Unlatched hoods on NYC taxicabs

Forgive me if this one has been done, but I couldn’t find a previous thread on this subject. Anyone have an idea why many of the taxis in New York are driven around with the hood unlatched (IOW, held down only by the safety catch)? Makes for faster pit stops? Hood randomly flying open adds to the excitement of driving in Manhattan?

Enquiring minds want to know.

Keep the car running cooler

That’s funny. I’ve been working in New York for 5 years now and this morning was the first time that I noticed this on a taxi. I was going to tell the driver that his hood isn’t closed, but then I figured keeping it open provides ventilation to the engine on a hot summer day.

The partially open hood gets out more engine heat.

Forgive me a taxi/hood-unlatched story. The forumn is just too perfect.

I drove a cab in Durham, NC the summers of '67 and '68. We latched our hoods. But the guy who checked my oil that day didn’t latch it fully. It may have been on the first hook.

I picked up a very elderly couple at a motel in Durham about 11:00 A.M. The guy had had heart surgery at Duke Hospital. They wanted to go to the Raleigh-Durham airport. I loaded their luggage and we took off. At that time, you drove on surface streets for a few miles, then got on a four-lane divided, 55 miles per hour road to the airport, which may have been a 10 mile trip.

We were cruising on the hiway, when my hood started to arise. It fluttered a bit, about 6-8 inches above a latched position, then dropped down as I slowed to 45 or so. I accelerated back to 55, and it started to dance upward again. I was worried, but couldn’t figure out just what to do.

Before I could make the proper decision, the hood was jerked totally upward and was ripped from its hinges and was blown over the top of my cab, landing in the middle of the road about 50 yards or so behind us. It happened so fast, that one didn’t have time to think. One minute it was there, the next instant, I had no hood.

Fortunately for trailing cars, it was a slow mid-day traffic pattern, and the hood hit nothing except the road.

After bringing my hoodless cab to a stop at the side of the road, and making sure my passengers were still alive(barely) I radioed back to the dispatcher.

[me]Er, uh, my hood just blew off[/me]
[me]My hood just blew off the cab[/me]
[d] (pause) Well, latch it back and keep going[d]
[me] I can’t. It blew off.[/me]
d What do you mean it blew off?[/d]
[me]…explanation of just what happened. [/me]
[d] (incredibly long pause. Snickering. Laughing. [/d]
[d]Are you OK? Passengers OK?**
[me] Yes[/me]
[d]Well, go back, pick up the hood, put it in the trunk, take them to the airport and come on back[/d]
[me] OK. [me]

Needless to say, I apologized profusely to my passengers, and felt the fool at the airport with this Checker cab from the late 50’s with no hood driving up to let them out at the airport. They tipped well. I went back to shop, got a new cab, and kept on going.

Don’t ask me to tell you about the day I had three flat tires. :eek:

Well now how do you expect me to sleep tomorrow?

Does leaving the hood up actually let significantly more heat out? I would have thought that the cooling of the engine just through surface radiation and a bit of breeze on the outside of the block would be simply insignificant compared to the internal liquid cooling and radiator.

It probably wouldn’t let enough heat out if you left it idling, but it would keep it out of the red with the breeze from short hops.

I’ve had a hood blow up in my face but it did not go anywhere, just totally blocked my view. The windshield did not break but I jammed the brakes so hard my passenger in the back, who was leaning forward between the front seats, hit her head with the rear view mirror and neede some stitches on the scalp. It was in the highway and we were lucky nothing worse happened at that speed.

Had my blow blow up on me driving a duece-and-a-half (2.5 ton military truck) on the German Autobahn (A6 maybe, between Frankfurt and Heidlelburg), while passing someone actually slower than the truck. Blocked my view completely; scared the crap out of me; and I don’t know how I pulled over three lanes without hitting or being hit!

hood up: an attempt to provide a heat escape.

hood flying up: taxis and other cars that live in big cities have their hoods chained and locked.

Phil “from Philly”. See this everyday.

(Just read my post…maybe I confused you)

Hoods might not be latched to allow heat to escape, but under the hood is a chain and padlock.

Wouldn’t it be easier for manufacturers (or aftermarket folks) to put a few vents in the hood? Or would that wreck the look too much?

Back in my ambulance days, we drove a gas powered unit that had aftermarket hood vents. They looked like crap, and did not allow for much heat escape either.

Of course, I think you could have taken the hood completely off, and those mid-90’s cheverolet truck ambulances would have overheated.

Nothing like sitting in gridlock on a humid Virginia day with NO air conditioning, because the truck would overheat. The only thing better was explaining to your patient why you were sitting with no A/C. Good times.

On a fleet of taxis, the most tempting option is the no-cost option.