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We Put 19 Single-Plane Small Block Chevy Intakes to the Test

The Great Intake Flog

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Test Results
After burning through gallons of Rockett-Brand gas and more than one big tube of Permatex Ultra Grey, a few intriguing results emerged. The most obvious is that the taller the manifold, the better the overall power. Next, we were amazed at how stupid-close the results were for the mid-pack manifolds. Deal-breakers might come down to overall height or price, but from a power standpoint, the mid-pack manifolds virtually overlap. Of course, everybody wants to know the peak horsepower numbers. We expected the Edelbrock Super Victor II to do well, and it outshined all comers with 549 hp. Another bright spot was the Holley Strip Dominator, with a strong showing in average torque. We also should point out that if Made in the USA means anything, the offerings from AFR, Edelbrock, Dart, Holley/Weiand, Wilson, and World Products should carry some weight, as these companies produce their products domestically.

We have strived to make this test as accurate as possible, but it's likely that each manifold's performance could be easily influenced by our engine's specific combination of displacement, compression, cam timing, and port flow. To eliminate variables, we tried to maintain a consistent air/fuel-ratio curve for each manifold. We also ran several tests (at least three but up to five runs) on each manifold until the power stabilized and we had two similar pulls. Toward the end of the test, we also re-baselined the engine to ensure that power had not dropped off due to abuse. When our retest resulted in numbers within 2 lb-ft and 2 hp, we decided nothing had changed since those numbers are within a half-percentage point. We averaged two pulls to create one curve for each manifold. While we're on the subject of close numbers, the average-torque results reveal there are 11 manifolds in the middle of the field that are separated by a mere 8 lb-ft of torque; that's less than a 2 percent difference in average torque. We did a quick comparison of the two manifolds at the opposite ends of that spread (Holley Strip Dominator and the Professional Products Hurricane), and using our Orange Peel Chevelle as the simulated vehicle, we entered the power into the Quarter, Pro dragstrip simulation program. It spit out a difference of 0.06 second and 1 mph. If you test at the track, air quality can affect performance more than that during one day of testing. These numbers underscore just how competitive the market is for single-plane, small-block Chevy intake manifolds. Most of us wouldn't stress over four-hundredths and a half mph.

If we were to make a case for an overall choice where height is not an issue, we'd suggest looking for a manifold that placed the highest in average torque, peak horsepower, and average torque per dollar. We crunched those numbers and discovered that the Holley Strip Dominator had the consistently highest finishing position. The next four in order were the Professional Products Hurricane, Summit, Dart, and Professional Products Hurricane Plus manifolds. This may not equate to a King of the Hill award because this ranking accords equal weight to each of the three categories. Place a bias on price, and the rankings change in favor of the Summit. As we mentioned, all this information only makes the decisions more challenging. You can thank us later.

Peak Horsepower
While peak horsepower is always the go-to number, keep in mind that for a typical street car, peak horsepower is a small part of the overall power strategy. The tallest manifolds produced the most peak power and also offered some of the best average torque numbers. If we look at the manifolds that finished Second through Sixth, there is barely a 5hp difference between them. That's imperceptible in a street car. The AFR Titon and Wilson-ported Super Victor placed Third and Fourth, yet they are not overly tall manifolds. The Wilson porting job was worth 11.5 lb-ft of average torque and improved peak horsepower by 17 versus the as-cast Super Victor; that's what Wilson's Sportsman porting is worth. The Wilson's peak horsepower would improve even more with a 1-inch spacer.

Ranking Peak HP HP/$ RankIng HP/$
1st Super Victor II 549 17th 1.45
2nd Holley Strip Dominator 543 4th 2.60
3rd AFR Titon 541 18th 0.92
4th Wilson ported Super Victor 540 19th 0.60
5th Dart 539 Tied 7th 2.34
6th Holley Keith Dorton 538 13th 1.92
7th Pro Products Hurricane 536 5th 2.54
8th Pro Products Hurricane Plus 535 Tied 7th 2.34
9th RHS 534 14th 1.78
10th World Products Motown 534 15th 1.77
11th ProComp Shootout Pro 532 10th 2.20
12th Summit 531 3rd 2.79
13th Brodix HV1000 530 16th 1.49
14th Pro Prod. Super Hurricane 530 12th 2.04
15th Holley Team G 524 6th 2.49
16th Edelbrock Victor Jr. 523 9th 2.22
17th Edelbrock Super Victor 523 11th 2.09
18th Weiand X-CELerator 505 2nd 3.04
19th Torker II 492 1st 3.28

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