A square portrait photograph of Nick Licata posing for a picture with his arms crossed
Flaunt ’em if you got ’em!

here was a time not long ago (not long enough if you ask me) when engine covers were all the rage in vintage show cars sporting LS power underhood that somehow carried over to the performance side of the muscle car scene. As LS engines gradually made their way into vintage rides, at the time some builders found it necessary to cover up the plug wires, coil packs, factory valve covers, and plastic intake manifold. I get it—there weren’t many eye-appealing dress-up choices early in the LS game. Today, it’s a different story as there are a multitude of great-looking options when it comes to dressing up that LS without covering up the goods–you know, everything that gives the engine its attitude. As car guys, we like to see what’s happening in the engine room, and if it’s all hidden under a custom-painted “trash can lid,” we ain’t interested.

Hide the coil packs, if you must, as there are a variety of great-looking two-piece valve covers to choose from that will help give your engine a personality all its own. Coil relocation kits are another option should you want to go that route.

Plug wires aren’t offensive if done right. No need to bury those, as a uniform appearance can make all the difference when it comes to a tidy-looking engine bay.

The stock LS intake manifold, especially on the LS1, certainly lacks pizazz. With its lackluster black molded plastic construction, it just sits there with zero performance inspiration. Those intakes can look better with a little paint and some creativity, but thankfully the aftermarket has pulled through with gobs of intakes that not only look cool and, depending on your engine, even offer a boost horsepower.

There are also quite a few offerings available to give that LS the appearance of a small-block, big-block, 409, or fuelie–all great ideas to give your engine an old-school vibe.

So, today there are more options than ever designed to help make your LS look cool, so when the time comes to put together a plan for your project, remember, the engine is the heart and soul of the build. When you pull into that spot at the cruise or car show and open the hood, that engine’s gotta look impressive. It needs to express how truly badass your car is, and that can’t happen if it’s covered in plastic–shiny or otherwise.

Flaunt it if you got it!

You in?

Jason Blaine’s Roadster Shop–built ’68 Camaro’s LS3
Jason Blaine’s Roadster Shop–built ’68 Camaro’s LS3 is all dressed up with a Holley single-plane intake and Billet Specialties valve covers for some old-school flair while retaining the modern performance and reliability of a factory LS engine.
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