Aside from the fact that lowriding is a lifestyle that revolves around the family unit and creativity, the true essence and beauty of lowriding (at least in a vehicular sense) is the artistry found within each build. When speaking in terms of just the automotive beauty that this culture has to offer, it’s safe to say that there’s much more to this community than just the typical candy and chrome. If someone is willing to set the glitz aside, they’re sure to find that lowriders have the ability to easily “ooooooh” and “aahhhhhh” anyone willing to take the time to look. From their intricate hydraulic setups (which range from mild to wild) to their oftentimes chrome, candied, and boxed frames, lowriders are an art where the only the only limitations are your creative vision and budget.
Now, when it comes time to working on a “frame-off restoration” there wasn’t really a plethora of options to choose from when it came time to modifying a frame. The most typical option was to “box” the frame and while the method definitely works, it may end up becoming a thing of the past as Art Morrison Enterprises (AME) now offers these state-of-the-art frames. At face value, the cost of these frames may seem like a far cry from the typical cost of simply boxing a frame, but when one adds up all the new components that need to be added to an older frame then what you really find is that an AME frame isn’t really that much more and what you really get is a frame of superior construction.
During a recent visit to House of Pain (the famed lowrider and classic car restoration facility located in Baldwin Park, California), we came just in time to witness the delivery of one of the biggest and sweetest packages we’ve seen to date. That package? It was literally a boxed frame with a multi-link rear suspension for a ’63 Impala from the artisans over at AME.
The frame was delivered for one of House of Pain’s customers and, in short, it was a work of art. Constructed from 2×4-inch rectangular tubing, the frame was stellar in build quality as well as craftsmanship. Each of their frames is built based on CAD-designed drawings and all of the rectangular tubing is custom rolled for AME in 20-foot lengths. Before each frame is put together, customers are presented with a CAD spec sheet showcasing all their options, as well as specifications that include special requests as well as suspension setups and the appropriate clearance for custom tire widths. Once approved by the customers, the frames are run through mandrel bending machines (to help eliminate tube warping and wrinkling), thus making the frames a stellar piece of tubular artistry. With the frame upright, we had a change to inspect the frame closely and the quality of the cuts and welds are up to par with what we’d expect.
In short, AME frames offer lowrider builders a chance to create vehicles with sound structural support along with suspensions that are bulletproof and built to perform.
2. Wilwood disc brakes
3. Rear arm mount bushings
4. Energy Suspension Frame bushings
5. Energy Suspension transmission bushing
6. Energy Suspension Steering stabilizer bushings
7. Holley oil pan
8. Optima red top batteries
9. Chevrolet Performance Connect & Cruise LS engine
10. Chevrolet Performance 4L85E transmission
The Sum of All Parts
They Say You Are Who You Hang With, So We Take a Look at the A-list of Parts That Will Bless this Art Morrison Frame
Energy Suspension Bushings
All bushings and body mounts for this project will be utilizing replacement bushings from Energy Suspension. Considered the industry standard, Energy Suspension makes all their bushings and mounts from rugged HYPER-FLEX performance polyurethane material. Soft enough to provide a quality ride, yet strong enough to handle the extremities of off-road trucks, they’re sure to handle anything a lowrider can throw its way. Included in most sets are zinc-plated steel rings molded into the bushings, thus offering added durability and longevity.
Whereas some companies offer nothing more than marketing hype, Energy Suspension has earned its gold standard reputation from the performance it provides backed by over 20 years of experience working with and formulating polyurethane materials. Stay posted for additional articles that will show you how to property install them.
For this particular project, House of Pain decided to go with brakes that would eliminate the mush, so they went with Wilwood Brakes. This kit, which was made specifically for Impalas and Corvettes, is a bolt-on kit made of forged billet alloy. This particular series, called the Dynalite Series with four-piston calipers, will provide the clamping force and stopping power necessary for your build. Four stainless steel pistons inside the caliper provide fully balanced pad loading along with corrosion resistance and thermal retardant to help keep the brakes cool. The kits are available with polished or gloss-black coated calipers and they also take special request for coatings and paint codes.
Rotors for these kits come in either 11- or 12.19-inch rotors that can be ordered with smooth face, or drilled and slotted rotors. Be sure to check them out online to see what fits best and if you have any questions their customer service department is sure to help find what suits your build best.
After looking at the initial laundry list of parts going into this build it comes as no surprise that even the smallest addition of parts come from an A-list family. So when it came time to power things up it was a no brainer to go with Optima Batteries. Utilizing their Spiralcell Technology, Optima batteries can withstand over 15 times more vibration resistance and increased cycle life compared to traditional units. They’re virtually spill-proof, maintenance free and, in the end, that means that you’ve got absolute peace of mind and that in itself is priceless.
Chevrolet Performance LS9 6.2L Supercharged Crate Engine
LS motor swaps have been all the rage in high-line lowriders and it comes as no surprise. LS motors put out an incredible amount of torque and have been proving themselves time and time again as reliable while staying in the same heritage of the cars they’re being dropped in. This time around, the owner of this build decided to go all out and drop in a brand-new LS9 6.2L SC motor. Packing a whopping 638 horsepower, the LS9 is a technological marvel. High-rpm-validated lightweight reciprocating parts, including titanium intake valves, are used along with high-flow cylinder heads that draw the charge forced on them from a sixth-generation supercharger. It has a high-helix (twist) design that helps the “blower” deliver greater power at the low end and sustains it longer through the rpm band for broad, on-demand power, whether off-idle or at speed.
Chevrolet Performance’s LS9 crate engine assembly includes the dry sump oil pan and provisions for the charge cooler’s liquid cooling system. You’ll need an external oil tank, external coolant tank (for the charge cooler), and ECU/wire harness to get the baddest production LS engine of them all up and running in your project vehicle. It also includes a nine-bolt crankshaft flange that may require an adapter for use with some transmissions.
Axalta Paint Tip of the Month
Synthetic Brake Fluid The Brakes Stop Right Here!
Lucas Synthetic Brake Fluid is a high-quality blend of polyethylene glycol ethers and additives that meet or exceed the industry minimum dry boiling point of 446 degrees F. It also meets the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard specifications. Lucas Brake fluid is recommended for use in both disc and drum systems, including clutch systems too, where this product type is called for. Whether you are on the boulevard or headed to the car show, all that matters is that you have to stop somewhere to show off your ride!
Prevents seal hardening or softening
Protects against rust or corrosion
Provides excellent lubricity
Compatible with all brake system rubber components and other fluids