One mechanic I enjoyed was in Wings of War. In one of the variants, maybe it was the Basic rules, players threw a bunch of chits into a container. When they were hit with bullets, the player would pull out chits to represent decreasing health. It thematically fit the idea that bullets from a plane were not accurate compared to a sniper rifle. So you just took damage and had the change to hit a critical component, like the engine or the propeller.
I borrowed that idea for my car game where you have a deck of 20 cards: 14 hull cards, 4 tire cards, and 2 engine cards. If 4 tire cards are revealed or 2 engine cards are revealed, the car is out and dead. I was also thinking if you somehow survive long enough to have 10 hull cards revealed, you add 1 driver card into the remaining deck of cards.