This paper presents a comparison of the performance predicted, by finite element analysis techniques, for a glass fiber-reinforced composite automobile hood and the performance of production hoods measured during physical tests. It is intended to serve as an initial step in establishing a data base of information documenting the relationship between the predicted and actual performance of components manufactured from sophisticated, nontraditional materials. Included in the paper are graphical comparisons of stiffness as determined from analytical models, prototype hoods, and production hoods. Suggestions of methods for improving the accuracy of the predicted performance are made which should increase the level of confidence which automobile designers and engineers have in these materials. The information presented should assist these individuals in developing, analyzing and optimizing components to be manufactured from such nontraditional materials.