Whipple Superchargers is a name that certainly shouldn’t be foreign to anyone in the racing or high performance industry; in addition to their wide-ranging aftermarket supercharger offerings, they’re also well-aligned with the OEM’s. Their blowers are prominently featured atop Ford and Chevrolet’s 8-second, factory-built race cars — the Cobra Jet Mustang and the COPO Camaro, respectively.
Here at SEMA, they’re focused on the aftermarket, although that certainly doesn’t discount the possibility that their new designs won’t end up in something rolling off the assembly line in the future. Whipple’s engineers went to the drawing board and redesigned their large 4.5-liter supercharger in order to produce a front-feed layout, as they’d already done with their 2.3 and 2.9-liter. Previous iterations of the blower have had the snout and belt drive running off the front of the engine and the inlet positioned at the back, largely for packaging reasons under the hood of most later-model vehicles. That, however, doesn’t present the best scenario for introducing air into the engine, and so Whipple, not ones to remain idle with their products, aimed to change that.
The end result of their work is the first 4.5-liter front-feed twin screw supercharger in their lineup.
Here at the show, Whipple has outfitted their new unit on a spectacular all-custom 1957 Chevrolet that was built by Rodger Lee at Ironworks in Bakersfield, California. The blower sits atop an all-forged 427-inch LS that began life as an LS9 and, with the twin-screw blower, produces a tire-melting 1,200 horsepower.
“For hot rodders, we really think the center inlets work a lot better than the rear inlets, for packing and air ducting, to bring the air in left, right, or center,” explains Dustin Whipple. “What’s unique about the inlet is that it actually has the throttle body built into the inlet. It has a 132 mm throttle body with electronic throttle built into the inlet, so it’s one-piece. So we got rid of that flange to make it look better, and saved a good 6-inches of clearance up front.”
For the LS platform with the Camaro belt drive, Whipple will be going into full production and availability on the 4.5-liter front feed. That will be followed by a unit intended for Corvette belt lines, along with other GM models and ultimately those for Ford and Chrysler vehicles, as well.