THIS FULLY CUSTOMIZED 1972 DATSUN 240Z TOOK KYLE KUHNHAUSEN FIVE YEARS AND 5,600 MAN HOURS TO COMPLETE. Gessler Creative Photo
As a child, few people know what they will be doing once they become adults. Childhood dreams of adventures and excitement can shift to more practical goals of financial security and routine. For Kyle Kuhnhausen, 27, of Creswell, however, they are one and the same. At an early age, Kuhnhausen’s interests were in his father’s auto shop, and his aspirations have only grown from there.
At 12, he began fine-tuning his fabricating skills by working on his father’s automobile projects. His love of cars grew with him and in 2007, Kuhnhausen received the Creswell High School Welding Student of the Year Award.
In 2013, Kuhnhausen graduated from Oregon State University College of Business and started his own business, Kuhnhausen Metal Concepts, LLC, which focuses on high-end fabrication work and custom cars.
His specialties include TIG and MIG welding, plate cutting, bead rolling, flared hole construction, roll cage design and installation, modern drivetrain swaps, powertrain mounting solutions, high-performance suspension and brake consulting, turnkey street rod and race car builds. Kuhnhausen runs every aspect of his business, from the accounting and bookkeeping to physically modifying the cars. In fact, the only thing he doesn’t do personally is painting.
Kuhnhausen now works on some unique projects where he can put his fabricating skills to the test by creating powerful, fast and beautiful machines. He’s even known across the country for his fabrication work and has flown to numerous states for projects.
”It’s funny how a class you do for fun turns into a career,” Kuhnhausen said, thinking back to welding class in high school, and how far he’s come.
Since 2013, Kuhnhausen has been working on a massive endeavor – a fully-customized 1972 Datsun 240Z, which he refers to as ”Project InZanity.”
Five years later, he completed his project.
Under the hood, this ’72 Datsun sports a Chevrolet LS1 engine from a 2004 GTO, and required only minor adjustments to fit the Tremec T-56 gearbox.
From the front to rear bumper, every detail was meticulously planned and executed. Whether it was the elegant design or the way even the smallest detail exudes power, performance and aerodynamics – everything was customized to create a unique and sexy beast.
This project took Kuhnhausen 5,600 man-hours, but the results speak for themselves. For all his sleepless nights and scraped knuckles, Kuhnhausen received three major awards in 2018.
The Datsun 240Z received the Gran Turismo Award for Best Asian Import in Las Vegas, the Syracuse Nationals Showstopper Award and it finished in the Top Four Battle of the Builders Young Guns at the 2018 SEMA (Speed Equipment Manufacturing Association) Show.
Kuhnhausen and the InZanity have even been featured on TheHoonigans, a YouTube channel focusing on street and racing cars taking part in high-speed and performance-based activities. On Jan. 10 at 10 p.m., the MotorTrend Network will feature Kuhnhausen at the 2018 SEMA Battle of the Builders.
Kuhnhausen continues to work at his father’s business, Fix Auto in Springfield, as an auto body technician. While his five-year project may be complete, he has anything but free time.
Actually, Kuhnhausen has enough work on his plate to keep him busy well into 2020. His current project and one he plans to work on well into late 2019 is a 1964 Corvette. Similar to the Datsun, this Corvette will get the works: a full-tilt build, brakes, modern powertrain and more.
While he may have his hands full at the moment, he’s always looking for new and exciting builds. Those interested in his services should contact Kyle Kuhnhausen for a consultation and customized price quote.
Kyle Kuhnhausen has completed some eye-catching builds, but there’s no doubt his greatest achievements are on the road in front of him – not in the rearview mirror.
Check out Kyle online