September 2008: Finished putting custom air vents into our new carbon fiber hood that we purchase from Panteras by Wilkinson
. The hood is super nice and fits great. It came without vents, and that actually worked out nicely because we didn't want to install the traditional Pantera hood vents. They're very rectangular, and the straight metal grill really makes them look dated. We wanted something with more shape, made from a more modern material. And since we're running the radiator in a more laid down position, we were able to make the vents taller to help release more hot air.
First I had to come up with the design. I designed the vents to mimic the shape of the gap between the back of the radiator and the front of the trunk. Had to leave room for the hood support beams on the sides and in the center. I rounded the corners using a small paint can cap, and adjusted the front most line to have the same curve as the front of the hood (instead of the straight line of the radiator). Jaime found the steel mesh material from an on-line computer store. Comes in flat sheets. Once we had the design and metal mesh, we needed a way to shape the mesh. Made a trip to Low's for a couple planks of wood and some router bits. Traced the pattern onto the wood and made a positive and negative shape for each vent. Inserted the mesh, fit the wood pieces together and clamped them down, pressing the mesh into the proper shape. Primed and painted the vents semi-gloss black with rattle cans.
Next, I traced the design onto the back side of the hood so that I could see the vent position relative to the hood supports.
I used a metal cutting disk on the dremel and cut from the front side of the hood to make sure that all of the lines were perfect. This is the most carefully I've ever cut anything! All the lines came out perfect. Once the holes were cut, I hand sanded the edges and test fit both vents.
Now it was time to finish off the newly cut edge. Using 1/4" pinstriping tape, I followed around each vent hole to make a guide line. Then I outlined the guide tape with a second piece of tape, and removed the original guide line tape. This gave me a perfect 1/4" piece of exposed carbon fiber around each vent hole. Jaime finished masking off the rest of the hood and I scuffed the carbon fiber resin lightly to help the new paint stick. This time I painted with glossy black. Once the paint was dry I installed each vent using a bead of black silicone sealant on the back side of the hood.
Once the silicone was dried we re-installed the hood. Pardon the dust on the rest of the car. We're getting there, one piece at a time!