Kooks Custom Headers
Kooks Custom Headers

Kook’s Custom Headers, Get Kookin’ with Kooks

By Billy Johnson, photos by Brian Humphries

Kook’s Custom Headers might not be a household name in the tuner market, but they pride themselves as the pioneers in the stainless steel header revolution.  Their headers are trusted in some of the most demanding environments in the world, where every last horsepower matters.  Championship-winning NASCAR, NHRA, ADRL, IHRA, NMCA, NMRA, SCCA, and NASA teams go to Kook’s Headers for their decades of experience and their high quality state-of-the-art products.

Kook’s Headers are used for a competitive advantage in everything from club racers to top levels of motorsport.  From header to exhaust tip, Kook’s has a vast product line for domestic cars and trucks, with Mustang, Camaro, SRT and Chrysler being some of their most popular applications.  While domestics and off-the-shelf headers for various engine swaps are their bread and butter, Kook’s is starting to venture into import brands as well.


Kook’s Custom Headers air conditioned 50,000sq-ft state of the art facility is located in Statesville, NC.

While Kooks was doing some exhaust work for Project E90 M3, we were given an all-access behind the scenes tour by none other than George “Papa” Kook himself.  Kook’s Custom Headers started in 1962 when George Kook Sr. was building headers himself for his personal drag car.  This experience has turned into decades of knowledge of how to make power in some of the most demanding and highest horsepower cars on the planet.  With the help of his son George Kook Jr., what started out as a personal competitive advantage, grew into a successful business of manufacturing high quality race headers and exhaust systems.  Like many companies that MotoIQ associates with, Kooks Headers is a race company that make products for street cars, rather than a retail company that throws their products on racecars for marketing.


Kooks designs and manufactures everything exhaust related for your car, from stainless steel headers and mufflers to complete exhaust systems.  Check out their Header and Exhaust for the new C7 Corvette.  They also have their own 49-state EPA certified and legal “Green” Catalytic Converters which are the only aftermarket racing cats that will officially make your car pass emissions, not throw a CEL, and will work on applications up to 800hp.
Inside the Kooks R&D (“Racing & Development”) shop is where a lot of magic happens.  This is where racecars ranging from Legends cars on up to NASCAR and NHRA Pro Modifieds go to have their exhausts made.  It is also where their 6-Axis CAD Roamer Arm is located.  Every OEM production car comes here to be scanned and digitized as the first step to producing an exhaust system.  Here you can see project E90 M3 as well as the hood of the #61 Roush Performance GS Mustang that I raced.

Inside the R&D building was this inconspicuous Mustang, which houses an Armageddon Twin Turbo system fabricated by Kooks Headers.  Depending on the turbo specified, this kit makes anywhere from 700-1,600whp.  Everything is properly designed, from the use of the flex joints to the beautifully executed welds; it even comes with a complete step-by-step DIY video installation.  This is a really nice turbo system. 

As an innovator in the exhaust industry Kooks not only prides themselves on delivering a competitive advantage with their high quality products, but great customer service is their number one priority both before and after a purchase.   Every decision Kook’s makes as a company has a purpose, even when it comes to the location of their facility.  They moved from New York to be closer to their Stainless Steel supplier in North Carolina in order to cut down on shipping costs to be able to offer the best products at the best prices to both consumer and racer alike.

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