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Chevrolet Bolt-On Upgrades - Bolt-On Bonanza

Compilation of High-Performance Goodies

Jake Amatisto Jul 25, 2012
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As Chevy enthusiasts, we have an enormous amount of bolt-ons to choose from. Whether it’s a Chevelle, Camaro, early Nova, and even some of the more uncommon cars, like late ’70s “Disco” Novas and ’80s G-bodies, all have an extensive bolt-on aftermarket—parts that can be installed in a weekend to make any GM muscle machine shine brighter, run stronger, and/or feel safer. Suspension, brakes, engine, and even bolt-on chassis components are becoming more readily available each year, which can empower even casual enthusiasts to install go-fast goodies themselves. Even those who want to tackle more involved projects have options. Companies like Detroit Speed, The Roadster Shop, Church Boys Racing, and others have been cranking out bolt-on subframe kits with suspension and steering in place for all the popular Chevys, so those with more time, money, and skill can take their bolt-on build to another level.

You can build a pretty nice ride with upgrades you can do yourself, but, of course, there will always be the need for a professional. Many gearheads would agree, some hot rod tasks are better off being installed by someone who has the tools, shop, experience, and time to take on. It’s like a free tattoo or tonsillectomy; sometimes there are things you want to pay for. But as for the majority of the gearhead masses, bolt-ons are great and sometimes being able to upgrade your car in a weekend with your buddies is just as rewarding as actually installing the part on the car. In the next several pages we show off a whole slew of bolt-ons for your Chevy, including some parts you’re familiar with, as well as some you may not be. From bolt-on frame kits that may require a week to complete in your driveway, to a simple carburetor swap for your street machine, this compilation has a little bit for everyone in the high-performance Chevy world.

Monster flow

Racing Head Service’s Pro Elite Heads for LS7

When Racing Head Service (RHS) released their radically strong LS engine block in 2010, LS fanatics everywhere were anxious to see what heads RHS would roll out to match their superstrong block. Two years later, RHS released some heads that work perfectly with their beefy LS creation. The Pro Elite LS7 aluminum cylinder heads are some of RHS’ most potent castings available for the LS platform. A raised intake runner design provides monster airflow, yet still allows for both production and aftermarket LS7 intake manifolds. The CNC-machined 0.220-inch raised intake ports, combined with a 12-degree valve angle, provide phenomenal airflow from 0.400-0.800 lift; we even heard rumors of 390 cfm at 0.700 lift on the intake and 238 cfm on the exhaust side. Additionally, these heads can be ordered complete or bare with small “peanut ports” for those who port their own heads. One key feature about the heads is that they feature the ever-sealing, boost-containing, combustion-holding six-bolt head design, making them compatible with the RHS LS Race and GM LSX block as well. The additional clamping force from six bolts around each cylinder provides incredible head gasket retention, making them perfect for high-boost application. A 0.750-inch-thick deck surface, a reinforced solid rocker rail, and raised 0.400-inch valve cover rails are just a handful of the trick features these heads come with.

chp 01 O  Chevrolet Bolt On Upgrades Pro Elite 2/17

PN: 54501 (complete with valve job)
Price: $1,200 (each)

What We Would Do:
It would be a real shame if you decided to build an engine with RHS’ Pro Elite LS7 heads and didn’t put the six-bolt head design to the test, so we are imagining we’d construct a wild 427 LS with twin 72mm turbochargers, for the street, of course.

