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Could I make a carbon fibre engine cover with shaped perspex showing off an illuminated engine with blue hoses and polished cam cover, I could, but it would look like a shitty 1990s subwoofer instead of an engine bay and devalue this quite rare car.

The point here is to make a tongue-in-cheek way to show off the 101bhp 700cc toaster sized Brabus tuned powerplant hidden in there, but in a way that looks like the factory did it to the untrained eye. That means cheap shitty plastics, no led lights, no increased noise and retaining the original function of the boot for storage and the engine cover for, erm, getting to the engine.

Smart Brabus Roadster Engine Window...

This appears to be quite common and obvious mod. If you look at the engine cover it has this flat area pressed into the steel right above the intake manifold, just crying out to be a window. I've seen the whole cover made into a window or replaced with carbon fibre or alloy panels, but I feel these may lose the sound deadening built into the carpet and of course the usability of the boot storage area ...and look too modified for me.

First job was to cut the cover, above. After removing a neat section of the sound deadening below the panel, I used an air-nibbler to cut out a section tight to the existing metal pressing shape without warping the panel. I've used quite a thick bit of Perspex 5mm cut to size then bonded underneath with Sikaflex ensuring a good seal against smells from the engine or a draught from underneath the car when moving.

I cut an A4 size hole in a spare carpet (this is larger than the hole in the engine cover) then experimented with a surround to tidy the edge in the carpet, which led to the idea of adding a second perspex window to add rigidity to the frame and maybe restore some of the sound proofing lost by cutting the carpet. I quickly dismissed, aluminium, colored or carbon looks for the frame.

I finally settled on a plain plastic look, as I think it looks more 'factory'. This is actually some inverted Carbon Fibre Holstex I had lying around, it's more commonly used for weapons and is very tough. It is heat formed in an oven then pressed over a 'buck' I'd made earlier. Then the excess is trimmed in the band saw and flatted on a belt sander to give a really low profile with a nice curve going into the carpet.

Underneath the frame, I've fitted a thick 5mm Perspex that I've Sikaflexed in to give it rigidity and the Velcro fixings are spaced off the recessed part of the frame with 3mm foam. I've used some heat shield tape to conceal the sponge under the carpet.

2006 Smart Brabus Coupe Engine Window - www.nelsonstewart.com