Easy there, everybody. We managed to combine some fine machinery with great results, but it has nothing to do with crossing a Ford with a Chevy. Vortech is the name of a supercharger company, while Vortec is the name given to GM's tough-to-beat engine lineup.
As a mechanical means of cramming more air and fuel into engine cylinders, superchargers bear the distinction of being one of the best solutions in the search for bolt-on horsepower. Like a turbocharger, a supercharger uses an impeller to cram the mixture down the throttle body or carburetor. Unlike a turbo, a supercharger is driven directly by the engine. Throttle response is more instantaneous. In one fell swoop, a supercharger adds the power and torque usually attained by numerous internal engine modifications, such as cylinder head porting and added displacement via bigger bores and pistons -- more power, less hassle. Another attractive aspect is that many models are smog-legal, making emissions inspections a dread-free experience for performance enthusiasts.
OR brought an '01 Ford F-150 Supercrew to Vortech's Channel Islands, California, base for an expertly performed installation by technician Ricky Best. The 'Crew sports Ford's respectable 5.4L Triton mill under the hood, which belts out 260 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque in stock trim. With the 'charger bolted up, our drive home revealed a new level of performance lurking within the Triton mill. Hills were flattened. Passing was a breeze. In the time normally needed to accelerate to 60 mph, a glance at the speedometer revealed 80 instead. The new horsepower and torque numbers were 375 and 441, respectively. We made sure to fill the tank with the now-mandatory 91-octane fuel and kept a watchful eye on the rearview mirror for Johnny Law's flashing red lights.