In these times, budgets have become part of our lives as the economy gets worse. We have learned to budget our money for our best interest. We all want the most for our money, with that said, why just dress up your engine when you could get the performance and efficiency out of it as well. This is what we have been saying for years and lowriders today have embraced that philosophy, and are always looking for the performance investment that will keep them out of the garage and onto the streets.

Today’s lowriders are looking at building engines that are going to last and be able to take the upgrades. With that said, newer technology has become more available at affordable pricing as fuel injection motors are becoming easier to obtain. In GM’s arsenal, the LS series fuel injected motors that were introduced in 1997 are the next generation of small blocks that could be tuned to give you at least 400 hp and over 20 miles to the gallon.

One of the most popular new performance tricks for custom engines is adding custom belts and pulleys, or in some cases “Serpentine” drive systems, similar to those found on most of today’s stock cars and trucks. Some of today’s belt systems start off from $650-2,500 depending on the manufacturer and style that you choose. There are several aftermarket Serpentine systems available, and they all work well as the industry has finally got the R&D down to where it should be. Most Serpentine systems have their own unique style and appearance. When choosing a Serpentine kit, it will come down to individual style, preference, and budget.

Letting your engine breathe is very important and is usually one of the first upgrades performed on cars. From glass packs, to a set of modern day Flowmaster exhaust mufflers, when you purchase custom exhaust systems for your vehicle, you can be rest assured that you are getting the most advanced and professionally engineered mandrel bent exhaust system available. Each exhaust systems is custom tailored to fit your vehicle for ease of installation and to give your vehicle that custom look. Benefits of exhaust systems include reduced back pressure for improved acceleration and towing power, cooler under hood temperatures, cleaner and more efficient burn in the combustion chambers, and last and very importantly, better fuel economy. Other upgrades that you can do for your exhaust include, adding a set of hedders. Many companies like Hooker Headers are offering 50 state legal headers for certain applications, but you should always look at your state laws to see what restrictions may apply to your ride.

Picking the right combination of accessories can really dress up your engine compartment, but they should also provide bolt-on power and give your car a little extra go for your money. So if you want to look good under the hood, or if you just want to build a reliable engine, this guide should help you go in the right direction.

We used Harbor Freight Tools engine stands that were designed and priced right for the usage that we needed to build the engines. For more info on these stands and other Harbor Freight products, log onto their website at:

Holley’s low volume fuel pump is perfect for them stock to mild builds as they will not blow the fuel bowls. To learn more about their fuel pump, log onto:

Street And Performance chrome freeze plug covers will give your engine the detail to stand out from the rest. To learn more about this and other Street and Performance products, log onto:

You can also see how these un-expensive freeze plug covers will compliment the engine. To learn more about the freeze plug covers, log onto:

Power Master high torque starters feature a chrome finish and come with a variety of torque depending on the needs of your engine. To learn more about this starter and other products, log onto:

Pro Forms small-block Chevy starters are designed to give you the most start for your money. This new starter will help start your engine every time. To view all of their products, visit them at:

CFR Performance also carries chrome smooth finish air cleaners. Visit CFR Products at:

MSD Ignition HEI distributors have a built-in module. No ignition control is required and they provide more than adequate spark output for street/strip applications. For more information on this and other MSD distributors, visit them at:

Pro Form HEI distributors feature sintered steel weights, withstanding 270-newtons minimum for maximum durability, and a validated harness and capacitor for reliable energy flow. To view all of their products, log onto at:

MSD Ignition distributors also have a built-in module. No ignition control is required and they provide more than adequate spark output for street/strip applications. For more information on this and other MSD distributors, visit them at:

CFR Performance chrome ball mill air cleaner will save you time and the hassle of dealing with chrome plating shops. To learn about this and other CFR Products, visit them at:

Summit Racing’s oval ball mill breathers will give your engine valve covers a streamline look without sacrificing any air restrictions for your engine. To gain more knowledge about this and other Summit Racing products visit them at:

