Cars with roof scoops aren’t common.
Generally, roof scoops are roof-mounted intakes that improve performance by forcing cool air efficiently into a car with a rear mounted engine.
Typically, the air intake in a combustion engine is inside the engine bay. The high RPMs generate a lot of heat.
The hot air breathed in by the intake is not as dense as cold air. When the car is in motion air is coldest on the roof.
This higher concentration of oxygen molecules forced into the engine makes the combustion process more efficient resulting in more power.
Roof scoops can also be used to funnel air into the cabin of rally cars so the driver and passenger can receive fresh air.
These cars usually have the air conditioning system stripped out to improve performance and reduce weight. Here’s our roundup of cars with roof scoops.
1. McLaren F1
The McLaren F1 debuted in spring of 1992 and remained the picture-perfect model by which all other supercars would be measured for decades.
Rowan Atkinson infamously crashed his McLaren F1 in 1999, then again in 2011. Which gives us some idea as to the insane power this car is capable of.
Power which is helped by the addition of a roof mounted air scoop force feeding air into the engine manifold for a more efficient combustion of fuel.
According to CNBC, the actor paid $1 million dollars to get his McLaren back to a roadworthy condition which he reportedly said was more than he paid for the car.
2. Lamborghini Diablo SV
The first non-McLaren I ever noticed with a roof scoop is the Lamborghini Diablo SV (Sport Veloce).
Nothing says this car goes fast quite like the dual roof scoops sucking in air above the roof of this Lamborghini.
It makes the car look so fast in fact that it was chosen to grace the cover of Need for Speed III Hot Pursuit, a video game released in 1998 which I still own.
Produced from 1995 to 1998, the Diablo SV is as outrageous to drive as the SV decals on its beautiful body.
The dual roof scoops work to ram air into the 5.7-liter V12 which sends 510 horsepower to the rear wheels instead of an all-wheel drive system like non-SV Diablos.
3. Koenigsegg Agera RS1
As a car guy, Christian von Koenigsegg is a man I admire for his desire to build the kind of car that he would like to drive and then setting out to do it.
IMHO Koenigseggs are the world’s most stunning supercars.
He takes what he learns from previous Koenigseggs to improve on new models to the extent that one of his cars even dethroned the mighty V16 Bugatti Veyron as the fastest car in the world.
The Agera RS1 is a variation of the RS model with an almost imperceptible roof scoop unless you see the car in person, or you know where to look.
4. Toyota MR2
On the more attainable side of the automobile spectrum. You can attach a functional roof scoop to your MR2.
It replaces your engine side cover to send fresh air into the engine of any generation Toyota MR2 you own.
Other roof mounted scoops you can get for the MR2 don’t seem to have much utility when it comes to engine performance.
Instead, those roof scoops seem to be designed to create a low-pressure zone behind the rear windshield to help the air flow from under the car up through the engine lid.
At least according to forum member dj_Twin_turbo.
Functional or not, they at least look sinister enough to make those on a racetrack who might dare to tango with your MR2 think twice.
5. Porsche 911 GT1
If you’re a Porsche fan you can’t forget the GT1.
Porsche is known for manufacturing some of the world’s best high-performance luxury sports cars and recently SUVs and sedans.
One of the most extreme examples that comes to mind is the hard to handle, V10 powered Carrera GT.
But perhaps the most extreme is the 911 GT1. It’s not a race car for the street, it’s a street legal race car.
The 911 GT1 reminds me of a mullet: business in the front, party in the back in that from the front you get a standard 911.
But in the back is the company’s twin turbo 3.2-liter flat-six prototype 962 engine with cold induction air coming from the roof scoop.
The result is total visceral immersion.
6. Lancia Stratos
Another car designed to cater to your senses is the Lancia Stratos.
It’s one of rallying’s most famous cars. And like the McLaren F1 its long been the yard stick by which all other rally cars were measured.
Not only that but it’s one of the first rally cars to use a roof scoop during Rally Safari 1976.
As we said in the introduction, the air conditioning system is often stripped out of rally cars to reduce weight.
But this poses a problem for the driver and co-driver when racing during the summer in cars that can reach 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
You could crack open a window. But that invites dust which can jam up instruments and otherwise make driving a challenge.
A roof scoop designed to allow fresh air in.
7. Pagani Zonda 760RS
Like Christian Koenigsegg, Horatio Pagani had a dream of creating beautiful and powerful supercars.
And like Koenigsegg, Pagani started from a relatively unknown start up to one of the most illustrious manufacturers of supercars.
The company’s success can be traced back to the Zonda. Even after the Huayra was introduced as a replacement.
There’s still demand for the Zonda resulting in the commissioning of bespoke models like this 760RS.
The owner who just so happens to be non-other than legendary F1 driver Lewis Hamilton commissioned this car to offer the performance of the track only Zonda R and make it road legal.
The roof scoop brings in cool exterior air into the 750 HP V12 engine to create even more power.
8. Pagani Zonda Aether
But that’s not even the most extreme Pagani Zonda in existence. Named after the pure and clean air above the clouds.
The Zonda Aether incorporates the mechanical package of the 760RS and features it in a roadster body.
But the same Mercedes-AMG 7.3-liter V12 gets tuned. And cold air is fed through an air scoop via Zonda Cinque-style to the engine for 760 HP.
What also makes the Zonda Aether special is that it’s reported to be one of the final Zondas produced.
Not only does it share the looks of the Zonda Cinque, but it also even shares many of the same hand-crafted bodywork that makes that car such a delight to behold.
9. Subaru Impreza WRX WRC
While the Legacy brought Subaru to the world of rallying. It was the Impreza that helped Subaru become an icon of the World Rally Championship.
Inspired by Impreza, this is the Impreza WRC2005 based off the 2005 Subaru Impreza WRX. It’s my favorite WRX of all the generations.
A fellow co-worker owned one like the image above and riding around in it with the blow off valve whooshing every time he changed gears left an indelible impression on my mind.
The rally version features a roof scoop in the tradition of the Lancia Stratos to filter out dirt and bring in fresh air for both driver and co-driver.
10. Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse
The Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse is one of those rare cars that make you ask; can a car be too fast?
It’s like while I love the Audi R8 V10+, I find myself wondering, can I really enjoy a car with this much power on a daily basis?
My ’92 Eagle Talon TSI had 190 horsepower and I loved driving that car on my daily commute to work.
Even a car like the latest Ford Mustang GT with its 460 HP often has me wondering if this isn’t too much power to be enjoyable for daily driving.
The Vitesse combines a quad-turbo 8.0-liter W16 engine with the Targa top of the Grand Sport.
The two roof scoops feed air into the engine for an Earth rotational changing 1,184 horsepower.