Michael Galimi
September 1, 2009
JPC's Mike Washington goes wheels up with his NMRA Real Street race car. The kit we installed is the base-version of the one he employs to go mid-9s in the strict NMRA heads-up category.

If you were to ask longtime enthusiasts about the quintessential Fox-body combination, odds are the answer would be a supercharged 5.0L engine. Since the late '80s/early '90s, adding a supercharger to our beloved 302 High Output engine has become a tradition. While there are nearly a dozen different supercharger systems available for the Three-Valve modular motor, the centrifugal supercharger system has been the mainstay in 5.0L supercharging. This compact and effective boost-maker for pushrod engines is simple to install, extremely effective, and reasonably priced for the gains. You can credit the blower wars of the 5.0L shootout days for advances in technology and encouraging the centrifugal blower's popularity.

As some of the 5.0L-specific blower kits are nearing 20 years on the marketplace, there is always room for improvement. Thanks to racing exploits in the NMRA and other heads-up racing sanctioning bodies, supercharger companies are continually improving the systems for street applications. One of the longtime supercharger manufacturers, Vortech Superchargers, has upgraded its entry-level centrifugal supercharger system to offer better output while maintaining its low cost.

Our test vehicle was equipped with an Edelbrock Performer intake, TFS Stage 1 camshaft, roller rocker arms, TFS Twisted Wedge heads, shorty headers, and 2.5-inch exhaust. In naturally aspirated trim, the '93 GT cranked out 309 rwhp and 341 rwtq.

Its 5.0L base kit is one of the most popular systems the company sells. We can point to a host of facts as to why the company cranks out so many kits but the underlying theme is that the base Vortech 5.0L system can be bought for under $2,000. As far as we can tell, it is the cheapest supercharger kit on the market-save for the leaf-blower/electric supercharger kits on eBay (insert sarcasm). The Vortech kit is a bare-bones system that comes with everything needed to run 5-6 psi of boost on top of a stock or mildly modified 5.0L engine.

The Low-Boost blower kit is essentially the original 5.0L blower kit that has served thousands of Mustang enthusiasts for almost 20 years, but Vortech now includes the latest head unit with its tried and true kit. The V-3 head unit is an internally lubricating supercharger that utilizes helical-cut gears to drive the impeller to a maximum speed of 53,000 rpm. "The V3 SCi is good up until 725 hp," explained Ricky Best, race and media relations manager at Vortech. "The SCi is included in our base kit. Then we upgrade the unit to a Si-trim blower for customers who want to run our High Output kit, which is 8-10 psi. The Si-trim supercharger is good up to 775 hp. It's what the NMRA Real Street racers are using in competition and going deep into the 9s."

The Anderson Ford Motorsport (AFM) Power Pipe is removed, and the Vortech discharge tube replaces it.

According to Vortech's website, the Low-Boost kit is suppose to take a stock 5.0L from 225 hp up to 275 hp. We have been in this way too long to know that 5 psi of boost is worth more than just 50 hp-even if this is the company's extremely basic kit.

We tried to dig up a stock Fox-body of the '86-'93 vintage for this test, but that has become rather difficult, so we settled on a Stang with a heads/cam/intake upgrade. Justin Burcham of JPC Racing steered us towards one of his customers who was interested in tickling his 5.0 powerplant with a blower. Aaron McIntosh owns a clean '93 Mustang GT that features Trick Flow aluminum Twisted Wedge heads, Stage 1 cam, and Edelbrock Performer intake manifold, and a few other mods. In naturally aspirated trim, the car cranked out 309 rwhp on the chassis dyno at JPC Racing. We, unfortunately, don't have any information on the car's output in 100-percent-stock trim.

We ordered the Low-Boost kit from Vortech and while 5 or so psi is very mild for a stock engine, this one needed a few more mods to make the system operate effectively. The car was equipped with a UPR 255-lph in-tank fuel pump, and Burcham elected to add a Vortech T-Rex external pump for even more fuel flow. The T-Rex is the standard fuel pump upgrade included in the High Output system. This ensures the test subject will have plenty of fuel to feed the boost-hungry engine.