Jim Smart
September 11, 2006

There has always been something both mysterious and fascinating about forced-air induction, which can run the gamut from a hoodscoop in the slipstream to supercharging to turbocharging. Some folks like to think of nitrous as forced induction, but it isn't. Nitrous changes only the dynamics of what we feed the engine. It gives the air/fuel mix an aggressive attitude that yields abundant power. Regardless, forced induction places most folks who use it at the grown people's table because it requires adult thinking-a strong level of responsibility, common sense, planning, and proper execution. It is not tolerant of ignorance and foolishness.

Before you is a turbocharged '63 1/2 Falcon fastback. Turbocharging was never a Falcon option, not even at the peak of the Total Performance era. Turbocharging offers the basic principles of a jet engine-suck, squeeze, blow! Jet engines make thrust for the same reasons turbochargers make boost. Super-toasty exhaust gasses propel a turbine mounted on the same shaft as a compressor (blower). With jet engines, compressors force air into combustors fitted with fuel nozzles. As fuel burns inside the combustors (chambers), hot gasses blast rearward through the turbines, which drive compressors mounted on the same shaft. Compressor boost, coupled with the vigorous roar of hot expanding gasses, makes thrust. A turbocharger operates on the same basic principle as the jet engine. Hot exhaust gasses from the engine drive a compressor that forces air (and fuel) into the chambers. This helps a piston engine make a whole lot more power.

Danny Tyner's big-block Ford makes a whole lot of power-501 ci of big, crude, manly-man, macho, awe-inspiring displacement. In itself, this is enough displacement to make 600-700 hp without breaking a sweat. But Danny wanted something that made one hell of a performance statement. He wanted the screaming hiss of twin turbochargers and the mind-boggling torque that would come of all this huffage. To get there, he had to build a platform that could not only stand the boost, but also deliver abundant torque. He started with a Ford Racing four-bolt main block with heavy webbing and thicker cylinder walls. Then he filled it with a Crankshaft Specialties stroker kit encompassing a 4340 steel crank, Scat H-beam rods, forged Ross pistons, super-low compression, main stud girdle, and more.

When we supercharge or turbocharge an engine, we want reduced compression to keep operational cylinder pressure safe enough to keep the engine spinning, yet aggressive enough to make extraordinary power. That's why we stress responsible artificial aspiration. Danny understood how crucial it was to find the right balance of compression and turbocharger boost to achieve great sums of power without destroying the engine.

Danny constructed a bulletproof bottom end that's strong, yet vulnerable in inexperienced hands. He understood the critical balance necessary for powerful but reliable performance. Having just the right compression ratio meant measuring swept volume beginning with piston deck height, compression height, piston volume, and chamber volume. Danny came up with 8.5:1 compression, just right for the kind of boost he had in mind.

There's more to this story than compression, however. Danny had to select just the right camshaft and valvetrain components to achieve proper working cylinder pressure and power management. Comp Cams set him up with an aggressive roller cam designed for turbocharging-indeed, a custom grind, because not many people turbocharge big-block Fords. No off-the-shelf grind would have been effective. Manley provided the super-large 2.20/1.76-inch valves, fitted with care in Edelbrock castings.

Danny could have gone with more traditional carburetion, but he wanted dead-on accuracy, which comes only from electronic fuel injection and spark control-ACCEL's GEN 7 system with 96-lb/hr injectors and a Wilson 90mm throttle body. Danny custom fabricated the sheetmetal intake manifold for his twin-turbo system. As you might imagine, he had to fabricate the exhaust system as well-1 3/4-inch primary tubes into 3-inch collectors, tied into twin John Craig 72mm turbochargers and a Forced PSI intercooler. Big DynoMax mufflers with 4-inch plumbing help aggressively scavenge the hard-working gasses.

A big-block powerhouse like this thrusts the Falcon from triple-digit horsepower and torque to quadruple numbers in short order. When you force-feed a 501-inch fat-block, especially with the precision of electronic engine control, count on horsepower and torque numbers to be in excess of 1,000. With that kind of power on board, conventional driveline wisdom goes right out the window. Danny opted for an ATI Turbo-Hydramatic 400, GM's big-block automatic, to get power to a 9-inch {{{Ford}}} with 3.50 gears and 35-spline axles. He shifts with a Cheetah shifter with a reverse pattern. For sling-shot performance, the ATI 400 has a 10-inch converter with 4,800 rpm stall.

You may be inclined to ask what 1,200 hp and a comparable amount of torque might mean for a lightweight Falcon. How about 8.70 seconds at 157.7 mph on alcohol fuel. Yee-haw!

When you're packing 1,200 ponies and barber-pole twist, a vehicle must be themed and built around power. Danny began with a solid mental picture of what he wanted. He started with an Autumn Orange Valspar basecoat/clearcoat with an appropriate amount of fiberglass for weight savings. But beauty is only skin deep. Danny had to design and construct a frame/cage combo that would both keep him safe and stay together when it was time to crack the whip. He had to get out the hood stretcher, adding 4.75 inches to the fiberglass. Bumpers were molded into the body for aero smoothness. What's more, he did all of it himself.

