considered when planning a louver operation:

  • Location.

On the hood, be sure the openings are not situated over the distributor and spark plugs. Of course, the hood isn't the only likely part that's detachable and therefore louver-able. You also have skirts, wheel discs, front fenders, gravel pans, Connie kits, etc.

  • Number.

Don't over due it. Too many louvers may spoil the overall appearance.

  • Size.

The width of louvers should be determined by the shape of the part to be puncheda s well as the inherent shape of the car as a whole.

  • Pattern.

A little paper work can be a big help in obtaining a unique design. Try sketching a number of geometric arrangements - staggered rows, contour lines, wedged shaped pattern, etc. Then draw up a full-scale plan of the design for the machinist to follow.

  • Angle.

Consider the angle of the louvers themselves in relation to the car's lines. You can then decide whether the slots should be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal.

Now for the job itself. An enterprising car owner can, if he has special tools, time and skill, do the job himself. But all told, it's a tricky undertaking. For all practical purposes, the best way to get the work done is to farm it out to a machine shop that has the equipment and charges on the average, from 15 to 20 cents a louver. It's a good idea, therefore, to check with friends or local body shop to find out the louver shop nearest you.

Shown here are some of the ginchiest louver treatments to be found anywhere - a sample unlimited. And see how a typical job is done step by step coming up.

Louverartaug1960 Holy cowl! Another instances where louvers are punched in sheet metal which is shaped to fit the body. Job was done on a '46 GMC truck.

Louverartaug1960 Aluminum moon wheel disc shows louvers to advantage. In such cases, there is no danger of denting disc, since area punched is small.

Louverartaug1960 Three rows of louvers flanking hood peak on '52 Olds are neatly set off by scallops patterned to give the machine a longer, sleeker appearance.

Louverartaug1960 Here's an arrangement for the re-styler who wants to beat his show rivals to the punch, louvers located in the front of the wheel opening.

Louverartaug1960 Another example of a hood treatment, with single rows of louvers positioned on the outboard sides. Clever scalloping helps achive streamlining effect.

Louverartaug1960 No job for a novice in this unusual treatment. Custom-made rear pan was louvered first, then shaped to the '55 Thunderbird.

Louverartaug1960 For some reason, wide louvers are not too common, but careful planning can result in a unique effect, as seen on this '53 Buick.

Louverartaug1960 Louvers are as varied in shape as they are in size and pattern. Rounded louvers, like those shown here, are more noticeable than other shapes.

Louverartaug1960 Louvered roof is usual enough, but here's a stint that is really different rows of louvers complemented by a louvered scoop. What's more, the openings are functional. Louvers, in the hood face front, while those on the rear provide all-around cooling.

Louverartaug1960 Deck lid is a favorite place for locating louvers on competition machines. And it's especially practical when engine is mounted in the rear, as in this case of this coupe. Owners didn't stop at the deck, however.

Louverartaug1960 *There's no stopping the re-styler who likes his louvers way out (and out of this world). For an array of the punchiest louvers this side of the moon, check rocker panel vents in this wild pick-up. *

How They're Made


* Louver press operates hydraulically. Dies are interchangeable for wider or narrower cuts.


* Preparing a side panel for the punch treatment. Outside surface should be placed face down.


* With interior surface face up, cutter marks off the guide lines.


* Die is lowered to the precise spot for the initial punch.


* Remaining louvers are then carefully spaced along line. Wide variety of patterns possible.


* After louvers are cut, all that remains is to file the edges and repaint the area.

Some louvers I have seen lately at some of the shows I attend:

Louverexample1_large Beautiful pattern across this hood.

Louverexample2_large Louvers are just as beautiful from under the hood as they are from above as seen here.

Louverexample3_large Another finely done hood.

Louverexample4_large Another view from under the hood of this truck.

Louverexample5_large The louvered rear of this 1929 Ford.

As you can see louvers have been an integral part of the Hot Rod and Custom scene since its very beginnings adding a cool aesthetic to the machine they grace and with the imagination of the designer. Next I will be recreating an article from this same magazine issue -18 LOW-COST Grille Treatments.

Don't miss it!