We have been talking about dressing up engine compartments for the past couple of years. When people hear that, they usually think about chroming out the engine but the truth to the matter is that it's more than chroming out just the engine, you have fire walls, fender wells, or in our case radiator core supports. In this tech article we will be looking at Undercover Innovations panels. There are a couple of benefits about dressing up an engine compartment. Besides looking good, your radiator panels will actually help your car run cooler as they force air down through to the radiator.
In this month's web exclusive we are working with Undercover Innovations who's early beginnings were in a 2-car garage. Owner Derel Latta owned an overheating big block '69 Camaro. He tried all the usual tricks and coolants but nothing dependable would work. He then looked at the air flow in the engine compartment. Derel saw that he needed to optimize the air flow available to the radiator. He found that huge amounts of the cooling air were wasted - bypassing the engine completely. He decided that by closing off the open area in front of the core support he could direct the air to the radiator. He managed to eliminate the overheating and recognized the potential for customization right away.
Almost every car he has seen has an area that can be customized in this way. Working with a CNC milling table, Derel started creating and customizing panels for friends and local clubs. Now the company is in much larger quarters. Derel likes keeping a "hands-on" role in the business so when you call, you'll probably be talking to him. These panels are all made in California and sent around the world. Now follow along as we install custom panels on this '64 impala.
1. Under Cover Innovations has several finishes for their custom panels. Engraved, ball milled, and elegantly smoothed panels.
2. With all of the chrome in this engine compartment, this engine can use as much help staying cool as possible.
3. The panels are pretty simplified and they use the stock mounts already existing.
4. With all of the bolts off we where ready to start installing the panel.
5. In this Impala the stock bolt head on the hood latch would be higher and would hit the panel so it needed to be replaced with a mushroom or button head bolt.
6. In the previous step we showed you a Teflon washer that can be used to avoid scratching your paint, and we opted not to use the washer because our latch was chrome plated and was more durable.
7. The panel was ready to be installed.
8. These panels were cut out and massaged to get the full bend. Once you do that the panels will flow with the hood latch.
9. The panel was slowly tightened down to make sure that it wouldn't stretch the metal panels.
10. Every car is not exactly the same, so depending on your cars room you will need to bend the ends of the panel to follow the shape of the radiator core support.
11. As you can see the panel will look good once it's all dialed in.
12. As we mentioned earlier these panels will force the air to flow through the radiator keeping the engine temperature running cooler.
13. The second panel was installed the same way as the first panel.
14. We wanted to clean up the core support even further and installed these billet hood stops.
15. Once the hood stop is adjusted the rubber is installed.
16. These hood stops make a huge difference and also helped to keep the hood from bottoming out.
17. This engine compartment looked good and will run cooler with these bolt on panels.