Tom Wilson
September 1, 2005

Pop the hood of a '96-'04 Mustang GT and you'll get near universal agreement surrounding the engine's looks. It's dull at best and ugly if you're feeling uncharitable. Things aren't helped much when it comes to performance, either. From the factory, these engines are weak in '96-'98 trim, and while noticeably better from '99-'04, they still could use a little help.

Well, there is a little help from BBK in the form of a new intake elbow, also called a plenum. It replaces the industrial-looking box atop the Two-Valve's plastic intake manifold-that block of cheese with the running horse on top of it-with a larger, smoother, and better flowing curved intake elbow. A relatively new part, we stopped by to see how the new elbow performs-just fine, with a few horsepower gains.

Most logically, and most often, sold in conjunction with a BBK 75mm throttle body, the elbow is available as a stand-alone part should you already have a larger throttle body, or choose to run with the stock throttle body until your next paycheck. As a throttle body and elbow kit, the pair fetch $359.99. By themselves, the elbow is $169.99; the throttle body $199.99. So, buy them as a set and save $10. All of these parts are in current production and available now.

After examining the photos (for more, check out 50mustangandsuperfords.com), readers with good memories might recall our test car, it's the same '98 GT we installed Comp Cams camshafts in months ago. Belonging to John Redasky, who's day job seems consumed by mysterious wanderings in the Brother's Performance Warehouse-Brother's is BBK's sales outlet-the GT boasts the aforementioned Comp Cams, BBK valve covers, a BBK cold-air kit, a K&N conical air filter, BBK short-tube headers, an off-road X-pipe, and Borla mufflers. There is no electronic tuning, but there are 131,000 miles on the odometer, and there's some more power information on these bolt-ons, including the short tube headers.

The baseline test, using a stock throttle body and the stock elbow netted 224.9 hp and 271.8 lb-ft of torque. This is with the cams, cold-air kit, and other modifications John has on his car. When we fitted both the BBK throttle body and elbow, power jumped to 232 hp and 284 lb-ft of torque. We also have a sneaking suspicion that the BBK intake elbow might be a real help with centrifugally supercharged engines, but that's another story.