Tom Wilson
May 1, 2005

Horse Sense:
No one around the shop could remember the last time we ran our 302 dyno mule, but it must have been five years ago. Fitted with a fresh set of AFR cylinder heads, the little beast started right up and made power immediately, so some things must come naturally.

When BBK introduced its SSI manifold for 5.0 engines, the company was sure to point out that the part was aimed at the basic bolt-on Mustang. An important distinction, as the 5.0 market has become so well addressed there is seemingly a part for every stage of development, and this certainly includes intake manifolds. BBK didn't want people confusing the SSI as some sort of racing intake, a well-founded concern given the SSI's tall height and unusual twin-plenum design.

Furthermore, after introducing the SSI, we began receiving a number of inquiries concerning 5.0 intakes-making it clear to us there is a whole new generation of 5.0 enthusiasts who weren't playing (at least not with real cars) when the mainstays of the 5.0 intake market were tested the first time around.

Our response was predictable-head to the dyno and demonstrate how the new and old intakes work. Because our intent was to work with the most popular intakes-the ones that get bolted to legions of daily driver 5.0 Mustangs-we gathered the venerable GT-40 tubular intake from Ford Racing Performance Parts, the Edelbrock Performer, the Trick Flow Street, and the new boy on the block, the BBK Single Stage Intake. All are aimed at stock-displacement 302 short-blocks running either stock or street-friendly replacement cylinder heads, stock or small replacement camshafts, and a general need to retain low- to midrange torque for daily-driver friendliness.

Of these intakes, the GT-40 is something of a standout. For starters, it was designed by Ford to work on what could be called the "GT-40 engine" sold in the '93-'95 Mustang Cobra and also offered by Ford Motorsport SVO, now known as Ford Racing, as an aftermarket piece. The GT-40 is easily the oldest intake in this test, having been designed by Ford's regular production engineers well in advance of 1989, when it was scheduled to appear on a 25th anniversary Mustang that was shelved before hitting the market. Old or not, the GT-40 has a reputation for not giving up torque while building good top-end power. So, it's a good yardstick-even if we did also toss a stock intake into the mix as an obvious comparison.

Age is also a factor with the Edelbrock Performer. This is the regular Performer, not the slightly sportier Performer RPM. It was Edelbrock's first Ford EFI intake, and about five years younger than the GT-40 when comparing when the two intakes were designed (but not necessarily introduced for sale). It was remarkable upon its debut for a notably tall lower casting, with tall, sweeping runners.

Aside from the brand-new BBK, the Trick Flow Street intake is the newest of the bunch. It uses the now distinctive, triangular-shaped plenum. More than a pretty casting, the big plenum has supposedly given the Trick Flow a top-end power edge over the earlier intakes.