Chris and Ken decided the key would be to mount the air meter to the inlet of the supercharger, which would maintain the vacuum signal necessary to regulate the flow of fuel to the injectors.
Now that Ken was fairly convinced that it was doable, he went blower shopping. "Shawn Roberts of Extreme Automotive in Canoga Park, California, referred me to Todd Armstrong, CEO at Vortech Engineering, who suggested that I go to their facility to see if one of [their] head units would fit." He did so in November, and spent an hour with John Snee and Chris Wahley of Vortech test-fitting several different compressors in the Vette's limited space, and they finally opted for a V-2 SQ S-Trim supercharger. "Todd offered to let me borrow an old compressor unit to use as a mockup, and I gladly accepted his offer!"
Ken's installation process began the very next day, and he took extreme precautions to preserve the originality of the Corvette. "Even though it wasn't an original Fuelie, I did not want to modify, cut, or destroy any of the original parts like inner fender panels, underside of the hood, or any engine part. I was committed to fabricating all of the necessary parts using existing bolt patterns in the block or on the F.I. system, and I was successful in all but one area." Other than being unable to avoid tapping a 1/4-inch hole in the stock oil pan for a return oil line, Ken kept his word. Between November 23, 2002 and May 3, 2003, Ken invested 472 hours in the project!
The installation was a rousing success, meshing new technology to old without compromising either. Ken says, "I was surprised that drivability was just like it was without the supercharger, except for that sweet whine or whistle only a supercharger can provide." Ken notes that Vortech's SQ designation stands for "Super Quiet," referring to its helically-cut gears. As for performance, well, it really performs. Ken estimates 475-plus rwhp at 6,000 rpm and 500 lb-ft torqe at 4,800 rmp. And he plans to verify these numbers soon when he dials in the motor's tuning on a chassis dynamometer.
Yup. Ken's defied the odds and guaranteed that his '65 Fuelie convertible is more than just another pretty face!
How He Did It
Though the Rochester mechanical fuel-injection system has been around since the '57 model year, and approximately 13,000 Corvettes were equipped with F.I. induction from '57-65, surprisingly few people have attempted to supercharge one, and even fewer have succeeded. The installation that Ken performed on his '65 Fuelie is marvelous. It looks natural under the mid-year hood and runs perfectly, and he managed to keep 99.9 percent of his commitment to not modify any original pieces.
Luckily for us, Ken carefully documented the process he took so we could share it with you.