Dress-Up Can Perform Too: Spectre Shows Us How

Spectre Performance Accessories-1Performance is the hot button in the automotive enthusiast world. It seems as if every aftermarket product available for the car guy or gal to bolt on their favorite machine is designed, manufactured, and advertised as delivering this much additional horsepower or that much more torque. Either that or it is supposed to make your ride handle better, go faster, corner cleaner, stop shorter, or make a certain sound that is more appealing to the ears–whether that is quieter or louder. This is exactly what we are all looking for.

We also want our cars to look better. However, many of the products intended to dress-up or otherwise accessorize our cars don’t do a whole lot in the performance category. We have found some exceptions, but it takes a little explanation to make our point clear. There are products that will help your car look better, but are also designed by performance enthusiasts in such a way that they bring the level of your vehicle’s performance to a higher level.

Spectre Bonnville 400-1

Aside from a 400+ mph effort at Bonneville, Spectre has used grass roots events such as Hot August Nights to develop products and learn what automotive performance enthusiasts want and need.

Just such a company is Spectre Performance. The company has been around since 1983, when the owner decided to get into the parts and accessory business because he was an automotive enthusiast. Amir Rosenbaum has done more than just play with cars while growing Spectre Performance. He was integral in the building and piloting of the Spectre Streamliner that ran in excess of 400 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats Speed Week.

Chevy 3100 Pickup Intake SEMA-1

One of the company’s custom projects was this air induction system for an LS-swapped 1951 Chevy pickup truck. LS-swap kits are among the large inventory of custom and replacement intake parts from Spectre.

Mike Morrow of Spectre Performance told us, “Aside from that, in 2010 we created the Spectre 341 Challenge Hill Climb, and a few years before that, we became heavily involved in other grass roots auto enthusiast events such as Hot August Nights where we could connect with car guys and really learn what they were looking for. We know how to make your engine look really hot.”

We know how to make your engine look really hot. – Mike Morrow

A perfect example of the company’s quest for design excellence was shown again at the 2014 SEMA Show. Spectre brought an LS-swapped 1951 Chevy pickup to the show. The company had designed a custom plenum and rear-facing intake system for it, solving the problem posed by the loss of under-hood space created by the massive engine transplant. Air filters ahead of the throttle body would have to be too small to do the job, and would ingest hot air coming off the radiator.

Goodies Galore

However, custom jobs and streamliners are not what the company is all about. Spectre offers air filters, intakes, air boxes, and air cleaner assemblies. In addition, it also delivers replacement and upgrade engine, cooling system, ignition wiring, fuel system, and drivetrain accessories to the automotive performance enthusiast. You can also get fasteners, gaskets, and exhaust tips from Spectre.

We brought in a 1966 Ford Mustang with a 289ci V8 for this article in order to install and inspect several Spectre Performance products. The fact is that the company also offers a broad array of goodies for a wide variety of cars and trucks, including GM, Ford, and Chrysler, as well as all kinds of hot rods and customs. Automotive enthusiasts are not limited to what can be found in auto parts chain stores, as Spectre’s extensive line of products goes far beyond what any store can stock on its shelves.

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Valve covers (top) in standard and tall heights, triple chrome plated (pictured), polished aluminum, and even gold iridite finishes are available from Spectre, as are the gaskets and breathers. The valve covers (PN: SPE-5019) and breathers (PN: SPE-42876) for the Mustang were simple to install.

Air intake systems are a big thing for Spectre now, and it has kits for LS-engine swaps that work for a number of vehicle applications. Its Universal Air Intakes provide a performance boost for a host of musclecars, and route the air intake away from heat sources such as the radiator and headers. 16-inch and 14-inch low profile round air boxes in single- or dual-inlet designs with different inlet angles, application-specific intake kits, and a swarm of intake components that can be used to build a completely custom set up for your rig can be ordered.

The Spectre catalog of intake accessories holds OE replacements, and high-performance intake applications. It also has inline air filters, and cone style filters ranging from 2.5-inch to 6-inch openings for gas and diesel. You can also find round, oval, and triangle-shaped air filters for open element air cleaners. If you’re trying to match color schemes, a good deal of these are available in red, blue, black, and white synthetic media.

Powerplant Pop

Spectre also has engine accessories designed to work as well as they look good. Fit and finish is high on its list when it comes to QC. Morrow told us, “The company has its own QC people on site in every factory in which the parts are manufactured to make sure our products are up to snuff.” Available accessories to dress out your GM, Ford, and Chrysler engine include chrome engine kits, valve covers, pulleys, throttle body spacers, and timing chain covers. You can also source Spectre for master cylinder covers, engine oil pans and dipsticks, power steering dipsticks, and brackets and latches.