Racing Head Service

Quick Slayer

Quick Fuel Technology’s Street Slayer Carburetor

Can we interest anyone in a brand-new carburetor for $300? Quick Fuel Technology’s line of Street Slayer carburetors is an affordable way to increase the performance of any ride. At 650 or 750 cfm with a vacuum secondary, they cover most of the real-world street machine combos out there, but the Street Slayer carbs aren’t bland, stripped-down pieces; they are handbuilt, and unlike most carburetors, QFT’s are aluminum. Other features include a CNC’d secondary metering plate with changeable jets, they even come with changeable idle air and high-speed air bleeds for those who want to really dial it in. The QuickSet adjustment mechanism on the vacuum secondary can be adjusted externally, without having to change diaphragms.

chp 02 O  Chevrolet Bolt On Upgrades 3/17

PN: SL-600-VS (650 cfm),
SL-750-VS (750 cfm)
Price: $300

What We Would Do:
You would be surprised how much better an old muscle car will run with a carburetor that wasn’t found in the back of a van at the boneyard. A lot of times when we pick up a new project car, the carburetor is typically in terrible shape, so we usually swap on something affordable like QFT’s Street Slayer to make them run properly. This would be the go-to part the next time we drag a basket case back from the High Desert or somewhere else that wreaks havoc on carburetion systems.

Quick Fuel Technology

Today’s T-Ram

Holley’s Modular LS Hi-Ram

The word modular has been synonymous with the Ford Mustang engine for so long that we almost forgot it applies to other things. The modular in this case is referring to Holley’s Hi-Ram for LS engines, which is a modifiable tunnel ram-style intake manifold that covers a wide array of different engine builds. If you want to run dual-quads, they have a top for that. If you want to run a throttle body on the back or the front of it, they have a top for that too. The LS engine platform can be built to any performance level and with Holley’s Hi-Ram, you’re covered no matter what you decide to build. There are even blank tops for those who want to run injection stacks or some other wild induction, and Holley even has a flange that allows you to make your own sheetmetal top.

chp 03 O  Chevrolet Bolt On Upgrades Modular 4/17

PN: 300-213 (base only)
Price: $650

What We Would Do:
We have always liked the look and high-rpm performance of a cast-aluminum tunnel-ram. It seems, however, they have gotten a bad rap in recent years, mostly because there haven’t been any new designs (a lot of what you see available for small- and big-blocks was developed in the ’80s and ’90s). We would plumb approximately four stages of nitrous on this baddie (the runners are certainly long enough) and set it on some wicked screamer-of-an-LS engine, then abuse it with a progressive N20 controller and a clutch.


In the Loop

Moroso Performance’s Fifth-Gen Driveshaft Safety Loop

With how easy it is to make the newest-generation Camaro superfast, we’re surprised we haven’t seen too many driveshaft mishaps at the strip. Investing in this simple, bolt-on driveshaft loop can save you not only embarrassment at the track, but it can also prevent you from pole-vaulting your fifth-gen onto its roof. Moroso designed it to contain the driveshaft in the event of a front U-joint failure and the loop itself (the bracket stays bolted in place) is removable, making pulling a driveshaft a snap.

chp 04 O  Chevrolet Bolt On Upgrades Safety 5/17

PNs: 62640, C3174 and 62641, C3175
Price: $150

What We Would Do:
First of all, we would buy an all-black ’12 SS Camaro, put a supercharger on it, maybe some gears and slicks, and become a weekly regular again at our local eighth-mile dragstrip. Of course, we’d run Moroso’s loop mostly because, knowing our luck, we’d launch the shaft on the first run.

Moroso Performance Products

Back to the Front

Heidts Hot Rod & Muscle Car Parts’ Bolt-in Front Suspension for ’62-67 Novas

If you want to drastically improve the handling and braking of your shoebox Nova, few upgrades are as effective as Heidts’ front subframe/suspension kits. For about $3,000 you can change your Nova from feeling like a refrigerator full of bowling balls to a ground-hugging performer. It just bolts right onto the firewall in place of the original subframe with no welding. They come with adjustable coilover shock assemblies, tubular control arms, 11-inch disc brakes with Wilwood four-piston calipers, and manual rack-and-pinion steering setup. You can also get this with narrowed control arms (for those who want wide tires), and larger, six-piston brakes. The list of options for these kits is vast, so if you want something specific on your frontend, Heidts will likely offer it as an option.

chp 05 O  Chevrolet Bolt On Upgrades 6/17

PN: BX-320
Price: Starts at $3,200

What We Would Do:
If money was no object (and if we had a ’67 Nova), we would order a triple-throw-down front clip from Heidts with all the badass big brakes, narrowed tubular arms, sway bar, drop spindles, and power steering rack. Then, we’d match the front with Heidts’ bolt-in Pro-G independent rear suspension and start carving corners at brain-bruising speeds.

