Nothing personifies hot rodding better than the quest to improve your car through design and engineering. Regardless if it’s to make simple updates to your Chevy muscle car like improving its braking capabilities or taking on a complete rebuild, it’s these challenges that help bring cutting-edge elements to your ride by fusing performance and technology. When taking on an engine swap or simply updating your existing V-8, one of the most important areas to focus on is the overall condition of your front accessory drive system. This typically means retaining the old mounting brackets to hang your components with a web of belts to support your A/C, power steering, alternator, and fan.
Vintage Air’s team of designers and engineers developed one of the most well balanced accessory drive systems on the market today with their exclusive Front Runner system. Creating this compact drive system began with the design of a main truss bracket engineered to act as an integral part of the engine block. Combined with a more compact compressor, alternator, and high-performance water pump, the overall size of the system was tightened up to provide vastly improved front-of-engine clearances, which are extremely beneficial, especially with engine swaps. Since the new system is totally rigid, it virtually eliminates any type of harmonic vibration, which could destroy a conventional engine bracket.
While we’re showcasing the installation of the GM LS-Series Front Runner engine drive system, it’s important to note that they offer complete systems for Chevrolet big- and small-block V-8s, as well. Each kit ships complete and ready to install, bringing you the maximum performance you’d expect from Vintage Air. Showcased within the system are their exclusive main truss bracket (including all pulleys and mounts, as well as polished stainless mounting hardware from ARP), Sanden SD-7B10 compressor with O-ring adapter blocks, high-performance aluminum water pump, Dayco Performance serpentine drive belt and OEM tensioner, and ATI harmonic balancer. The system also includes a Detroit Speed Inc. aluminum TC-style (transverse bearing compact pump) power steering pump with integral reservoir, and a new 170-amp Proline alternator featuring a single-wire “hairpin” design with internal fan. The kit also includes six feet of 4-gauge wire with terminals to properly handle the high-amperage output of the alternator. As an option, the Detroit Speed Hardline Pressure Tube with banjo bolt connector specifically designed to route neatly around their integral reservoir is a tidy way to complete the installation with a nice, clean look.
Vintage Air even offers a number of different finishes to add just the right amount of highlights to your engine bay. You can choose from bright (machined main truss) with polished and chrome components, bright and chrome (machined main truss) with chrome components, black (black-anodized main truss) with matching components, or black and chrome (black-anodized main truss) featuring chrome compressor and alternator with black-anodized pulleys and brackets.
Follow along with Peter Newell, of Competition Specialties in Walpole, Massachusetts, as he installs a bright and chrome drive system on a custom-painted LS V-8 destined for a wicked 1955 Chevy Bel Air being built at the shop. CHP
ATI Performance Products
Detroit Speed Inc.
Photos & Video by Chuck Vranas
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