LS Fest East 2023: Car Show

10 min read

LS Fest East 2023: Car Show

10 min read

Contrary to popular belief, everything at LS Fest isn't fast-paced, tire-smoking tomfoolery. While those things are going on all day, you can also take a moment to stroll through the gorgeous landscape of Beech Bend Raceway and take in some aesthetically pleasing cars, trucks, SUVs, and everything in between.

Car Show Rundown

Are you the proud creator of mechanical masterpieces featuring an LS or LT engine? If you're all about precision and originality, then the Car Show at LS Fest East is where you belong.

In 2023, we're introducing a fresh approach to award selection. Our seasoned car show experts will scout for those exquisite details, and the Holley Crew will pick their favorites.

One of the most popular categories is "Under Construction," which includes everything from polished show cars with a few missing components to wild no-prep cars. But of course, they all have one thing in common: LS/LT power.

LS Fest is the ultimate destination to witness some of the finest LS and current Gen LT vehicles. Our car show is a platform to showcase the dedication of enthusiasts and builders alike, granting recognition to various builds and projects.

A curated panel of industry experts, builders, automotive influencers, and content creators will join us to handpick winners in each category.

Here are the categories:

• Street Rod (pre-49) – Any domestic cars built before 1949.

• Classic Custom (49-63) – Any domestic cars built between 1949-1963.

• Muscle Car (64-74) – Any domestic cars built between 1964-1974.

• Street Machine (75-95) – Any domestic cars built between 1975-1995.

• Late Model (96-current model year) – Any domestic cars built between 1996-Present.

• Non-domestic – All imports, all years.

• Classic Truck (pre-74) – Any domestic trucks built prior to 1974.

• Muscle Truck (75-95) – Any domestic trucks built between 1975-1995.

• Late Model truck (96-Current Model Year) – Any domestic trucks built between 1996-Present.

• Just Because – Any non-car/truck vehicle powered by an LS engine.

• Under Construction – Any unfinished LS engine-based project vehicle.

• Best of Show – Winner takes home $500 cash + Jacket!

Stay tuned for special awards, including Best Paint, Best Interior, Holley President's Pick, Sponsor Picks, and more!

Dang, Shorty is Fine!

There’s just something cool about shorty vans. It’s a fade that still survives in hardcore circles of enthusiasts, but for Todd Day it’s much more than a fade. He built this ’92 Chevrolet G20 as an homage to his father.

“This was for him,” said Todd who had many hot rod projects over the years, “but man, I wish my others drove as nice as this one.”

The van started its life as a South-Central Bell utility van. It was a special order with pop-out windows only on the passenger side—a rarity for vans as they typically either have all or no windows.

How low is it? “Extremely,” replied Todd. The unibody doesn’t allow for radical changes in the ride height unless you utilize airbag suspension. Todd and friends back-halved the van with a subframe for a static drop. Up front are Belltech drop spindles.

The drivetrain is a 5.3L with a 4L60E taken from a pickup with 120,000 miles. The van was originally a fuel-injected V6, so Todd simply added a Holley in-tank pump into the factory tank. He added a Holley LS swap oil pan, Brian Tooley Racing camshaft, and picked up S-10 motor mounts from eBay Motors. The motor mounts were heavily altered to work, but otherwise, it was an easy swap according to Todd. The front core support is removable allowing for a straight shot at installing the powertrain.

“I wanted something really reliable,” said Todd. The stock ECU is retained with a homemade mount/cover under the hood. “I just used a lot of stuff that I had lying around.”

Outside, Todd painted it with Chevy White single-stage paint with a friend and then color-sanded it to near perfection. The wood detailing is vinyl made for a Jeep Cherokee finished off a ½-in black pinstripe.

LS Fest East is the van’s first outing, and it’s not quite done yet—hence the lack of carpet and interior trim. “I’ve been pulling 1:30ams, but still have a lot to do, it’s kind of coming together,” said Todd.

Inside his wife took over with a homemade couch and vintage cooler (it looks like a refrigerator). A friend who builds cabinets helped with the maple trim. The van came without a/c or power windows, but a top-mounted vent pulls in air nicely while driving. “A friend built one, but I wanted something a little more hot rod, without all the amenities,” said Todd.

Temp(es)ting Fate

Don’t get it right, just get it running… and deadlines help. For LS Fest East, the car show’s Under Construction was one of the most popular classes. It brought out many who were just shy of getting their car completed in time. For father-and-son duo, Andy and Ryan Tharpe, they built this LS-swapped 1972 Pontiac Tempest only two weeks ago.

Maybe that’s obvious with the bolts, zip ties, screwed-in floor pans, and lack of amenities. The rear glass? Well, that wasn’t on purpose. It came out while drag racing, and you can’t run without one per tech rules. The engine currently makes around 7 pounds of boost. The car ran an admirable 13-second ¼-mile pass before blowing out the rear window.

“We wanted a retro cruiser,” said Andy. “Something we didn’t have to beat on much. We went ahead and threw one in it.”

The pair traded a Yamaha motorcycle for the Pontiac. It features a stock 6.0L truck engine with a Brian Tooley Racing Stage 4 turbo cam kit and accompanying lifters.

The headers are a no-name from eBay Motors. The turbos are VS Racing twin 78/75s. “It’s definitely a budget build,” said Ryan. “We probably have less than $3,000 in the drivetrain, with a lot of second-hand parts and leftover items from my other LS builds.”

Dad loves the build, “it’s a great car, handles great, looks great,” said Andy. “I plan to fix the dog box, and the interior, but leave the orange. Probably wet sand it and seal it as it is.”

Up front, they installed a Speedway Motors suspension and brakes kit with tubular control arms and 2in drop spindles.

“We just got it together and now we’re tinkering on it. It’s more of a toy than anything else. The frame is all good, the drivetrain is good, and the doors shut nicely,” said Andy. “I love the body on it, which is why we bought it.”


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