Car Audio, Custom Fabrication

LIS Audio April Feature – 1984 Cutlass Custom Lowrider a KC Showdown Build


Our client approached us with his custom low-rider, in which he wanted to upgrade the stereo system, along much of the interior. Most of the audio system and fabrication had not been swapped out or upgraded for nearly 20 years, and as you will see, it was definitely time to do so. Having recently partnered up with Kicker, Stacy and KC Showdown Promotions wanted to add some updates that would impress. With this build we decided to go for an “old school look, with a new school feel” while reaching plenty of lows in the sub-stage to hit hard and deep.

** Be sure to check out the Video at the bottom of the Blog! **

After some evaluation and shooting around some ideas, it was decided we would be building many custom interior parts and installing a good deal of audio to put on display. The plan was to install and dress lots of new Kicker products in a reliable fashion, as the car will be at many shows across the country. The list included custom floor and roof center consoles, dash tweeter plates, speakers and crossovers in all four doors, a custom built sub enclosure with a full trunk dress to cover the air ride setup, and other audio components, all while being lit by a multi-color LED lighting kit. Here is the list of products that were incorporated to get us right where we needed to be…


·     AudioControl Matrix Plus Processor

·     Three Kicker 6.5” Q Class Component Speaker Sets 

·     Two Kicker KX 400.4 4-Channel Amplifiers

·     One Kicker KX 2400.1 Mono Amplifier

·     Kicker 12” Q Class Subwoofers

·     XS Power D3100 & D5100 AGM Batteries

·     XKGlow LED Lighting

·     AutoTech 270A High-output Alternator 

With this build, we at LIS Audio wanted to show we can build custom audio in the different categories of Low-riders, “Hood Slap” or “Donk” style vehicles. We recommended the subwoofer sizes to be reduced from 15’s to 12’s while keeping the same footprint while keeping a similar footprint as the old enclosure. This would allow the perfect air volume ratio for the new Kicker subwoofers, when the enclosure is sealed. We planned to keep the air ride assembly where it already sat in the trunk and add a nice big AGM battery to the wheel well just next to it. This meant we needed to keep our enclosure within certain parameters, which further limited the design of an enclosure that would properly house 15” subs.

We put the new amplifiers off to the sides, in similar positions as the old amplifiers, but with a bit of a new flare. All other electronic components were strategically placed around the rest of the trunk in orderly fashion. Stacy wanted a new center console and a place to hold his iPad that would be the main media source for the entire stereo. We decided to build a floor center console that would allow the flip out Kenwood radio to still be able to flip up and out, while only having to remove a small magnetic panel to do so. Along with this floor center console, I brought up the idea of also adding a roof center console to give a “wrap around” center console effect. We decided to “suspend” the No Love Car Club plaque to be on display in the rear window for a unique style to the low-rider club plaque look. 

New stainless steel LED lit switches were used to power the windows, dome light, push-to-start system, and turn the audio system on without the key in the ignitions. Built into the custom ABS switch panel is the XKGlow on/off switch, a USB port connected to the radio, an AUX port for audio, and an attenuation knob to control the overall stereo volume. The wireless Kicker controller, which controls the KX 2400.1 amplifier on the subs, is built into the drivers side front area of the floor center console. To the rear of the switch panel are two large cup holders then the armrest that hides the air switch controller. The controller can be pulled out of its cubby and then retracted back in to be out of the way.

In the front doors we added two sets of the mid-bass woofers and the crossovers included in the Q Series speaker kit, while the tweeters found a permanent home in the upper dash. The rear doors were built out to house a third set of speakers and crossovers that were installed to play as coaxial speakers, rather than separate components. The front doors were a bit of a challenge due to the aftermarket power windows and power locks that had already been installed. This limited our mounting depth-to-excursion ratio of the mid-bass woofers, but not so much that we couldn’t handle the task. You will notice that after adding the grille mesh and other dress accents to the door panel it is still about ¼ inch away from the seat with weight on it. Pretty damn close but plenty of room for the speakers!

The rear of the console comes up between the subwoofers and covers the port mount area. We decided to keep the subs facing forward, as a bit of a unique style that would help to reduce the vibrations in the trunk, and push all of the bass forward into the cabin. It was our goal to generate as much bass output the setup could produce, while preventing the trunk lid from violently vibrating, as many similar vehicles with large audio setups will do. Three different ports, and a port cap, were built. The port cap was created to temporarily seal the enclosure environment for the subs. These choices of ports will allow for adjustable sub-stage tuning so that it will peak at independent frequencies, ideal for specific applications. 

Each port was built with velocity of a similarly shaped rectangular prism port and has been labeled according to the length of the deepest port wall. The ports are referred to as follows; 6.5” Port that peaks around 46 Hz, 11” Port that peaks around 36 Hz, 13” Port peaks around 34Hz, while the Sealed Cap seems to peak through 42 Hz to 56 Hz. On the RTA the Sealed Cap seemed to be the quietest of alignments playing at about 12 dB lower than the 13” Port peak. The 11” Port gets about 4 dB more when the 13” Port is swapped out, then the 6.5” Port allows for another 3 dB jump from there. Stacy can choose different sub-stage alignments depending on the scenario at hand. Whether it’s to jump on the SPL meter and see how loud it can get, or to impress spectators with how low it can go, or to just cruise and listen to great sounding bass.

The two Kicker KX 400.4 amplifiers are running the speakers and are mounted in the trunk to the left side. The KX 2400.1 amplifier running the subs is mounted to the right side. Along the trunk floor you will see the AudioControl Matrix signal processor, air tank, two air system compressors, the new multi fuse holder, power distribution blocks, the XS Power D3100 battery and new powerful 60A replays to run the air system. We dressed the entire trunk using the same grille mesh as the interior components we built out. The “Big 3 Upgrade” was performed under the hood to provide plenty of power dispersion from the alternator to the batteries, with the under hood battery being an XS Power D5100. Two runs of positive and two runs of negative, of 0 Gauge Oxygen Free copper wires, were run from front battery to rear battery.

The Cutlass went straight down to the Kansas City World of Wheels – Autorama Car Show at the Kansas City Convention Center for its unveiling in March of 2022. Esrah Bowers did the World of Wheels show featured shots that are shown here, in this blog. The next show it went to was Orange Beach Invasion in Florida for the weekend. Make sure you catch the Cutlass at a local Kansas City show, or at a national show near you. Just follow KC Showdown Promotions to know where the next shows where it will possibly be featured. Make sure you also follow our pages to see what is next to come for the Cutlass at LIS Audio!

A quick overview video of the full build. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel to see more builds!

Thank you for reading our How-To blog! Make sure to follow the LIS Audio Blog to see what we will feature next!! Find us on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube!!

Contact LIS Audio if you have any questions…

Call: (913) 912- 6990



631 A-Line Dr, Spring Hill, KS 66083, USA

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