On the ground is nothing short of Wilwood racing binders-big-assed disc brakes for the kind of power we're talking here. Coilover shocks, box frame work, and more extraordinary modifications were necessary to make a brute street/strip racer out of a once-sedate Falcon fastback.

Danny says he's able to do all of this on pump gas and street tires, which might be stretching the imagination a bit, but it can be done with moderation.

The Details
'63 1/2 Falcon Futura FastbackOwner: Danny Tyner, Great Bend, NY

Engine
501ci 385-series Ford big-block V-84.390-inch bore, 4.150-inch stroke4340 steel stroke crankshaft6.700-inch 4340 H-beam rods
Ross forged pistons
Ford Racing four-bolt main block
Edelbrock aluminum heads
Manley 2.200/1.760-inch intake/exhaust
Comp Cams flat-tappet mechanical camshaft, 0.644/0.632-inch lift, 289/276 duration, with 1.73:1 rocker arms
Main stud girdleAccel Gen 7 electronic engine control Custom-fabricated intake manifold96-lb/hr injectors90mm Wilson throttle body
Twin 72mm Garrett turbochargers with Forced PSI intercooler

Transmission
ATI-built GM Turbo-Hydramatic 400

Rearend
Strange Ford 9-inchRichmond 3.50 gears35-spline axles

Exhaust
Custom 1 3/4-inch tube headers with 3-inch collectors
DynoMax 4-inch Turbo mufflers

Suspension
Front: Tube chassis, coilover Koni shocks, Flaming River rack-and-pinion steering
Rear: 2x3-inch box frame, four-link, Aldan coilover shocks, wheelie bars

Brakes
Front: Wilwood, disc
Rear: Wilwood, disc

Wheels
Front: Weld Racing Aluma-Star, 15x3.5-inch 1.75-inch offset
Rear: Weld Racing Aluma-Star, 15x14-inch 4.5-inch offset

Tires
Front: Mickey Thompson Sportsman, 26x6.5
Rear: Mickey Thompson ET Street, 33x18.5

Interior
Gray tweed custom upholstery
Five-point race belts
Auto Meter Pro Comp instrumentation
Grant steering wheel
Boost controller
Cheetah SCS shifter

Exterior
Valspar Autumn Orange basecoat/clearcoat
Custom fiberglass hood and body panels
Extended frontend (4.75-inch stretch)
Altered rear wheelwells-stretched and tubbed
Custom-blended fiberglass bumpers

Huff & Puff Cousins - Jet Engines & Turbochargers
Suck, squeeze, blow! It's all about getting air molecules into motion in the fastest, most furious way possible to make power. Jet engines and turbochargers do the same basic thing. Each takes in and rams huge amounts of air into combustion chambers to make the most of a compressed and ignited fuel charge. Jet engines, in their most basic form, draw air into compressors (suck), ram it into combustors (squeeze), which blows hot gasses under pressure across whirling turbine blades (blow), that are tied to a shaft connected to compressor blades. The turbine blades maintain continuous combustion as long as we keep combustors supplied with atomized fuel.

The more fuel fed to the combustors, the greater combustion rages, which makes more and more thrust at the exhaust pipe. Revving jet engines is known in aviation as "spooling" because jet engine compressors are shaped like sewing spools. When power is applied, you are "spooling" the engine.

In the very beginning of jet travel, jet engines were crude, loud, obnoxious, smoky powerplants that didn't make much power. As the '60s unfolded, the noisy, smoky turbojet gave way to the turbofan (also called a fan jet), which enabled jet engines to make even more thrust by adding a high-thrust fan stage ahead of the compressors. The fan stage looked more like a windmill on steroids. In the late '60s, with the advent of jumbo jets, fans were bigger, becoming a whopping 85 percent of a jet engine's thrust.

To give you some idea of the difference turbofans made in jet propulsion, the Pratt & Whitney JT3C turbojet, which powered the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8 jetliners, made around 14,000 pounds of thrust during takeoff. It took four of them to get one of these babies off the ground.

When the Boeing 747 was introduced in 1969, it was a quantum leap in size, powered by four large Pratt & Whitney JT9D turbofans producing approximately 40,000 pounds each of takeoff-rated thrust. Like the 707 and DC-8 that launched the jet age 10 years earlier, there were four engines. This was considered a lot of thrust at the time thanks to a large, 8-foot-diameter fan.

When Boeing introduced the super-long-range 777-300 series twin-jet in the '90s, it also introduced the new General Electric GE90-115B monster mash turbofan-127,000 pounds of thrust on takeoff, the most powerful jet engine ever made. Similar engines from Rolls Royce power the Airbus A380 super jumbo jet.

Despite the great strides in jet power over the past half century, the "suck-squeeze-blow" principle remains the same, and it's shared with the humble turbocharger. Regardless of application, turbochargers use hot exhaust gas to drive the power-enhancing compressor, which force-air feeds waiting combustion chambers hell-bent to make power.