In these times, budgets have become part of our lives as the economy gets worse. We have learned to budget our money for our best interest. We all want the most for our money, with that said, why just dress up your engine when you could get the performance and efficiency out of it as well. This is what we have been saying for years and lowriders today have embraced that philosophy, and are always looking for the performance investment that will keep them out of the garage and onto the streets.

Today's lowriders are looking at building engines that are going to last and be able to take the upgrades. With that said, newer technology has become more available at affordable pricing as fuel injection motors are becoming easier to obtain. In GM's arsenal, the LS series fuel injected motors that were introduced in 1997 are the next generation of small blocks that could be tuned to give you at least 400 hp and over 20 miles to the gallon.

One of the most popular new performance tricks for custom engines is adding custom belts and pulleys, or in some cases "Serpentine" drive systems, similar to those found on most of today's stock cars and trucks. Some of today's belt systems start off from $650-2,500 depending on the manufacturer and style that you choose. There are several aftermarket Serpentine systems available, and they all work well as the industry has finally got the R&D down to where it should be. Most Serpentine systems have their own unique style and appearance. When choosing a Serpentine kit, it will come down to individual style, preference, and budget.

Letting your engine breathe is very important and is usually one of the first upgrades performed on cars. From glass packs, to a set of modern day Flowmaster exhaust mufflers, when you purchase custom exhaust systems for your vehicle, you can be rest assured that you are getting the most advanced and professionally engineered mandrel bent exhaust system available. Each exhaust systems is custom tailored to fit your vehicle for ease of installation and to give your vehicle that custom look. Benefits of exhaust systems include reduced back pressure for improved acceleration and towing power, cooler under hood temperatures, cleaner and more efficient burn in the combustion chambers, and last and very importantly, better fuel economy. Other upgrades that you can do for your exhaust include, adding a set of hedders. Many companies like Hooker Headers are offering 50 state legal headers for certain applications, but you should always look at your state laws to see what restrictions may apply to your ride.

Picking the right combination of accessories can really dress up your engine compartment, but they should also provide bolt-on power and give your car a little extra go for your money. So if you want to look good under the hood, or if you just want to build a reliable engine, this guide should help you go in the right direction.

We used Harbor Freight Tools engine stands that were designed and priced right for the usage that we needed to build the engines. For more info on these stands and other Harbor Freight products, log onto their website at:

Holley's low volume fuel pump is perfect for them stock to mild builds as they will not blow the fuel bowls. To learn more about their fuel pump, log onto:

Street And Performance chrome freeze plug covers will give your engine the detail to stand out from the rest. To learn more about this and other Street and Performance products, log onto:

You can also see how these un-expensive freeze plug covers will compliment the engine. To learn more about the freeze plug covers, log onto:

Power Master high torque starters feature a chrome finish and come with a variety of torque depending on the needs of your engine. To learn more about this starter and other products, log onto:

Pro Forms small-block Chevy starters are designed to give you the most start for your money. This new starter will help start your engine every time. To view all of their products, visit them at:

CFR Performance also carries chrome smooth finish air cleaners. Visit CFR Products at:

MSD Ignition HEI distributors have a built-in module. No ignition control is required and they provide more than adequate spark output for street/strip applications. For more information on this and other MSD distributors, visit them at: