In the walk of the hot rodding aftermarket, the term battle tested serves merely as a euphemism for track-tested racing hardware. When the products at hand are Jet-Hot’s well-known ceramic coatings, however, that euphemism transforms into a literary truth. Before entering the automotive market, Jet-Hot earned its red, white, and blue stripes developing coatings for the U.S. military. Whether the challenge at hand was providing a thermal barrier on fighter jet engines and submarine parts, or protecting the launch gear on aircraft carriers, Uncle Sam turned to Jet-Hot to get the job done during the heat of combat. Recognizing the benefits of Jet-Hot coatings, the Army began using them on armored vehicles as well.
Eventually, Jet-Hot pondered the benefits of applying its proven coating technology to automotive applications. After extensive research, the company developed coatings specifically for automotive use, and racers and enthusiasts alike quickly realized the benefits of Jet-Hot’s ceramic coatings. In the past, header coatings were nothing more than aesthetic products that provided little to no thermal protection, but Jet-Hot changed all that by offering coatings that not only prevented corrosion, but also looked great. In recent years, engine builders have realized the benefits of applying Jet-Hot’s thermal coatings on internal components such as pistons and cylinder head combustion chambers. Furthermore, the company has also developed a complete line of antifriction and oil-shedding coatings. To get the full scoop on coating technology, and how hot rodders can use them in their own rides, we recently sat down and chatted with Jet-Hot’s Dave Burton. Here’s what he had to say.
Origin of Coatings
Coating technology was first applied to headers in 1981. The technology was an adaptation of similar coatings Jet-Hot developed for the aerospace industry as a means of protecting high-temperature metals from oxidation. The extreme heat created by fighter jet engines, the corrosive environments they operate in, and the countless heat cycles they’re subjected to caused very rapid parts wear, so the military turned to Jet-Hot to develop coatings that extended component longevity. Furthermore, Jet-Hot has supplied proprietary coatings to protect the parts on aircraft carrier launch systems for the U.S. Navy, as well as coatings for the U.S. Army’s armored vehicles. Leveraging upon years of experience learned from providing long-term protection from corrosion and thermal fatigue in military applications, Jet-Hot transitioned into the automotive aftermarket in the early ’90s. These coatings are similar, but have been updated and enhanced over the years to meet the specific needs of the automotive segment. Jet-Hot is constantly developing and testing new coatings for specialized applications and solutions. Customers can rest assured that Jet-Hot uses the same technology in our automotive applications as in our military applications to provide a superior level of protection.
Given Jet-Hot’s extensive track record in heavy-duty military applications, we began exploring how to apply our coating technology to address the heat management issues in hot rods and race cars. After releasing our first automotive products, Jet-Hot became the number-one coating brand on the market within five years. Enthusiasts also appreciated the high-sheen finish provided by our coatings. In the early ’90s, Jet-Hot became the only coating company to support racers at the track. Legendary NHRA Funny Car champion John Force recognized the safety benefits of Jet-Hot coatings early on, as they substantially reduced header temperatures. His crew chiefs discovered that Jet-Hot’s coatings allowed for quicker cooldown periods, allowing them to rebuild their race motors more quickly between rounds.