Heidts Hot Rod & Muscle Car Parts

Increasing Aggression

Mast Motorsports’ Stage III Track Package for LS3

If you’re dismantling your car that’s only a couple years old, it typically means you either bought a lemon, or you really want to go faster. For those who are daring enough to take apart their LS3 engine for the sake of horsepower, you are in luck with Mast Motorsports’ Track Packages. Available in three different levels that cover even the L99, Mast’s Stage III kit can increase your fifth-gen’s horsepower by over 120 in some engine combinations. The heads included are Mast’s expertly ported 12-degree castings, and to match them is a single-bolt camshaft with a duration of 230/244 at 0.050, with a lift of 588/607. The package also comes with Mast’s premium nitrided valvesprings and stainless valves.

chp 06 O  Chevrolet Bolt On Upgrades Mast 7/17

PN: Call
Price: $5,000

What We Would Do:
Since we already talked about beating on a hypothetical ’12 Camaro in the Moroso piece earlier, we’ll continue pretending. We imagine after a few years of running our Camaro SS with just a supercharger, the need for speed would probably take over and we’d likely end up salivating over one of Mast’s Track Packages. This can really take your late-model to the next level, and with an estimated 125hp increase, coupled with some boost or nitrous, you could have one very fast fifth-gen.

Mast Motorsports

Coiled, Ready to Strike

Detroit Speed’s A-Body Coilover Conversion

If you want to make your ’64-66 A-body traverse like a modern sports car, you’re going to need a lot of help. Besides being typically heavy, those old car suspension designs were never intended to handle aggressive cornering, so that’s why Detroit Speed came up with a bolt-on coilover rear suspension (as well as front suspension) for GM’s popular muscle cars. Besides being easily installed, the DSE coilover package also offers extensive ride height adjustability with custom valving in the struts. Available in single or double adjustable, this bolt-on kit offers multiple settings for both compression and rebound.

chp 07 Chevrolet Bolt On Upgrades Coils 8/17

PN: 042404
Price: $1,100

What We Would Do:
This is the type of product we were talking about in the intro—a kit that basically empowers the at-home gearhead to start tackling more serious bolt-on projects. We would have this setup under what we picture being a “homebuilt hero”, something that can be put together in the garage with basic tools, but still be a performer on the street and track.

Detroit Speed

Hustle & Flow

Air flow Research’s 385cc BBC Heads

If you want big, bolt-on power from a set of cylinder heads, look no further than Air Flow Research. At the bottom of the list of AFR’s big-block heads is the 385cc castings. With larger and larger engines becoming the norm in not only racing, but on the street as well, the folks at AFR developed a head to cater to those 555 and 600-plus cubic-inch engines. As AFR’s highest flowing big-block head, they claim their 385cc heads flow up nearly 440 cfm at usable lift points, and enough exhaust flow to still maintain over 75 percent of that number at 0.800 lift (335 cfm at 0.800 lift), according to AFR’s website. These heads make big power at 7,800 to 8,500 rpm, although titanium valves are recommended over 8,000. Of course, to fully utilize the hurricane airflow you’ll need a large camshaft, somewhere in the 0.780 to 0.850 range, which, if you’re in the market for heads that flow over 400 cfm in the first place, you probably knew already.

chp 09 O  Chevrolet Bolt On Upgrades Air Flow Research Bbc 9/17

PN: 2020
Price: $3,600

What We Would Do:
Potent, out-of-the-box components like these behemoths from AFR would be perfect for a mail-order 1,000hp build. We would probably just pick up the phone and order a high-compression 632ci short-block from a reputable engine builder, stab a proper camshaft in it, and top it with these trick pieces. We wouldn’t even need to spray or boost it … at first.

