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Serpentine Dream

Troy Trepanier Installs Billet Specialties' Tru Trac Serpentine Belt System

By Arvid Svendsen, Photography by Arvid Svendsen

We're suckers for folksy wisdom and cliches, but one particular phrase speaks directly to our hot rod hearts: build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door. It touches a certain progressive chord: improve upon a design and people will respond.

The hot rod world is certainly no stranger to progression. Whether it's climate controls or crossmembers, innovators improve upon a theme and carve themselves a niche in a market. The serpentine-style accessory drive system seems a pretty popular target lately: both a Big Three automotive manufacturer and a street rod market heavy hitter released utilitarian drive systems that each touched on a particular aesthetic theme. Both garnered rave reviews.

During the hullabaloo, though, Billet Specialties quietly worked away on a clean sheet-design of their own. They incorporated a few proven elements, threw in a pinch of flair, and crunched the numbers. When they finished it, they polished it up and gave it a name: Tru Trac Serpentine Belt System.

The Tru Trac system has little precedence. It assembles simply and straightforwardly on any first generation (pre-LT and LS-series) small-block Chevrolet without any fussy spacers or washers. It bolts straight to the cylinder block via the water pump locating holes and the front motor mount bosses. The design permits any cylinder head or induction system, whether bracketed, threaded, or not. Billet Specialties also based the system around the hot rod-friendly short-length GM-style water pump. Furthermore, this kit uses no gaskets; all joining surfaces seal via neoprene O-rings for a leak-proof installation.

Billet Specialties then loaded this kit with top-shelf stuff. They start the kit with polished aluminum mounting plates, brackets, and their own distinctive pulleys. Billet Specialties also includes a polished Sanden A/C compressor, a 105-amp Powermaster alternator, an alternator fan, a Sweet aluminum power steering pump (for power steering applications), and one of Edelbrock's aluminum water pumps--just to preclude fitment problems and to maintain high standards. They top the kit off with a Tru Trac-specific tensioner and pulley, a fresh belt, and all the stainless fasteners required for installation. And last, but not at all least, the system looks good--a welcome element to a world hell-bent on things that look as good as they operate.

Of course it's logical to assume that a kit like this would carry a heady price tag, but it doesn't. Billet Specialties engineered this kit to compete with other similarly appointed comprehensive accessory drive systems. Our man out Midwest, Arvid Svendsen, got the opportunity to follow Rad Rods by Troy's Troy Trepanier as he installed one of these kits on a Whipple-charged small-block Chevrolet. Whether you're building from scratch or upgrading a keeper, this is a kit worth looking into. It's handsome, it's economical, and it's slick.

Billet Specialties
500 Shawmut Ave., Dept. SC
La Grange
IL  60526
By Arvid Svendsen
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