It’s no secret that we love forced induction. Amplifying power is one of our strong suits, and we enjoy seeing enthusiasts doing the same. While modern superchargers have brought greater efficiency, reduced noise, and higher horsepower offerings, we still appreciate the charm of classic superchargers that paved the way. As we strolled through the aisles of the 2023 Carlisle Ford Nationals, we were thrilled to encounter supercharger units that rekindled our nostalgia for the 80s and 90s. Here are some of the blowers that captured our attention.
The All Too Familiar 6-71
The term “6-71” is used by multiple companies, including Supercharger Store, Weiand, B&M, TBS, and a few others. However, its aggressive aesthetics are unmistakable. A Pro Street-styled blower protruding from the engine bay of any classic car is certain to garner attention at any show.
A Storm Is Brewing
Sixteen years ago, Torqstorm burst onto the scene with a supercharger kit. However, it was three years later that the company made significant waves with its twin-supercharger kit. Torqstorm chose to showcase this new supercharger kit by installing it in a Corvair van powered by a 540 cubic-inch big-block Chevrolet engine. Although the bowtie choice was part of a marketing campaign, the company’s single supercharger kits can still be found in the wild, like the one on Howard Lintz’s 1970 Mercury Cyclone.
At this point, it’s hard to distinguish between B&M and Weiand superchargers. The similarity in style is further compounded by the fact that both are now owned by Holley. However, it’s the extended driveshaft that aligns its end pulley with the vehicle’s accessory drive that makes them stand out.
Internal Belt Drive
One of the rarer superchargers we encountered was the Powerdyne. This centrifugal supercharger employs an internal belt drive instead of the more common exposed style. Originally, these superchargers entered the market as affordable, low-cost centrifugal blowers, but they have become increasingly harder to find, as Powerdyne is no longer in business.
An Attractive Whine
While Kenne Bell had superchargers for the small-block Ford market, the company’s biggest impact on the supercharger market came with the introduction of the modular engine, particularly the 1999-2004 Lightning and 2003-2004 Cobra models. Internet searches were quick to uncover the distinctive loud whine seen in online videos. The unique robust design combined with the sound of these superchargers make them quite memorable.
Blowing Through The Competition
If you were running a carburetor with a blow-through setup in the ’90s, chances are you had a ProCharger producing the boost. ProCharger’s centrifugal supercharger setups optimized blow-through configurations and provided a perfect option for carbureted vehicles and race cars alike.
Kings Of Cool
One of the more popular superchargers for the Fox Body Mustang in the ’90s was the Vortech. While the Vortech V-7 YSi posed a formidable challenge in NMRA Renegade racing, primarily due to regulations prohibiting an intercooler and the V-7 producing considerably less heat than the competition, its smaller compressor line suited the street market nicely, as well. Although early Vortech superchargers had a distinct sound that engineers worked to improve and quiet down, the company has recently shifted to producing a Heritage Series for those who wish to relive those sounds.
The Good Old Days
While these classic superchargers may not boast the same efficiency, sound, or horsepower ratings as their newest counterparts from each respective company, they do offer a glimpse into a time when tire-roasting, loud superchargers ruled the streets. Finding a Fox Body equipped with a centrifugal supercharger was about as easy as finding a BlockBuster—fortunately, the latter of the two disappeared with my fines, while these brute powerhouses still lurk around.