Steve Turner
Former Editor, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
April 1, 2002
Photos By: Courtesy of Anderson Ford Motorsport

Horse Sense: Though we tested all these intakes on a purpose-built NMRA Real Street car, the intakes legal for the class are limited. They are as follows: Stock 5.0 and Two-Valve 4.6 EFI intake, Ford Explorer, SVT Cobra EFI (PN M9424D51, M9424E51), Ford Racing Performance Parts GT-40 (PN M6001A50), Edelbrock Performer (PN 3821), Trick Flow Street (PN 51500001), and FRPP's 4.6 Two-Valve High-Flow Intake (PN M9424E46). The intakes must be run out of the box-no porting or port matching.

Let's be honest-you've already skipped ahead to the dyno numbers, looked at the peaks, and crowned one intake the champion of all 5.0 intakes. Now you've thumbed back to the beginning of the story to see what we have to say about the test, but you already know everything you need to know, right? While you've done that, a public-relations guy is listening to my voicemail message and lying in wait to tell me how unfair the test was and how his intake would have fared better if we'd only done this or that.

In a way, you are both right. First off, checking in on those peak numbers is a great shorthand way to compare any speed part. Bench racers like to talk about only the big numbers, and to racers there's only one winner and a pack of losers. As for the PR guy's opinion, it's just as valid, because any test is inherently limited to the base combination used for testing. We know an 8,000-rpm race engine with a big cam and ported heads would be a much better platform for the short-runner intakes and boxes. However, there's a prevailing opinion that adding a supercharger will magically compensate for using a race-oriented intake on the street. And most of you run street cars, so that's what we knew you'd want to read about.

That brings us to the test at hand. Back when I was a lowly staffer at Super Ford magazine, I laid the groundwork for an all-encompassing intake dyno test. The idea was to test all the intakes on a streetable, naturally aspirated combination, then test them all again on a streetable, supercharged combination. About the time I was setting this up, I got the call to take over this magazine. So our dear, departed sister pub tested the intakes in naturally aspirated form ("Intake Power," Feb. 2000, p. 34, and "A Real Scream," Mar. 2000, p. 44). The latter test was on the racier NA intakes, but the former catapulted the Holley SysteMAX II intake into ubiquitous popularity because its peak numbers bested its nearest competitor by 20 hp.

The first aftermarket intake to challenge FRPP's pioneering GT-40 intake, the Edelbrock Performer (PN 3821) is a mainstay of street-driven 5.0s. Anderson Ford Motorsport retails this intake for $555.78, and in our test it produced peak horsepower and torque of 500.3 hp and 477.2 lb-ft, while averaging 439.8 hp and 462.1 lb-ft from 4,000 to 6,000 rpm.

While a similar effect may follow this story for another intake, there's more to look at than just those peak horsepower numbers. We've divided the intakes into natural groups of street intakes (Edelbrock Performer, Ford Racing Performance Parts Cobra, and Trick Flow Street), street/strip intakes (Edelbrock Performer RPM, Holley SysteMAX II, and Trick Flow Track Heat), and race intakes (Cartech box, Downs Ford Motorsports box, Edelbrock Victor 5.0, Trick Flow R, and Vortech Mondo Box), because you really need to consider the intake's intended use. With that in mind, we've provided average horsepower and torque numbers from 4,000 to 6,000 rpm for the street intakes and 4,500 to 6,500 rpm for the street/strip and race intakes.

According to our tester, Rick Anderson of Anderson Ford Motorsport, "These are the rpm ranges that a car is run in during wide-open acceleration. For example, a car equipped with a World Class T5 transmission that is shifted at 6,200 rpm will fall back in First gear to around 4,200 rpm. When you're looking at dyno graphs, this is the most important thing to look at-not the peak. The average is what puts the car down the track. This will change with different transmissions, and with an automatic with different torque converters."