We all know that an internal combustion engine is nothing more than a big air pump. The more oxygen and fuel that can be shoved into the cylinders the bigger the explosion and the higher the horsepower--no magic there. And when we bolt on a power-adder such as a supercharger, the amount of air/fuel that can be compressed and ignited goes up and again: more ignition, more ponies!
All's good as long as the intake system is in tune with the amount of airflow that the system can utilize. Things aren't so dynamic when restrictions are present. That was the case when we installed a Vortech centrifugal blower on the GM Performance Parts-supplied 300-horse crate engine in the Classical Resurrection Camaro a couple years back. We know, that project was supposed to be done and over with, right? Well, basically yes, but as with any project there are always those last few details (and all the cool stuff that can be changed) before you can say it's really done.
In this case, since we basically had a Beta kit installed on the Camaro, there was no air intake system provided other than a simple conical air cleaner attached to the end of a 180-degree tube which fed right into the back of the supercharger. Not much surface area, for sure. But the biggest negative was the type of air that was being sucked in.
Since the air cleaner was essentially fitted right to the blower, it was situated directly above the headers on the driver's side of our Camaro's engine compartment. This meant that the only air that was available to be introduced into the engine through the blower was hot air that had found its way into the engine compartment by way of the grille through the radiator, which collided with more heated air being forced up from below by way of the exhaust headers (remember, hot air rises). Conclusion: the engine was being force-fed hot air, which leans out the air/fuel mix. And we all know that a denser, cooler air/fuel mixture is going to make bigger power than one mixed with hot air.Spectre Performance to the rescue for our one-off custom installation. Spectre, which specializes in many unique and useful components for custom cars, has come up with a new line of lock-together ducting called the PowerAdder Modular Intake System. This new product can be configured into virtually any shape and/or length. What this means is with the plethora of sizes and angles available you can route the intake tract as far away from the under hood heat as you need and plug on the air filter at the end that will direct and filter a cooler, higher volume of air into the engine. And, do we need to emphasize how that will effect the net horsepower proceeds?
The new PowerAdder system is made of an engineering grade co-polymer material, which doesn't hold the heat like steel or aluminum. This leads to the intake charge staying cooler. As mentioned, the sections are available in a multitude of angles and lengths (3-inch diameter tubing in 2-, 4-, and 6-inch lengths plus angles from 22-degrees to a "Y"-adapter) that fit together with slip collars that clamp firmly around the joints with an Allen-headed bolt to keep them configured the way you intended. The fully washable and reusable PowerAdder conical air filters are high-quality designs that trap ultra-fine airborne particles of dirt without sacrificing the volume or velocity or airflow. Further-more, the ducting's high-quality chrome finish will not corrode, flake, peel or discolor and can be cleaned with a simple solution such as window cleaner. Price is also a big bonus. Had we chosen to have a fabricator weld together aluminum or steel tubing to get the air cleaner(s) away from the engine we would have certainly spent hundreds of dollars, since R&D time is money. A basic Spectre system can cost as little as $20, while a complex arrangement will certainly come in at less than $100.
And to help you determine what the best route to take is, Spectre goes a step further and offers a mock-up kit, featuring three tubes and a filter that you can use to plan your route. The price of the kit is $10 (refundable, with proof of purchase of an actual kit) and once you've got it figured out you simply order the correct pieces to put your system together. Bottom line: you can't go wrong by mocking it up before you buy what you need.
All in all, whether you are installing a complicated twin turbo system or just relocating your air cleaner in the family sedan, Spectre's PowerAdder modular system offers a clean option that not only looks the part but produces more perform-ance as well. Take a look at how cool the system fit in our Classical Resurrection Camaro. I think you'll agree it was worth the effort on looks alone. But, I guarantee that the seat-of-the-pants improvement was a welcome addition.