Even on high end projects, front drive systems tend to be something of an afterthought for many builders, while headers, valve covers and the other usual suspects of customized motors get no shortage of aesthetic attention. The process of piecemealing a complete pulley system for a motor from different sources presents its own set of potential headaches as well, as there’s rarely a guarantee that these disparate components will play nice with one another without modification.
Those two issues were a few of the driving factors behind the Redd brothers starting Concept One. As kids, the pair helped out in their father’s Corvette restoration shop and noted that they always seemed to have a tough time tracking down the right set of pulleys and brackets for builds they were working on. Initially the pair focused their design efforts largely on motorsport efforts for NASCAR Sprint Cup, ARCA and local events, but soon after began to set their sights on street car applications to support a wider scope of builds.
Pickups like this 1960 C10 have become increasingly popular candidates for LS swaps in recent years. With literally millions of LS motors in circulation, it's never been easier to get cheap, reliable horsepower.
With the massive popularity of LS series motors – both for modern muscle cars and as a highly effective swap into vintage rides – Concept One has sought to provide those enthusiasts with a complete solution right out of the box that takes into account all of the elements that tend to get overlooked during the project and addressed retroactively later on.
Concept One's front drive kits come with everything you need in order to swap over to these beefed-up pulleys. The company also provides customers with a guide in order to determine how much amperage their system requires from the alternator, and they offer high amp alternators with their kits for builds that require a lot of juice for accessories like air suspension, dual electric fans, audio systems, and other electricity-hungry components.
We’re taking a closer look at their latest offering for LS motors, the Victory Series HD LS Pulley Kit, as we put together an LS1 motor destined for the engine bay of a custom C10 pickup. Along the way we’ll also get the lowdown from Concept One on the kit’s design, what different kit options are available to builders, and how to determine which components you’ll need for your particular project.
Derived from Concept One’s LS Supercharger Pulley System, the Victory Series HD LS Pulley Kit caters specifically to high-horsepower, naturally aspirated LS motors. Designed for LS street motors making in excess of 500 horsepower, these kits feature the wider (and in turn more robust) eight-groove drive belt versus the six-groove used with the standard Victory Series kit for LS engines. The HD system is also supplemented by additional brackets as well as a heavy duty tensioner to bolster the pulley system’s rigidity in order to withstand the forces that high revving, big horsepower motors can apply to them.
With the engine out of the vehicle and without accessories to remove, installing Concept One's kit is a pretty straight-forward proposition. The HD kit also includes additional brackets and a heavy duty tensioner to provide bolstered rigidity to the pulley system in order to prevent the accessory flex that high output motors can cause.
“For motors making a lot of horsepower, belt slippage and flex on the accessories becomes a bigger concern,” says Kevin Redd of Concept One. “When you’re working with a lot of torque you increase the chances for slippage and these wider, larger diameter pulleys provide more wrap, reducing that potential for slippage.”
For motors making a lot of horsepower, belt slippage and flex on the accessories becomes a bigger concern. When you’re working with a lot of torque you increase the chances for slippage and these wider, larger diameter pulleys provide more wrap, reducing that potential for slippage. -Kevin Redd, Concept One
And along with the piece of mind provided by these beefed up kits, there’s also the added benefit of future proofing your set up so that you’re still good to go should you decide to add more horsepower down the line. “With tremendous amounts of horsepower becoming easier and easier to come by, it’s something worth considering if you’re thinking about going for big power down the road,” Redd adds.
In the interest of providing a complete solution to builders, the Concept One kit includes mounting hardware for the alternator, air conditioning compressor, and power steering pump, and the kits are offered in four different finishes.
Machined aluminum gives the front drive system a natural aluminum look while polished aluminum finish adds another element of eye candy to your engine bay. For those looking to add resilience, Concept One also offers clear anodized and black anodized coatings, with the latter being the toughest finish in terms of durability and the clear finish offering corrosion resistance with an unpainted aesthetic.
Another element that often gets overlooked until after installation is the alternator. Today’s tech-heavy builds draw more juice than you might expect, and high horsepower motors tend to be paired with external hardware that can add up to a lot of amperage.
Concept One works in partnership with Powermaster to provide high-amp alternators for their front drive systems. Built to handle the rigors of high performance, these alternators are light weight and add a little extra bling under the hood.
For that reason, Concept One now offers four different Powermaster alternators with their kits, ranging from 165 amps all the way up to 220. As their online guide points out, choosing the alternator is not only important in terms of the electrical system’s longevity. It’s also a concern because an undersized or incorrectly installed alternator can cause a number of problems like electrical failures, damage and even fire in some extreme cases.
Chevrolet LS Victory HD
Part Number: LSV81
Four finishes available
Power steering pump
120 amp to 220 amp
“What we’ve seen over the past few years is that the alternator often wasn’t being considered,” Redd explains. “Electric fans, audio systems, fuel pumps, computers – it can quickly add up to a large amperage draw, and that’s why we’ve started offering these for LS builds.”
And when components like stereo amplifiers, dual electric fans and air suspension compressors enter the equation, there’s little doubt that you’ll need to step up to a high powered unit in order to ensure all of your accessories are getting an adequate amount of juice.
“We noticed that a lot of people were going into the project not knowing what they needed and we saw a lot of alternators getting burned out,” Redd points out. “We wanted to help people to start thinking about this element of it – they might know they need a dual fan, bigger radiator or other upgrades, but many just didn’t consider the alternator.”
And while the folks at Concept One are happy to assist builders in determining what they need before ordering, they also provide the aforementioned guide to help builders determine the total amp draw of their system so they can select the appropriate alternator.
Concept One offers alternators in 165, 180, 200 and 220 amp configurations. Their online guide helps builders get a rough idea of how much draw their system requires so they can choose an alternator accordingly.
The power steering system is another piece of the equation worth considering when putting together your pulley kit. Where Concept One’s standard pulley kits use a mini reservoir, the larger pulley diameters of the HD and Supercharger LS kits require the use of a remote reservoir to avoid clearance issues with the steering shaft.
While that element of the power steering system is a pretty straightforward proposition with a more or less universal solution, it gets a bit more specialized when you start to consider what pump you’ll need based on recommended flow rates and pressures of different steering systems. This is where you’ll likely want to touch base with the folks at Concept One to sort out the right combination for your setup.
The black anodized finish seen here not only gives the motor a purposeful look, it also protects the components from corrosion, ensuring the system will continue to look sharp for years to come.
For instance, while a Mustang II rack and pinion system requires a fairly low flow rate, GM racks tend to require substantially higher rates, and the presence of hydro-boost systems can add an element of complexity to the formula that’s best determined on a case by case basis. “The best strategy for builders is to consult us first,” Redd says, “Once we have an idea of the setup they’re using, we can determine the right combination of components to use in order to ensure that everything works together.”
So if you’re looking to improve the look of your engine bay of your high-output LS build with a new front drive system, give the folks at Concept One a buzz to get a one-stop solution that ditches the guesswork and provides you with a hassle-free upgrade path. You will also be ensuring that it’s got the strength, durability, and the right associated mechanicals to keep your electrical and steering systems remaining happy.