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1968 Camaro Supercharger - Blowin' In A Box

Vortech's F-Body Centrifugal Supercharger Adds Some Punch-And Looks Good, To Boot!

By Seth Millhollin

Many performance enthusiasts believe the only way to make a centrifugal supercharger work is to install it on a fuel-injected engine. When it comes to carburetor-fed machines, the theory is forced induction is simply not tuneable when it's blown through a standard four-barrel fuel meter. While it's a fact that electronic fuel injection does have benefits when it comes to maintaining a more constant air/fuel ratio, there's no question that an equal amount of power can be tuned through a carb when you know what you're doing.

With companies like Vortech Engineering investing time, money and effort to produce an effective "blow-through" supercharger, the interest in throwing one of these power-adders onto classic machinery is growing by leaps and bounds. One of the more recent introductions is their setup for First-Gen Camaros (which also adapts to '64-72 Chevelles, '62-72 Novas, and '55-57 Tri-Fives). And since our own Classical Resurrection '68 F-body was available, the gurus at Vortech jumped at the chance to use it as a guinea pig.

With the popularity of their blow-through systems at an all-time high, they recognized the need for a Camaro unit. The basic kit began as one of their universal carbureted packages. Most enthusiasts can afford this kit and with a little creativity, basic mechanical aptitude, and some patience, it can be installed in a weekend.

As most readers know, the staff here at SUPER CHEVY prides itself on being ready to tackle almost anything the industry throws at us. And, as many may recall, the Classical Resurrection has been the recipient of many "firsts" throughout its maturing process. So what's one more experimental installation, we thought. Why not help out the guys at Vortech and see if we can finesse their F-body package?

To say that this kit is a bolt-on is an understatement. Aside from the well-crafted blower (and in our case, a polished one!), the setup includes a nice billet bracket arrangement (replete with belt idler pulley) that mounts the huffer up high on the left (driver's) cylinder head. It also comes with a crank pulley that includes the requisite ribbed-belt section and a V-belt arrangement for running other items such as an alternator and power steering pump. Of course there's the neat polished aluminum box where the carb resides, and all the necessary ducting that helps route the air into it.

What you don't get in the kit is the "other" half of the components that will make it work. We're talking about the intake manifold, carburetor and fuel system. The selection of parts we used, although approved by Vortech, are not the only ones that will work with this system. Our combination included an Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake (and aluminum water pump), a Demon 750cfm double-pumper carb and a way-cool Product Engineering fuel pump and boost-reference regulator. Other supporting components were a neat 6BTM boost retard ignition box plus a corresponding small-cap billet distributor and companion 8.5mm plug wires from MSD, March billet water pump pulley, Lokar throttle and kickdown cable assemblies, Granatelli sheetmetal valve covers, and a trick adjustable polished thermostat housing from Billet Specialties. Of course, there were also miles of cool plumbing (hose and fittings) from Russell to make it all come together.

The supercharger offered in this universal kit is Vortech's "standard" model. This blower can be tuned to put out more than 10 pounds of boost, though on street applications it is not recommended to run more than 6 pounds, which is enough to produce up to 140 hp, providing the tune-up is dialed-in properly (that means correct air/fuel ratio, timing, etc.).

The way that Vortech's system works is that it forces the boost into the aluminum box where the carb is completely sealed within. Once it enters the "box," the carb is essentially pressurized and with increased throttle position, the boost level rises and, voila, more power is produced.

By Seth Millhollin
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