Power Brokers: Wegner LS Crate Engine
Ever since the first LS engines hit the open market over a decade ago, hot rodders have been grabbing them up, and Wegner has been there to provide the aftermarket support to make those hot rod dreams come true. When it comes to LS hardware, Wegner is an experienced hand, and is now offering 415ci engine assemblies based on a new L92 block, a 4-inch stroke Compstar forged crankshaft, 6.125-inch forged con rods, and custom forged pistons. In complete form, the Wegner 415 LS crate motor makes a dyno-verified 610 hp at 6,300 rpm, and 550 lb-ft of torque at 5,400 rpm.
Wegner offers the 415 LS in four forms at various stages of completion. The assembled short-block (SP415S) includes rotating assembly, windage tray, rear seal cover, and custom valley tray for $5,595. The 415 LS long-block (SP415T)-which is actually a partial long-block-adds to that the CNC-ported cylinder heads, camshaft, rocker arms, pushrods, oil pan, and oil pump for $9,495. The complete long-block (SP415C) finishes it out by adding an ATI damper, distributor front drive, Wegner front accessory drive assembly (non A/C), Stewart water pump, Carter fuel pump, single-plane intake, HEI distributor, plug wires, spark plugs, lift plate, 750-cfm vacuum-secondary carb, and is dyno tested for $13,895. The Premium Engine (SP415P) swaps out the non-A/C accessory drive for A/C, and swaps the HEI distributor for an MSD ready-to-run unit and stand-alone coil ($14,195).
The way we see it, the Wegner 415 LS advantage over a traditional big-block of similar power is its much lighter weight and better vehicle balance. We also like the simplicity of the carb and standard ignition that has always worked in the favor of more traditional engines.
Wideband oxygen sensors have been around a long time; their role in calibrating air/fuel ratios was established way back in the '60s when vehicle manufacturers used them for production car development. It was bulky, complicated equipment that required patience and engineering know-how to use. Today we take wideband oxygen sensors for granted, but they still have a lot in common with their ancestors: complexity. These important tuning devices still live decidedly on the "geek" side of the railroad tracks, but FAST has fixed that situation with their new wideband air/fuel gauge kit (part No. 170634, $209.95)
This new inexpensive air/fuel ratio kit contains everything you need, and requires no special calibration, no computers, and no special training or procedures. You get a super fast and accurate 21/16-inch gauge (backlit), a Bosch wideband oxygen sensor, and a stand-alone sensor control unit. It can even be wired to power up whenever the engine is running.
Classic Louver Look
If you're looking to give your new Mustang that classic louver look for the rear window, you'll be happy to know that one company-Willpak-still makes them under the Astra-Hammond brand. Louvers have always been an effective mod, both from an aesthetic standpoint, and from a functional standpoint. Louvers provide a cooler interior, less glare, and improved privacy without running afoul of prevailing window-tint laws. The Astra-Hammond louver for new Mustangs is made out of UV resistant ABS, and mounts via a stainless mounting plate for a flush fit. It can also be easily removed for cleaning as needed.
90-10 Drag Shock
Calvert Racing makes no bones about their purpose in life: to get down the quarter-mile as quickly and drama-free as possible. When you're as single-minded about your goals as Calvert, you're going to be darned good at getting the job done, especially when you don't have to compromise. As with their Caltracs bars and Split-Mono Leaf springs, Calvert is also attacking the track in mind-bending fury with their new line of 90-10 shocks. These are designed for maximum weight transfer on launch, and feature a unique dual-stage valving that allows for quick extension on launch, and a more settled stance at the top end for better high-speed stability. Most applications are just $59 each, making it well worth the investment in a lower e.t.
CPP Has Brembo
Classic Performance Products (CPP) has been selling great braking systems for muscle cars for years. In fact, CPP sells most of the popular brands already, and that simple fact allows them to do a very good job of matching the right brake system to the car, driver, intended use, and budget. Now that CPP has worked a special deal with Brembo to be the exclusive dealer of AFX Muscle Car disc brake systems for GM applications, that job becomes even easier. The Brembo AFX system falls at the high end of the spectrum price-wise, with kits for '64-72 Chevelle (GM A-body), '67-69 Camaro, and '68-74 Nova running $3,595.
According to the information provided to Popular Hot Rodding, Brembo's unique float bushings on their billet aluminum bells allow the disc to seek true centerline for consistent braking. This floating-disc design reduces stress to the wheel bearings and hubs. Two-piece rotors also reduce un-sprung weight by approximately 8 pounds per corner for better handling and acceleration. The mounting system is designed to allow a specific amount of float in both radial and axial directions. Brembo has designed special anti-rattle springs that are used on some fasteners in order to slightly preload the assembly, and prevent excessive noise during street use. Brembo's high-performance calipers have four sequentially sized pistons for even pad wear (40-44mm diameter) and zero off-pedal drag.
Classic Performance Products
Shiftworks For Overdrives
We realize that not everyone wants a huge race shifter bolted to their trans tunnel. Sometimes you just want stealth, and that big, obnoxious billet shifter just isn't going to fit in with the intent of your low-key street cruiser. The experts at Shiftworks in Rochester, New York, are big fans of that type of car, and like building gear that has the rugged reliability of race hardware, but looks factory stealth. In fact, the central theme of their bread-and-butter product line is factory restoration shifters that have added features for today's drivelines.
The idea behind Shiftworks' new universal shifter for GMs is to build a better mousetrap that looks and feels like the original, but that has a lot more beefcake. The best part is that it's set up to work with all popular GM overdrive transmissions like the 700-R4, 200-4R, 4L60, 4L65, and 4L80. It also works with three-speeds, like the Turbo 350 and Turbo 400. Shiftworks builds it with a stainless steel handle and button, a reverse lock-out, and detents for each gear. A universal bracket kit for floor mounting is included, and it can be ordered with either a rod-, or cable-style linkage. Prices start at $224.50.
The Legend Series of wheels from Billet Specialties has proven to be a big hit with Pro Touring and Street Rod enthusiasts everywhere. The Dagger and Bullet styles are available in popular 17-, 18-, and 20-inch sizes with 5x4.5 and 5x4.75-inch bolt circles, and there's ample space for big brake kits with a 1-inch caliper clearance. But what if you're not into highly polished wheels, either for maintenance reasons, or for aesthetic reasons? Billet Specialties has just come out with an optional Prismatic Bronze powder coat, that gives your car a more understated look. It also cleans up with just a damp cloth or a spritz with the hose. We called Billet Specialties and asked how much all this goodness was going to cost, and they said it's a zero-cost option. (Any Billet Specialties dealer can sell them too.) We then checked Jegs.com, and found a typical 17x8 Dagger wheel for $324.99.
You can spend a lot of money on upgrading your second-gen Camaro's stock steering with better steering boxes, bumpsteer kits, high-volume pumps, and new spindle arms, but no matter how far you take it, and no matter how much you spend, it will always feel like a recirculating-ball steering system. For that kind of money, you might as well go to a new ground-up design from Unisteer, and get state-of-the-art rack-and-pinion gear. Unisteer specializes in rack-and-pinions steering, and their kits are known for their quality, engineering, and ease of installation. These true bolt ons require no welding, cutting, or drilling, and are compatible with stock steering columns. Also in the plus column: zero bumpsteer, great ground clearance, and a full turning radius. Everything you need to convert your Camaro's steering (including a lifetime warranty) is included in the kit's $1,774 price tag.