The Spectre dual inlet plenum intake (PN: 778B), completely assembled below, fits TBI and carburetors with a 5-1/8-inch neck flange. It comes with a low profile, 2-inch tall, metal plenum (top left), tubes with 45-degree bends (top center), and blue air filters (top right), as well as clamps. The air filter riser (PN: 4954) kit was used to clear linkages.

_MG_6383Once you’ve built up that engine or swapped in something with more beef, Spectre can help you keep all that extra power cooler. It offers a multitude of engine cooling system accessories. If you browse the Spectre website, you’ll find everything you need to upgrade the cooling system of your truck or car, including fan shrouds, hose fittings, radiator caps, radiator overflow tanks, radiator support panels, water necks, and water pumps. Each product is specifically designed to match up to your application, and they are engineered to perform well, as well as look sharp.

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We also tried on the Spectre Extraflow air cleaner (PN: 47636) kit for a more conventional (but equally effective) look on the Mustang.

Your drivetrain is another area of your vehicle that Spectre has addressed with a bundle of badass parts that can make your car or truck look great, and some of these are not just cosmetic. Its differential covers can be had in chrome or finned brushed aluminum for various Dana, GM, Ford, Chrysler, and Jeep axles. The fins help better radiate heat, which keeps the axle gear oil cooler. Other accessories in the Spectre drivetrain line include transmission pans, flywheel covers and dipsticks. The transmission pans, flywheel covers, and transmission coolers, come in either chrome plating or finned polished aluminum.

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Spectre also a full roster of chromed pulleys, brackets, and dipsticks (top) for multiple applications. Removal of the factory alternator pulley did require a gear puller (above left), but a comparison of the stock and the sweet Spectre parts (above right) are what make the extra effort worthwhile.

Spectre also offers just about anything you need for your fuel lines, hoses, and connections. It’s easy to make the fuel delivery system on your vehicle look great with any of the various fuel lines, fuel filters, fuel pressure gauges and regulators, fuel pump block-off plates, hose fittings and vacuum caps available. Spectre can also supply cables, brackets, return springs, carburetor adapters, and spacers that make just about any combination of car, truck, intake manifold, and carb work together.

A wide range of alternators, battery boxes, ignition coil brackets, distributor accessories, and starter heat shields from Spectre can make the ignition system on any car or truck look custom. Convoluted tubing in multiple colors and sizes, and multiple spark plug wiring attachments and loom spacers are also offered to organize and spruce up your plug wire array.

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What a difference the sparkle of the Spectre alternator pulley kit (PN: 44813), water pump pulley (No. 4494), and the crank pulley (PN: 4493) make on the front end of the Mustang engine.

For that finishing touch on any custom or stock exhaust system, why not add some flair? Spectre can provide five different bolt-on universal polished stainless steel exhaust tips. The tips come in sizes to fit 2.25-inch to 4.5-inch pipes, and you have your choice of pencil, slant, and oval styles. Quite a few of the Spectre tips have built-in resonators to offer noise control.

Body Beautiful

If that wasn’t enough, the company also manufactures an extensive line of interior and exterior finish parts. Face it, if you are going to put that much time, effort, and money into the powertrain and drivetrain, you don’t want the rest of the car to look unfinished. Spectre offers hood torsion pins, swivel style locks, and hair-pin style pins. You can also get goodies like shifter T-handles, shift boots, gas pedals, fabricated aluminum rear wings and front spoilers, fabricated aluminum radiator panels, and fabricated aluminum door panels and handles from Spectre.

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Spectre Performance can provide a wide variety of parts and accessories, including universal intake tube kits (top); carb spacers, air boxes, and exhaust tips (lower left); and baffled oil pans (lower right) to brighten the look and improve performance of just about any musclecar, hot rod, or custom truck.

So with all these parts and accessories to choose from, how can you go wrong checking out what Spectre has for your truck, musclecar, hot rod, classic, or custom? Morrow said, “The depth and breadth of the company’s accessory offerings is simply huge, and numbers in the thousands.” Something else that especially impressed us was, as Morrow put it, “Spectre is extremely proud of the fact that throughout its product offering, there is nothing in roto-molded equipment. It uses high-grade aluminum for durability and that special look you’re going after.”

The future for Spectre Performance and its customers looks as bright as the chrome accessories it manufactures. Morrow told us that, “2015 will be huge for us with more parts for increased applications. We also have gained access to new research facilities for further product development that will help us continue creating better products.”

The before (left) and after (right) installation photographs of the Mustang engine clearly demonstrate the power of a Spectre accessory makeover. Imagine what it can do for your muscle car, hot rod, or customized truck.

Article Sources

About the author

Stuart Bourdon

A passion for anything automotive (especially off-road vehicles), camping, and photography led to a life exploring the mountains and deserts of the Southwest and Baja, and a career in automotive, outdoor, and RV journalism.
Read My Articles

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