In this business, you get to meet a lot of talented people, and see a lot of artistry – folks who might not be working in oil paint on canvas or unlocking the graceful figures trapped inside a block of marble, but who are artists just the same. Jack Burns, founder of Burns Stainless, is one of those talented and skilled people, and we got to see some examples of his company’s work at this year’s SEMA show.
Jack Burns (left) shows off the Bisimoto hybrid.
Burns is known for some very eclectic custom work, and that definitely showed in the cutaway Honda engine they had on display in their booth. This is the 533 horsepower hybrid (yes, you read that right) powerplant that motivates the 2011 Bisimoto Honda CR-Z, and Burns’ contribution to that project is the turbo “hot side” plumbing. You can’t really call it a “manifold” since the 1.4 liter 4 cylinder engine brings the exhaust together into a single oval outlet before exiting the head, but even though there’s just one pipe instead of four, the design presented its own unique challenges.
Some things to notice: the wastegate 'Y' is sectioned from a piece of mandrel-bent tube rather than straight pipe to smooth the transition, and there's a delicate-looking support between the turbo and wastegate pipes. Burns explains, "The mass of the wastegate has to be supported, but you also have to take into account how the tubing expands as it gets hot. The gusset has to be strong in certain directions, but remain flexible in others."
Per Burns, “We had to take some oval tubing, section and shape it down, and bring it to a smooth transition with the round tube that feeds the wastegate and turbo inlet.” As with everything we’ve seen out of their shop, the work is absolutely meticulous. “Try and see if you can find the welded seam,” he challenges.
Burns also has a lot to be proud of in their more conventional (though no less innovative) exhaust pieces. Their merge collector won a SEMA Global Media Award for best product, and they continue to come up with groundbreaking new products like their combination lightweight muffler and high-flow catalytic converter.