Turbocharge or Supercharge?

Once we decided to huff our little 185 flathead 6 we had to make a decision. Should we turbocharge it or supercharge it? We already had some experience with turbocharging the little Stude 6's (see Greg's Turbo Stude page in our links) but turbocharging involves more heat, an exotic exhaust, and a special oil supply to the turbo. Superchargers don't require any of those things but they are expensive -- or are they?

Greg and Bob had been following Dick Datson's development of a belt drive turbo. (Heck, Dick was the guy who inspired Greg's turboStude) Simply put, this is a compressor section from a regular exhaust driven turbo driven by a belt from the crankshaft. A 5 to 1 pulley ratio would not be too difficult to set up which would yield a compressor speed of 27,500 RPM when the motor is turning 5,500. If higher compressor speeds are needed, a countershaft driven by a wide belt could be added that could double or triple the compressor achieving compressor speeds of 52,000 to 82,500 RPM! And we could build it ourselves for less than the cost of a new turbocharger. Since only the compressor is used, you don't have the exhaust heat to deal with and the separate oil supply isn't necessary. And you can run a stock exhaust or regular headers! Dick's thrust with the belt-drive is with small engines and our little 185 really fell into this catagory. Ultimately we decided to go with a turbocharger for a number of reasons. At the time, the belt-drive turbo was still in the early development phase. Greg's experience with the TurboStude was a big factor too. We were already going to have to build a custom intake and exhaust manifold so there would be no savings there. We expect the belt-drive turbo is going to make a big splash. Progress has been VERY encouraging and it is virtually a bolt-on for just about any street machine at a fraction of the cost of any other supercharger. Go to our links page and check out Gator Superchargers.