The more involved we all get with the high-performance hobby, the faster we outgrow our toolboxes-and that's a fact. But, since we all learn by our mistakes, getting cars to perform can sometimes be frustrating. If you happen to be a product of the 1960s and '70s, those mistakes often fell into the "bigger is better" line of thought. Let's face it, most of us have been guilty of building engines with too much cam and way too much carburetor for "light-to-light" blasts down the boulevard.
Fast forward to the future. Here we are in the year 2000, where technology, innovation and education seem to be everywhere. We no longer have to rely on the local parts counterman and his "crystal ball" for advice on what components we should purchase. Several performance companies offer technical help phone lines, so customers don't end up with too much compression, too much cam, and way too much fuel to propel their personal road rockets.
Now, Holley Performance Products has made the job of selecting parts even easier by offering more tools to work with when planning a combination. The new System Selector, now available for small- and big-block Chevy engines, helps you reach your performance goals much easier than the old "trial and error" method. This hand-held "Answer Man" includes sections for Fuel System, Air System, Exhaust System, Internal Engine, Digital Ignition System, and Accessories. Below that are three "windows" divided into different horsepower ranges, complete with compression ratios and bore sizes. By positioning the pointer at the desired component, the three windows display part numbers (for each respective horsepower range) of the item you selected. How easy is that? Guesswork gone!
Say for example, you set the pointer at Fuel Pump (mechanical) on the small-block side. If you intend to build something in the 0-550-horsepower range, the selector tells you "NR," or not required. That makes it easy to understand that a mechanical fuel pump will not supply the adequate amount of fuel flow you'll need to feed that serious an engine. By the same token, when the pointer hits Fuel Pump Regulator, the windows marked "250-350 hp" and "350-450 hp" show N/R, which means the 12-802 electric pump (recommended in the previous selector field) does not require a regulator. In short, the System Selector is a pretty smart tool.
You'll notice certain information fields on the System Selector display an asterisk (*), sending you to the footnote which says, "Vehicle Specific, see catalog," (more on that later). Simply refer to the appropriate catalog section, and you'll find all the information needed to determine the correct "Vehicle Specific" part number.
However, if you happen to be a craftier gearhead, you'll be tempted to deviate from what the System Selector chooses for part numbers. What about a lumpier cam? Let's go with a bigger carb! Granted, that's still what many performance freaks tend to do. It's really the "old school" method of developing a power combination. By engineering the System Selector, Holley was able to build groups of compatible parts and quantify the horsepower figures in their well-equipped R&D facility. But, choosing to go your own way, you're back to the age old guessing game-assuming components are compatible, and estimating the final horsepower figures. To get your system selector ($4, shipping included) call (877) 05-9564.
To round things out, when the System Selector is coupled with the giant Holley Performance Products catalog, the information available at your fingertips grows considerably. The Holley catalog is designed to make a parts counterman out of anybody who thumbs through it. Nine different fold-out, section divider tabs simplify the process, making it a breeze to browse your areas of interest. This 592-page reference is stuffed with almost all of the individual Holley brands, including Lunati, Annihilator, Weiand, and Hooker. The missing brands (NOS, FlowTech, and Earl's Performance Products) are available in separate catalogs for now, but they'll be integrated into the master catalog next year.