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Whipple or Kenne Bell? | What Are We Looking At?

Discussion in 'Front Page Articles' started by SID297, Oct 10, 2019.

  1. SID297

    SID297 OWNER/ADMIN Staff Member Administrator

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    *Trigger Warning* - Chevy content below:
    Whipple or Kenne Bell? | What Are We Looking At?

    Whipple_or_KB_020.jpg

    If you’ve been in the performance community for any decent period of time some things just become instantly recognizable. To a gearheads ears here’s no mistaking the sound of a blow-off valve bleeding off some boost pressure or the piercing tones of a Coyote powered Mustang with some Borla Stingers. Similarly, we all know that Kenne Bell blowers are massive blocks of billet aluminum bolted to your favorite engine, while a Whipple Supercharger features a ribbed cast aluminum case. And then there’s this:

    Whipple_or_KB_021.jpg

    We've got ourselves a supercharged big block here. Not something you see in a truck very often.


    No, your eyes are not deceiving you. What we have here is a relic of the past, from a time when Whipple and Kenne Bell were just starting in the supercharger business. A time when the two companies were more closely related than you might think. The founders of each company, Art Whipple and Jim Bell, we both prominent racers in the California performance scene throughout the 60s and 70s. Both had their own corners of the performance market, but both saw untapped potential in the aftermarket twin-screw supercharger business.

    Whipple_or_KB_010.jpg

    Yes, that little sticker on the blower case does indeed say Whipple.


    In the 80s and early 90s twin-screw blowers were still exotic pieces. The vast majority of supercharger kits available to the public centri-kits from companies like Paxton. The remainder was mostly roots style huffers with designs pulled from a 2-Stroke Detroit Diesel. There simply weren’t many manufacturers in the world who had the technical capabilities to machine the twin-screw rotor packs and cases, which have extremely tight tolerances. That’s why when Whipple started out in the business they first sourced their rotors from Australian manufacturer Sprintex. That company is still around making blowers for Jeeps in the US.

    Whipple_or_KB_011.jpg

    Way less complicated under he hood of this thing than anything made these days.


    A few years later Whipple switched suppliers to Autorotor superchargers from Opcon for their kits. It was around this time that Kenne Bell decided to get into the PD Blower business. Up until that time KB had been heavily involved in the Turbo Buick market. Instead of reinventing the wheel, KB initially started purchasing the Autorotor supercharger units, in the familiar billet case, from Whipple.


    At the time Kenne Bell served the Ford market, and Whipple handled the Chevrolets. Nobody gave a shit about Dodges. After a few years Whipple started buying rotor packing from Lyshom and installing them in the housings we are now familiar with. Whipple has since developed their own rotor design that they manufacture in-house. Kenne Bell stuck with the Autorotor design and evolved it throughout the years, eventually going in-house as well. Gotta’ love technological progress.


    So what we have here is an early Whipple kit fitted to a 1990 Chevy 454 SS truck. Even though we’re looking at a Supercharged Big Block V8 I’d be surprised if it made more than 300RWHP. Peanut heads, throttle body injection, low compression, and a nearly smooth camshaft are deficiencies that even 7.4L of displacement and some boost have trouble over coming. These Pre-Vortec Big Blocks didn't even make 200RWHP from the factory. Thankfully; just like blower technology has progressed, so has engine tech. I expect much better results from a Whipple bolted to Ford’s 7.3L Godzilla V8. Until we get to bask in the glory of that combination, enjoy of few more pics of this classic setup (that I found on Craigslist).

    Whipple_or_KB_004.jpg Whipple_or_KB_006.jpg Whipple_or_KB_022.jpg
    Whipple_or_KB_014.jpg Whipple_or_KB_018.jpg
    Untitled1.png
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2019
  2. AustinJ427

    AustinJ427 Well-Known Member Established Member Beer Money Bros.

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    Cool write up Travis.

    Definitely thought it was a KB till I saw the sticker.

    Also, 18 grand for a rebuilt title 454 truck.. When did these get so expensive?
     
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  3. GodStang

    GodStang Well-Known Member Established Member

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    Beautiful truck but don't forget Kenne Bell dropped Autorotor for in-house around 2007 and Lyshom made the rotors for the Vortech Twin-Screw after Whipple dropped them.
     
  4. SID297

    SID297 OWNER/ADMIN Staff Member Administrator

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    Thanks. It's been for sale for a while, so he may be a bit steep on the price.
     
  5. SID297

    SID297 OWNER/ADMIN Staff Member Administrator

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    I mentioned that, but didn't make it super clear. Went back in and made a couple of changes.
     
  6. Klaus

    Klaus Premium Member Premium Member Established Member

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    good write up. would read again.
     
  7. lexustech48

    lexustech48 RIP FoMoCo 1903-2014 Premium Member Established Member

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    So it was Whipple that got the modern PD party started eh?
     
  8. GodStang

    GodStang Well-Known Member Established Member

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    In the US yes. Where real cars are made, Europe, no.
     
  9. SID297

    SID297 OWNER/ADMIN Staff Member Administrator

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    Remember this bad boy?

    SA95P_FULL-BOOK_SuperTurboSBFord_Page_028_Image_0001.jpg
     
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  10. 2000GTSTANG

    2000GTSTANG Well-Known Member Established Member

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    I swear I’ve seen a photo of Kenne Bell with a cast housing. It was on a lightning IIRC.
     
  11. GodStang

    GodStang Well-Known Member Established Member

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    This badboy? The ole Autorotor Lightning 2.3L? These along with the Autorotor 2.2L were loud!!
     

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  12. GodStang

    GodStang Well-Known Member Established Member

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    After seeing your explorer I still want to put a PD blower on my 2010 Limited.
     
  13. SID297

    SID297 OWNER/ADMIN Staff Member Administrator

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    Still have one of those on my L.

    It was a fun ride.
     
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  14. me32

    me32 BEASTLY SHELBY GT500 TVS Moderator

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  15. SID297

    SID297 OWNER/ADMIN Staff Member Administrator

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  16. me32

    me32 BEASTLY SHELBY GT500 TVS Moderator

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  17. 2000GTSTANG

    2000GTSTANG Well-Known Member Established Member

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    That’s it!
     

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