chp 08 O  Chevrolet Bolt On Upgrades 10/17

Air flow Research

Transformation Catalyst

Roadster Shop’s Fast Track Chassis System for Second-Gen Camaros

Need a reason to completely transform your ’71 Camaro with a rotted frame into a modern-day Pro Touring street machine? You no longer have to worry about that salt-eaten frame and worn suspension; Roadster Shop offers a whole brand-new chassis system that’s specifically designed with high performance in mind. The Fast Track Chassis System is built with a sturdy CNC-cut, fully boxed framerails that eliminates flex associated with aggressive driving. Because of the frame’s unique design, it allows the builder to lower the floor of the car, maximizing headroom and interior space, while still allowing for 3-inch exhaust. The Fast Track IFS front clip incorporates modern components such as a new power rack-and-pinion, C6 Corvette spindles, Z06 hubs, and splined sway bars. A narrow chassis design allows for 10-inch-wide front wheels and 275-series tires, along with a staggering 12-inch-wide rear wheel and 345 tire. This setup also provides one of the lowest ride heights (4 to 5 inches) and the Fast Track frame comes fitted with a heavy-duty 9-inch rearend and 31-spline axles. You could also couple this chassis with a Roadster Shop Fast Track independent rear suspension setup for those who really want to carve the snot out of the tarmac.

chp 10 O  Chevrolet Bolt On Upgrades 11/17

PN: Call
Price: $15,500

What We Would Do:
With a second-gen chassis ready to roll, we would weld in a decent chrome-moly ’cage, drop in a built LS powerplant, and hit up the local autocross and open track events. We can already picture it: steamrollers all around and an immaculate, functional modern drivetrain for motivation. How do you think Porsche guys would feel if an early Camaro schooled them through the curves?

Roadster Shop

Easy Breathing

Church Boys Racing’s ’62-67 Nova LSx Mid-Length Swap Headers

Church Boys Racing is making it even easier to install a modern LS engine in your shoebox Nova. These stainless steel mid-length headers are masterfully constructed from 16-gauge stainless steel and heavy-duty, 3/8-inch flanges to prevent warping. While being able to fit nearly any steering configuration, these headers are completely TIG welded and feature a smoothly formed 3-inch collector with the O2 bungs already installed.

chp 11 O  Chevrolet Bolt On Upgrades 12/17

PN: Call
Price: $660

What We Would Do:
Simple, we’d put them in a Nova street machine. There’s something about seeing an LS under the hood of an old muscle car that puts a devilish smile on our faces, and with Church Boys mid-lengths, you can now drop a modern small-block into your Nova with ease. These are great headers for the street because they can provide more power than a shorty-style, without the fitment issues of full-length headers.

Church Boys Racing

Imp Shoes

Classic Performance Products’ Chevy Fullsize Disc Brakes

If you have a fullsize Chevy, and you want a great stance with increased braking power, Classic Performance Products offers an affordable way to lower your car, while giving your vehicle better stoppage. The kit works with even 14-inch wheels and includes drop spindles, rotors, loaded calipers, caliper mounting brackets, and all the hardware needed for install. For those with big camshafts, you also have the option of a 7-, 8-, or 9-inch brake booster; the master cylinder and proportioning valve are included as well.

chp 12 Chevrolet Bolt On Upgrades Brakes 13/17

PN: 6570CBK-D
Price: $700

What We Would Do:
This is the kind of bolt-on we enjoy installing: relatively little work for a big payoff. If we were to increase the power output in a heavy, fullsized car like an Impala or Monte Carlo, we would definitely improve the braking. Dropping the car down is a definite plus, too.

