Swap
Nowadays in hot rodding, engine swaps typically surface in one of two methods, placing the new engine where it never existed or a retrofit. The LS engine has grown tremendously in popularity in the rodding world thanks to its easy initial fit or as a retrofit. There are many companies that offer motor mount plates that attach to the LS block and then to the already-present small-block Chevy mount, making the retro fit as close to a direct fit as possible. There are plenty of LS headers and stock exhaust manifolds available. Just make sure these headers will clear your motor mounts, steering components, frame, and any crossmembers.

A note on exhaust systems: the factory exhaust manifolds were modified by SO-CAL by cutting at a 7-degree angle along the face that bolts to the head. This "fly cut" allows the lower portion of the manifolds to "pull in" thereby clearing the Vega steering box and shafts, motor mounts, and '32 framerails (particularly on the driver side). The stock manifolds effectively were turned into "block huggers".

There are a handful of other items, some may already be on your car or you will have to fabricate from existing pieces; fuel tank, fuel lines, fuel pump, fuel tank vent line to the evaporative emissions canister, purge line from the canister to the engine purge solenoid, air induction system that incorporates the mass airflow sensor, and if you want an exhaust system behind the catalytic converters. Experience taught us the supplied four Camaro catalytic converters provided ample sound muffling and as such no conventional mufflers were required. Another aftermarket piece that might come in handy is one of the thermostat housings offered by Street & Performance (Mena, AR). There is a 90- and 45-degree that rotate 360 degrees, which comes in handy when positioning your radiator hose between the block and the radiator.

A Quick Spin Around Arizona
On paper all of this sounds great but nothing beats the seat-of-the-pants test. To prove a point that the E-ROD package is everything a hot rod powerplant should be and then some, Chapouris and myself took a lap around Arizona. By logging 875-plus miles in three days we were able to get opinions from shop owners, builders, and individual rodders.

We began our trip at the SO-CAL shop in Pomona, California, bright and early at the crack of noon, or something like that. From here our first stop was Phoenix, other than the California Highway Patrol officer who informed us we should check our speedometer calibration. We visited with Frank and Mary Streff of SO-CAL Speed Shop of Phoenix before moving onto Camp Verde and the shop of Bob Everts. Here we met with other rodders who included Clyde "Ross" Morgan an artist of incredible talent making bronze dioramas of early hot rods and a very talented sheetmetal pro in Paul Dunaway.

The next day it was onto Jerome, Arizona, (Chapouris has family roots in this 7,000-plus foot mountainside mining town) and a chance to take in some sights and refresh our parched pallet. Wouldn't you know it, we're in the middle of nowhere and a hot order walks up to us and recognizes the car, Chapouris , and myself, and begins to fill us in on the rodding at random in the locale. From here it was onto Prescott, Arizona, to visit with Garth Bowie who is currently restoring very rare vintage race cars. Back in 1983 he appeared in STREET RODDER and has always been known for his metalworking.

Our goal was to visit with a number of rodders and let them see, hear, ask questions, and in some cases drive the E-ROD-powered highboy, and to get their impressions and opinions.

All were impressed with the smoothness of the idle and quietness, yet all commented on the throaty hot rod sound the car has when under throttle. The roadster responded to the touch of the fly-by-wire throttle easily and with plenty of power regardless of altitude; this trip had it all from near sea level to 7,023 feet above sea level.

Hot rodding will always be about building something that represents your ideas and goals. However, going forward we are no longer "flying under the radar", and as such the outside world looks to us and it now becomes our responsibility to show that we care about our hobby and the air we breathe.