Home » I Have No Idea How A Hood Can Inflate Like A Balloon But Let’s Just Enjoy The Terror Of It All

I Have No Idea How A Hood Can Inflate Like A Balloon But Let’s Just Enjoy The Terror Of It All

Howhappen Hood Top 2
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This image is one of those things that, despite all one’s better urges, catches your gaze. Catches and grabs it, hard, like a spider monkey catching meatballs. I did a reverse image search on this image and found that it’s been circulating around the dark, clammy recesses of the internet for quite a while, but somehow it’s evaded me. Until now.

I’m not made of stone. I reacted with genuine amazement at what I saw here, a picture of what appears to be a 2005-ish GMT800 Chevy Silverado with a hood that’s not just open, but actually inflated, like a paper bag you blew into or the mouth of one of the sandworms of Arrakis, which is, as you know, the universe’s only source for the spice melange. How, exactly does this happen? Is this image real? What’s the story here?

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

This image, which seems to have first been posted sometime around mid-2022 –  came to my attention via this tweet:

Now, it’s a striking image, and I’ve noticed something interesting about people’s reactions to the image and assumptions that are made, assumptions that appear to be confirmed in the caption of this tweet: “Must have been quite a surprise to the driver.”

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I think everyone who sees this imagines some sort of scenario where some rust-induced combination of holes in the front lip of the hood and rust-degradation of the welds that hold the upper and lower skins together via the structural ribs has allowed rushing air into the front of the hood, which then inflated it like a balloon, causing the wide-mouth bass effect we see here.

Inflatedhood1

I’m skeptical, though. I’m not convinced wind can do this, even 60+ mph wind, no matter how thin and rusty the metal may be. I think this happened in an attempt to open the hood, where the latch held, but the hood structure itself didn’t, and that seam yielded under the strain of the arms trying to open the hood, causing the lower skin to remain steadfastly latched while the hapless hood-opener just yanked up the upper skin, forming that, um, tent you see there.

I can’t seem to find the original source of this image to confirm just how this happened, and I think it’s particularly telling that most of us look upon this mess and immediately imagine a scenario of driving along a highway when blammo, the hood puffs up like a frightened pufferfish.

Maybe we just like the visceral drama of that scenario? And I suppose it might be possible? But, again, I’m skeptical.

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I wish I knew just what it was about this image that seems to make it so much more arresting than any number of other weird-ass car disasters and failures. There are the imagined scenarios, the inherent violence and suddenness – but then there are the associations with this image, at least for me:

Brughel Fish 3

 

 

 

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That hood looks just like the mouth of that colossal fish from Peter Bruegel the Elder’s 1556 drawing Big Fish Eat Little Fish.

Maybe that’s what this really is – GM’s attempt to celebrate the works of the Flemish Renaissance via poor rustproofing? If so, mission accomplished, GM!

 

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BigThingsComin
BigThingsComin
19 days ago

Did Brughel ever actually see a fish? Or was he just working from a description?

M Fedorov
M Fedorov
20 days ago

Wormsign.

Rusty S Trusty
Rusty S Trusty
20 days ago

If you look carefully you’ll notice the same dent on both sides of the hood a few inches from the edge. I think they either hit something or did this on purpose to an old junker for the clicks and likes.

James Carson
James Carson
20 days ago

Thomas’s BMW from the other day is showing some dreadful underhood rust and if the rust theory is correct, could be at risk of duplicating this feeding whale look.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
20 days ago

Not sure where this happened.
But both Texas and Florida are at the top of my list.

Marvin L Perkins
Marvin L Perkins
20 days ago
Reply to  Col Lingus

Or the southwest. I lived/worked for a few years in southern New Mexico (White Sands Missile Range) where 60-90 mph winds are the norm in spring. It got bad enough a few times every year that they’d close the base and the pass over San Augustin to Las Cruces would be closed (Highway 70). Saw several doors ripped off their hinges on newer vehicles. I can easily imagine this occuring driving headlong into a 70 mph wind at 75+.

JDE
JDE
20 days ago

I am pretty sure it is real, that along with the cab corners are the Rustiest point of most GMT800’s however the hood latch is what usually goes, and then the hood just flys up to the secondary catch or completely wipes out the window and likely causes a rather malodorous smell from the drivers nether regions. I suspect this particular hood may have had one of those nifty paint chip plexiglass items attached and the dentritus from parking under trees or even just out side resulted in the rust to propagate at the seem faster than the hood latch.

The Artist Formerly Known as the Uncouth Sloth
The Artist Formerly Known as the Uncouth Sloth
20 days ago

goddamn that Brueger is nightmare fuel. Coulda lived my entire life without having saw this. Thanks, Torch! Guess you want everyone to have a grabber

Autopizen
Autopizen
20 days ago

Maybe Saab hoods, hinged at the front & with 2 long pins that slid into openings on the firewall before they latched, were a pretty good idea.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
20 days ago
Reply to  Autopizen

Saab/Corvette/Jaguar/Honda Prelude/a bunch others that I don’t know off the top of my head

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
20 days ago

I’m amazed that nobody else seems to know this, but it is VERY relevant to this:

The upper and lower skins of a hood are normally not welded together at all. Usually there is a crimped edge along the edges, and in the middle the skins are connected together exclusively using some hard polyurethane foam glue. This glue frequently detaches and completely ceases to do its job 15 or 20 years down the line.

And it is entirely believable that the front crimped edge was very rusty. In fact, that’s almost the only place where hoods usually rust.

Jj
Jj
20 days ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

Came here to say this. Welds would leave divots in to hood surface.

Clear_prop
Clear_prop
20 days ago

I agree with Jason that someone hooked the upper sheet metal trying to get it open.

The upper arc is too pointy. I think if it was the wind, that it would be more curved.

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
20 days ago
Reply to  Clear_prop

I though the same until I considered the other corners. The hood had to fold somewhere and the center makes sense.

Alex Patrevito
Alex Patrevito
20 days ago

I think they are going for a very modern “the front of my 2024 pickup is large enough to skim the ocean for hundreds of pounds krill with ease” look. But probably should have just stuck to the Kroil instead.

Morgan van Humbeck
Morgan van Humbeck
20 days ago

Air almost certainly can do that. And who says they were going 60?

Paul B
Paul B
20 days ago

Nice cold air intake.

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