Classic Performance Products

Easy Axle

Moser Engineering’s Muscle Pak Complete Rearend for A-Bodies

Moser Engineering’s Muscle Pak line of complete rearends are oftentimes the right way to go if you’re looking for a beefier rear axle, but don’t want to source individual parts. Moser’s 12-bolts (also offers 9-inch and Dana 60 rears, as well) are designed and manufactured in the United States using Moser Engineering-owned casting boxes. New housing, with OEM-located mounting provisions, seamless steel tubing, custom alloy axles (30-, 33-, or 35-spline), bearings, studs, seals, heavy-duty retainer plates, new housing ends, differential, pinion yoke, ring-and-pinion, rear cover, and Eaton Posi differential—basically the whole shebang in a crate.

chp 13 Chevrolet Bolt On Upgrades Rearend 14/17

Price: $3,100

What We Would Do:
There’s something about getting a product in a giant wooden crate that makes any gearhead smile from ear to ear. After taking the time and money to build a rearend from scratch a few years ago, we now understand why Moser’s Muscle Pak rearends are so popular. This would go great under our imaginary ’80 Malibu, you know the one.

Moser Engineering

Strange Brew

Strange Engineering’s Adjustable Steel Coilovers for Camaros

If you’re a hard-core drag racer or even a weekend warrior, Strange Engineering has the suspension components that will provide you with the consistency and adjustability it takes to build a solid Chevy performer. If you drag race a third- or fifth-gen Camaro, Strange’s new coilovers will definitely help plant the tires. These double-adjustable (compression, rebound) struts can be tuned at the track using easy-to-find knobs, and can even adjust ride height.

chp 14 O  Chevrolet Bolt On Upgrades 15/17

PN: S2061
Price: $500 each

What We Would Do:
If you have ever raced a car with a strong engine and worn-out stock suspension, then you can appreciate a set of quality struts and coils. The adjustability and ride height adjustment would work perfect for our imaginary black-on-black ’12 Camaro we’ve been talking about in this piece.

Strange Engineering

Hunting Heads

Brodix Cylinder Heads’ Head Hunter 23-Degree SBC Heads

Because the 23-degree valve angle of standard small-block heads can limit how aggressive engine builders can get with piston design and airflow potential, companies like Brodix have set out to build 23-degree heads that will flow more like 18-degree heads. Three different Head Hunter heads are available from Brodix, and all feature oval-shaped intake ports: the 229cc heads flow upwards of 325 cfm, the 225cc raised intake ports flow over 335 cfm, and the 234cc ports flow over 345 cfm.

chp 15 Chevrolet Bolt On Upgrades Sbc Heads 16/17

Price: $2,700

What We Would Do:
These heads make us want to construct a sky-high rpm de-stroked 350 with about 16:1 compression, a lot of gear, and a clutchless five-speed. Don’t know why, we just do.

Brodix Cylinder Heads


Performance Online’s 19-Gallon Aluminum Fuel Tank for ’49-54 Chevys

If you are a gearhead who loves to drive his ’50s street machine all over the country, chances are your stock gas tank’s limited capacity will have you pulling over frequently. The folks at Performance Online have come up with a solution to the stock piece and now offer a trick aluminum tank that holds 19 gallons of fuel, which is enough to feed your car’s healthy powerplant with room to spare. They mount in the factory location, are fully baffled, and according to, require minimal modifications to install. Made of heavy-gauge aluminum, these tanks are lighter than most factory units. The tank kit includes the aluminum fuel tank, spare tire cover panel, and all the needed hardware. This piece requires removal of a spare tire bucket, so you’ll need to relocate your spare if you’re road tripping.

chp 16 O  Chevrolet Bolt On Upgrades 17/17

PN: AGT4954
Price: $540

What We Would Do:
A gas tank upgrade seems like it would be an afterthought for most casual car builders, so if you have a ’50s project, you should probably take a look at what’s holding your fuel. We would definitely ditch the spare tire well for more fuel, and judging by how large the trunks are in the ’49-54 platforms, it shouldn’t be an issue.

Performance Online



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