Whether you want to admit it or not, more than a few Bow Tie racers have lined up against 5-point-slow Mustangs only to discover that they-on rare occasion-aren't actually all that slow. Chances are that in order to get their tiny 302s to run with the bigger 350ci competition, they probably had a set of Trick Flow heads under the hood. Although it entered the marketplace serving the needs of the dark side (where it earned a reputation for phenomenal out-of-the-box performance), Trick Flow has since brought the same venerable formula of budget-oriented horsepower to the Chevy faithful. Today the company offers a plethora of cylinder heads for big-block Chevys and all four generations of small-blocks. From raised-runner 23-degree small-block heads to oval- and rectangle-port big-block heads to monstrous 265cc LSx castings, Trick Flow's diverse product line runs the gamut.
With the competition more fierce now than ever, trying to maintain dominance in the cylinder head market is no easy feat. Al Noe of Trick Flow is well aware of what it takes, and we were happy to listen in as he explained what goes on behind the scenes when developing a new set of heads. As we learned, flowbench numbers aren't everything. Manufacturing a powerful as-cast port is tricky. Furthermore, modern advances in cylinder heads mean that small-displacement combos can now make some serious torque, and hardware once considered exotic like 18-degree top-end kits is more affordable than ever. Tune into the next few pages, because the guy in the other lane could be listening in.
Although Trick Flow heads have helped countless Camaros and Novas stomp Blue Ovals on a regular basis, the company entered the musclecar market in 1983 with its now-legendary A460 Ford heads. At a time when big-block Chevys and Chryslers dominated race tracks, the A460 cylinder heads gave big-block Ford enthusiasts the edge they needed to compete and win. Their success opened the floodgates to over 25 years of Trick Flow's trademark performance and innovation. The company soon discovered the need for affordable, high-quality cylinder heads for small-block Chevys, and developed a set of 195cc casting with Kenny Duttweiler's help. Capable of supporting 500 hp right out of the box, they gave the company instant credibility in the Chevy camp.
"Since that time, based on our customers' input, we have developed many variations of cylinder heads ranging from 18-degree small-block castings to oval- and rectangle-port big-block Chevy offerings. We've also gotten heavily involved with the GM LS engine platform, and our 13.5-degree heads can be had fully CNC-ported with 205-, 215-, 225-, 235-, or 245cc intake runners," Noe explains. "Trick Flow's goal is to make high-performance cylinder heads for everything from a hydraulic flat-tappet, pump-gas 283 to a blown 7-second monster big-block like the one in Denny Terzichs '67 Camaro that won Hot Rod Drag Week in 2007. We will continually innovate, test, and improve our products to make sure they are the best available."
All Trick Flow products are 100 percent cast and machined in the USA. We feel this is important for a number of reasons. When we specify T6 heat-treated A356 virgin aluminum, our casting suppliers will supply test bars, which we can physically and chemically test to ensure that their quality meets our specifications. Overseas suppliers will not provide material certifications with their castings. In some cases they may have fewer alloys to choose from and do not have any group such as the ASTM (American Society for Testing Materials) to regulate exactly what they use.