Engine swaps are as much a part of hot rodding as the car itself. The iconic "A/V-8" is both a hot rod and by its existence the ultimate engine swap-leave the engine and swap the body. Any car or truck regardless of year, make, or model is welcome upon the holy ground that's hot rodding with the venerable engine swap.

Something else hot rodders are familiar with is: "Necessity is the mother of invention." So it is as rodders strive to keep what's dear to their automotive souls yet help the world around us. All rodders have obstacles to overcome but California rodders have just gained one more. Worrying about impending emissions standards has never been on our radar-but it is now.

The General Motors Performance Parts E-ROD motor (PN 19244805; 24-month/50,000-mile warranty intended for an automatic) program is intended to offer rodders the latest in performance through technology, while at the same time provide what the outside world is demanding-a better place. It really is a win-win for rodders; performance and driveability coupled with a green outcome.

The E-ROD program heartbeat comes through an LS3 6.2L V-8 engine (430 hp/424 lb-ft of torque) meeting any hot rodder's requirement for max performance, while the emission package satisfies the growing need to be more "in tune" with Mother Nature. The basic kit consists of a GMPP LS3 engine wiring harness, engine control module, exhaust manifolds, catalytic converters (mount 16-20 inches from the closest cylinder head exhaust port and don't mix up right and left converters), oxygen sensors and sensor bosses, fuel tank evaporative emissions canister, mass airflow sensor and sensor boss, accelerator pedal (fly-by-wire LS3's electronic throttle), air filter, and instruction manual. The E-ROD engine packages are also emission-compliant for OBD-I (1995) and earlier model vehicles. GMPP was the first of the major auto manufacturers to offer a performance engine package that's also emissions compliant.

In order to pull off this engine swap you will need other items like a belt drive system (PN 10155066 or 19155067) and a transmission. GMPP recommends the 4L60-E overdrive transmission (PN 19156260) and transmission controller (PN 12497316). Since the swap will require a Vehicle Speed Input sensor that measures 40 pulses per revolution the supplied harness works with the 4L60 or 4L80 transmissions. (It can also be made to work with the 6L80 and 90 transmissions.)

If you really want to enjoy the LS3 performance, three pedals always trumps a non-descript gear selector. Our '32 Ford highboy roadster is fitted with an LS3 Camaro six-speed (PN 92236241). To run a six-speed you will also need a six-bolt flywheel (PN 12471611), six flywheel bolts (PN 11569956), pilot bearing (PN 12557583), clutch and pressure plate kit (PN24248945), six pressure plate bolts (PN12561465), and a release bearing (PN19210297) in transmission assembly.

The LS3 calibrated for the manual trans (PN 19256487) is ready. Eventually you will be able to select horsepower ratings from 327 hp (5.3 L) to 505 hp (LS7) to 550 hp (supercharged LSA)-all emission legal.

Should you opt for the manual box, a word on rearend gearing. The SO-CAL highboy originally had 3:56 gears and when you couple this to a six-speed you will be running 105 mph at 2,200 rpm. Probably what you want but not what you need. The six-speed gives you the option of installing some "gear" in back. Pete Chapouris (SO-CAL Speed Shop) opted to run 4:11 gears, which will yield 60 mph in Fifth gear at 2,000 rpm, while Sixth gear at 2,000 rpm will yield 89 mph. Ideal gearing for around-town acceleration and some high-speed, off-road runs.

GMPP sets the initial calibration for a 3.55 rear gear but the computer will easily handle 3.08 to 4.11 gearing. Recommended tire diameters should fall between 26 to 30 inches.