Michael Galimi
October 6, 2006
Photos By: Jim Smart

Just saying the words centrifugal supercharger sparks our highly developed gearhead minds to think of a fuel-injected engine. Some picture the classic supercharged 5-liter image, while others fantasize about a centrifugal blower on a mod motor. For so many years, our brains have been smashed with the notion of centrifugal blowers on fuel-injected engines.

But that doesn't mean carburetor-equipped engines can't benefit from these belt-driven boost makers. We linked a Paxton Novi 2000 system to an '85 Mustang and picked up 90 hp to the tires.

Using a centrifugal blower on a carburetor engine is not a new concept-Ford offered them from the factory in 1957, and they were optional on the '66-'68 Shelby GT350s (the latter were labeled "Paxton," while the former were from its progenitor, McCulloch Supercharging). Like we said, it is not a new concept, but definitely one that has evolved over the years. Today blow-through carb setups have become increasingly popular.

We don't know why it took so long for this to catch on with the non-fuel injected, late-model Mustangs. One assumption is the advancement in carburetor technology has helped. Carburetor companies today are modifying and building carbs that can withstand the pressures produced in blow-through combinations. Back in the '60s, the Paxton-blown Shelby Mustangs didn't produce a lot of boost-a mere 5 psi. This was OK because the carburetor couldn't handle a lot of pressure. The newly designed stuff has evolved to where now putting 20-plus psi of boost inside the bonnet/carb enclosure can be done without incident. The electronics have come a long way, too, and allow timing control in high-boost applications.

Our test vehicle benefited from a swap to a Barry Grant 4150 carburetor. The Stang also had a Paxton/MSD boost/timing retard wired in to help yank timing as boost pressure increased. There were a few bumps in the road with our installation, but the kit has been finalized, and we would definitely regulate it to bolt-on status-just like Paxton's fuel-injected brethren.

The newly released Paxton Novi 2000 super-charger system is designed for '85 Mustangs, but with some tinkering we don't see why it couldn't work in most carbureted applications in Mustangs dating back to 1979 or even earlier. There can be a few issues with certain year Mustangs regarding the induction. Simply convert your intake and carburetor setup to something more conventional. A 4150 or Dominator-style carburetor setup with mechanical secondaries and an adequate fuel system is all that's needed. Once those are in place (for years other than the '85 Mustang 5.0,) then jump into the world of centrifugal superchargers-they can be a lot of fun.

0607mmfp_01z Centrifugal_blower_kit_install Paxton_blower
A Paxton blower on a carbureted small-block Ford certainly has a nostalgic touch, and was an option on Shelby Mustangs from 1966 to 1968. It was also available on T-birds and other Ford passenger cars in 1957 on the 312 Y-block V-8. Blow-through centrifugal supercharging has become more popular over the past few years in the Mustang hobby.
0607mmfp_02z Centrifugal_blower_kit_install Engine_before0607mmfp_03z Centrifugal_blower_kit_install Engine_after
This '85 GT is going from being an ordinary 180,000-mile engine to a supercharged 302 that will destroy the local sport-compact crowd. The '85 302 H.O. engine makes a bit less horsepower than an ordinary '87-'93 H.O. mill, but can still run mighty strong. It was an IROC Camaro killer back in the day.
0607mmfp_04z Centrifugal_blower_kit_install Disconnecting_battery
Disconnecting the battery is a must when working on your Mustang. Trust us, we have been fried more than a few times over the years, and it ain't fun.

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