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Getting Blown

Bench Racing

by Ryan King

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I'm a fan of multiple styles of powerplants:

  • Large V8s
  • High-winding V8s
  • Large, high-winding V8s
  • Turbocharged V8s
  • Centrifugally supercharged V8s

But my favorite, by far, is the roots supercharged engine.

The roots blower is a magical talisman that turns even an itty-bitty 4-banger into a beast to drive. Throttle response is excellent, bottom end is excellent, top end is excellent, and mid range is excellent. It's excellent in every gear, and will light up the tires practically on command.

I'm not talking character, here, because a naturally aspirated engine, large or small, low-revving or high-winding, has more character.

Neither am I talking ultimate power, because, hello hairdryer.

No, I'm talking drivability. A roots supercharged engine, properly engineered, has power everywhere, all the time. Displacement be damned. There's no waiting when the throttle is tipped in, either — it instantaneously provides gut tightening thrust, even with very light applications of throttle.

More than anything, a roots blower is satisfying. It is simply the most satisfying power adder around. It turns an otherwise well behaved engine into a nasty bully of tires. My tires. And I love it for it.

That's all I've got.

Really, all I need.

I think I'm going to go get satisfied again.

Excuse me.


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