We Live In the Golden Age of Cheap Superchargers

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Back in the day, where could you go for a cheap supercharger? Maybe grab a grungy 8-71 off a million-mile transit bus? Thanks to GM’s decision in the early 1990s to plop Eaton blowers on all manner of 3800 V6-powered machinery, the going rate on a junkyard supercharger is well below a C-note.

I spotted this blown Park Avenue at a Denver self-service yard last week. The price? 75 bucks. Too bad the engines in my current stable-o-vehicles displace 1.5 and 5.2 liters, respectively, and are thus unsuitable for this unit (though perhaps two of these on a Chrysler 318 might be just the ticket).

And that’s not your only low-buck blower option these days, thanks to Toyota’s decision to add a supercharger to Previa minivans starting in the mid-1990s. The Previa unit has an electrically-operated clutch, which means you can turn it on and off like Mad Max in his Falcon XB. Works great in a 320i!

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Obbop Obbop on Jan 02, 2011

    Many things about and reasons to recommend a Toyota Previa van if one in decent or better condition comes your way. If the "price is right" is up to the buyer. One of the few "weak points" is the SADS... the shaft runing from the engine to the components mounted in front of the engine that are normally attached directly to the engine with "normal" vehicles. When needing repair or replacement a mechanically handy/adept person can do it and save bucks. Repair vice replacement route available. An incredibly handy Yahoo "group" exists with ample tips, advice, suggestions, links, etc. For your reading pleasure you can follow the link below to a blurb on eBay that "66 out of 69 people found this guide helpful." http://reviews.ebay.com/Toyota-Previa-SADS-shaft-caution-when-buying-van_W0QQugidZ10000000001452344

  • NoGoYo NoGoYo on Mar 31, 2013

    If only there was some company that sold a manifold for mounting a 3800 Eaton supercharger to a 60V6. Would make my just over 2900 pound Buick Skylark coupe a real treat to drive if I could get 250+ lb ft of torque... The car already has enough torque and gearing to cruise at 80 with the engine at 1500 rpm, with more torque I could coast pretty much anywhere with decently flat roads.

  • Lynchenstein @EBFlex - All ICEs are zero-emission until you start them up. Except my mom's old 95 Accord, that used to emit oil onto the ground quite a lot.
  • Charles The UAW makes me the opposite of patriotic
  • El scotto Wranglers are like good work boots, you can't make them any better. Rugged four wheel drive vehicles which ironically make great urban vehicles. Wagoneers were like handbags desired by affluent women. They've gone out of vogue. I can a Belgian company selling Jeep and Ram Trucks to a Chinese company.
  • El scotto So now would be a good time to buy an EV as a commuter car?
  • ToolGuy $1 billion / 333.3 million = $3 per U.S. person ¶ And what do I get for my 3 bucks -- cleaner air and lower fuel prices? I might be ok with this 🙂🙂