Cooling system upgrades are a popular upgrade on many classic cars—especially if there have been performance upgrades made on the car. Added performance often leads to added heat, but the advantages of improved cooling can certainly help the original equipment crowd as well. Many of our cars are just not designed to idle around a car show in summer heat or the rigors of an hour-long parade. Thankfully, help is not hard to find as the aftermarket has responded with numerous radiator, fan, and fan shroud options for most cars.
Radiators themselves represent some of the biggest changes in technology. Once made of brass and copper soldered together with lead, today they are chiefly made of aluminum welded together with aluminum for its superior strength and rapid heat transfer. They have quickly become the standard for car manufacturers and restorers alike and a few are even stamped with the original style tanks, so you can slap on some semi-gloss black paint and have all the benefits of aluminum without giving up the appearance of originality under the hood.
We met up with Ross Kiehl in the Classic Car Restoration Club shop. He had recently boosted the output in his 1968 Chevelle to over 700 hp and was looking to cool this behemoth of an engine down. Kiehl selected a radiator from Auto City Classics in Isanti, MN. He also sourced an original-style fan shroud to help his fan run more efficiently. The installation is pretty straightforward, so follow along as we cool down this muscle car.