Lokar’s 350 dipstick will always dress up your transmission while giving you the accurate measurement of tranny fluid. To see more about this stick and other Lokar products, log onto their website at:

Performance Stainless Steel’s stainless thermostat housing fits the small and big block Chevrolet engines. To order one of these thermostats, log onto:

Lokar’s cables and brackets are a must to make any engine compartment a show winner. The Ram Jet brackets come individually and do not include the kickdown or throttle cables. To see more on this and other Lokar products, log onto their website at:

The Tru-Ram design is the result of “Speedy” Bill Smith’s years of hands-on experience, from dyno tests that prove that their header produces as much horsepower as a conventional tube header. Unlike steel tube headers, however, Tru-Ram does not generate excessive heat or noise, making them ideal for lowriders or custom cars. To inquire more about Tru-Ram manifolds, visit them online at:

Energy Suspension’s chrome motor mounts are more economical than you think and will save you time and headaches from dealing with your local chrome plating shop. These performance motor mounts come with a few advantages over regular replacement motor mounts. To learn more about this and other Energy suspension products, log onto:

Summit Racing’s 90-degree swivel thermostat will allow the fluids to flow. To learn more about this aluminum thermostat housing, log onto:

CFR Performance chrome ball mill valve cover breathers are the best deal in town and will save you the headaches that come-dealing with the chrome shops. To learn about this and other CFR Products visit them at

Street and Performance low profile swivel water neck for tune port injection is a must. To learn more about this and other Street and Performance products, log onto:

ARP Fasteners/ ARP stainless steel cylinder head bolts will help give your engine the final details with out sacrificing the strength from other regular bolts. To learn more about these and other ARP products, surf the web at:

GM Performance small-block Chevy 350 features a candy paintjob, ARP stainless steel bolts and a Milodon oil pan. To find out more about this type of engine, log onto GM Performance at:

This engine was dressed up with CFR Performance products. From the chrome ball mill valve covers to the chrome pulleys and brackets. To experience and know more about this and other CFR Performance parts visit them at:

GM Performance crate engines will give you a head start and allow you to dress up your engine as we did with Proform’s GM chrome timing covers and freeze plug covers. Professional Products chrome intake and a Holley carburetor were also added. To get more info about this and other GM Performance engines, log onto:

This engine feature is dressed up by Specialty Auto Parts which includes these stylish but aggressive looking valve covers that fit any Chevy small-block from 1958 to 1986 and are available in, polished chrome, metallic gray or Chevy Orange, and feature raised or recessed logo styles. For carburetion a 650 Proform carburetor was used. Spark was provided by the Proform HEI distributor. To preview these covers, and all of Specialty Auto’s internal and external engine parts and engine building tools, visit:

Vintage Air FrontRunner Drive Systems were engineered to convert any small-block Chevrolet to the popular and more dependable serpentine belt design. The only design also on the market that utilizes a spring-loaded tensioning system for a no-nonsense, trouble free operation. To learn more about motor mounts and other cool applications, visit them at:

March Performance’s Ultra Drive front style mount kits are economical, and are designed to fit Ram Jet, Tune ports, Single and multi carb engines. To check out more about this and other March Performance products, log onto

Professional Products billet oil filters not only look good, but allow you to wash and re-use the oil filter. To learn more about this and other Professional Products, visit them on the web at:

Summit Racing now offers its own Serpentine kits for small- block Chevy-first generation small-blocks Chevy (pre-1987). Owners can now get an affordable, easy-to-install Serpentine belt system. To learn more about this kit, log onto:

K&N which is known for air cleaners, has been producing oil filters for years that keep the dirt particles out when it is extremely necessary. To learn about this and other K&N applications, visit them on their website at:

CFR Performance pulleys and brackets will pull you on the right budget. This kit comes complete with water pump, alternator and power steering pump. To learn more about this chrome pulley system, log onto:

March Performance LS1 Pro Trak will keep you on the right track. This entry level system will help your LS1 build with out pulling your wallet out too many times. To learn more about this and other March Performance products, log onto: