There’s fabrication, and there is this… We’ve covered some unique LS and LT-swapped two-seaters in our day, but this takes performance fabrication to a whole new level. Kyle Kunhausen, founding fabricator at Kuhnhausen Metal Concepts LLC (KMC), is most well known for his last project, an LS1-swapped Datsun 240Z that was codenamed “InZanity.” Now back for another helping of SEMA hysteria, the Oregon native has taken a customer’s classic 1964 Corvette, and given it the ol’ Kuhnhausen razzle-dazzle treatment.
In order to learn a bit about this badass build, we reached out to Kuhnhausen, and received a ton of information in return. Apparently, this car’s owner had owned a saddle-tan 1963 Corvette at one point during the 1980s, and several decades of automotive performance hedonism, has returned to his first love. Kuhnhausen explains, “This project is commissioned to give him a piece of his youth back, recreating that mostly original look on the exterior and interior, while never straying too far aesthetically from the archetypal American Classic C2 Vette.”
Naturally, there are a plethora of “tweaks” to be seen, including sectioned and tucked bumpers, flush mounted cowl grates, flawless gaps, and tighter-than-original body lines, but that’s not what caught our interest. This Vette has been built upon a heavily modified Art Morrison IRS chassis, which features JRI dual-adjustable coilovers, 6-piston 14-inch Wilwood brakes, a Woodward Road Race Rack, and massive Forgeline LS3 3-piece wheels with genuine knockoff tri-bars. Oh, and did I mention that it packs Chevrolet Performance LT4 firepower, and comes with 4l75E, QA1 carbon driveshaft and Strange S60 IRS rear-diff ammunition? Yeah, it’s got all of that as well.
But perhaps the most intriguing part of this build, is the way in which Kyle has approached the various cooling attributes of the car. Heavily supported by C&R Racing components, and backed by his uncanny ability to blend functionality with custom fabrication, this Ballistic Beige bullet is a rear-wheel drive playground for thermal fanatics. Here are a few of our faves from this build.
A custom-spec dual pass radiator and twin brush-less SPAL fans lead the charge, shrouded with sheet metal work in such a way that they utilize every square inch of available space. Resting at a 15-degree horizontal angle in order to clear the European-style swing hood, this setup sucks cool air from the bottom and expels it all via fully functional hood trim ducts, a la C7 Z06.
After that we come across a custom C&R Racing heat exchanger, which has been mounted in tandem with the radiator in order to cool the car’s supercharger. Massive in size when compared to the stock unit found on the C7 Z06, Kyle says he over-engineered this piece in order to counteract the levels of heat soak issues that have become synonymous with the LT4.
From there we move on to a heavily modified oil-to-water, in-hose 10-row transmission cooler, which Kyle tells us has been tweaked in order to accept XRP Hydraflow clamshell connectors. Tucked behind the radiator in order to keep transmission temps in check, this unit heats up quick thanks to the coolant warming the oil, all while preventing spikes in temperature under extreme use.
As for the C&R Racing universal over-sized oil cooler package on this Ballistic Beige beast, Kyle has taken a remote SPAL brushed fan and mounted it inside the rear driver’s side of the car via a rubberized setup that bolts to the frame. This unit features its own custom shroud and titanium “exhaust,” which allows hot air from the oil cooler to evacuate through the factory exhaust cutout in the rear body panel. By mounting the cooler in the back of the car, Kyle has both saved space and allowed the dry-sump oil system to have a much larger oil capacity, all served via nearly 20-feet of -10AN XRP race-crimped hose.
Regarding his engine coolant swirl pot and built-in overflow reservoir of utter awesomeness, Kyle tells us this is a custom component that he fabricated in order to help expel air from the cooling system. This also allows a common air bleeder to be mounted above the cylinder heads for the radiator and transmission cooler. Efficient and slick-looking to boot, this setup makes any coolant overflow issues visible thanks to a built-in sight glass.
Much like the transmission cooler, the C2’s supercharger swirl pot and integrated power steering reservoir are another KMC product he “imagineered” to be both functional and fun to look upon. The C&R Racing swirl pot sits above the supercharger, allowing for an excellent way to air bleed the heat-exchanger and surge tank, while swirling out all of those pesky air bubbles. Integrated inside is a Woodward power steering reservoir, which takes advantage of the cool side of the over-sized heat exchanger. Kyle explains that this brings the supercharger coolant up to temp, but prevents temperatures from approaching dangerous levels under extreme use. However, erring on the side of caution, Kyle has also integrated a temperature gauge within the vehicle to provide feedback on the concept at all times.
When asked about his partnership with C&R Racing Kyle had this to say:
“I’ll be using C&R parts on all my builds moving forward. They are true professionals and leaders in the race-cooling aftermarket industry. Herb, in sales and their engineering team brought this above-par cooling package together quickly and with precision. I can’t say enough good things about what they offer and encourage builders and hobbyists alike to utilize C&R components.”
When asked asked as to whether or not some of these cooling mods are a world first, the fun-loving fabricator laughs and replies:
“A world first? Maybe… we just think it’s cool.”
Cool. Literally. Figuratively. Today’s LSX Mag nerd lesson has been brought to you by SEMA 2019 “Top 35 Under 35” contender Kyle Kuhnhausen, C&R Racing, and the word “cool.”