The seal that runs along the bottom back edge of the hood may be missing- the seal might have been mounted to the firewall. Your fresh air intake for the cabin is on top of the ledge running below the windshield there at the wipers. If the seal is damaged/missing, and any of the fumes created under the hood will find their way into the passenger compartment. Very dangerous. You may have other emission problems that are making the situation worse. I wouldn't drive it until the problem is fixed. In addition to Tim's suggestion, there may be a problem with the vent in the trunk. It should have a flap that allows air out, not in. If there is an exhaust leak in the muffler or the pipe leading to the muffler, engine ehaust may be coming into that vent. This could be a dangerous situation, and should be corrected soon, and you should drive with the windows down on your way to the repair shop.
Should you cut off the catalytic converter? No. But can you and will SOME vehicles actually benefit? Yes. It is illegal to remove any emmision control device from your vehicle in most if not all states. For countries such as Mexico where it is not illegal, some vehicles without downstream Oxygen sensors (after the catalytic converter) it can have some benefits. It is really the same benefit as a free flowing exhaust. Modern (97+) cars already have a free flowing design catalytic converter so there is no benefit to doing this.
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