Gearheads Give Up On Turbos, Just Use Compressed Air Instead

Rather than muck around with forced air induction, the Hoonigans are just using compressed air tanks to power their motor.

Gearheads Give Up On Turbos, Just Use Compressed Air Instead

The Hoonigans are back with fewer superchargers/turbochargers and more tanks of compressed air.

Last we heard from the Hoonigans, they were busy trying to make homemade air induction systems. First, it was a set of twin-turbos, which were really just industrial fans strapped to the hood of a beat-up Pontiac Firebird. Then it was quad turbos, which just added two more fans, and then finally a supercharger which had its own lawnmower motor to prevent parasitic power loss.

That last one was a huge failure as it blew up the car’s transmission.

Now the boys from Scumbag Labs are giving up on the whole forced air induction thing and are just going with forced air. In the form of 5 giant air tanks pumping compressed air at 80 psi straight into the Firebird’s carburetor.

There is a very real danger of explosion for this one.

This time they’ve tossed out the crappy PVC piping for being not nearly airtight enough, and have swapped them for real steel piping. Obviously, this adds a ton of weight to a car that’s been on its last legs for the past decade, but no matter. The Firebird need only last for two quarter-mile runs to prove the system works.


The Firebird makes 219 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque without the air taps turned on, and surprisingly more than that with the air tanks unleashed. A lot more.

104 horses more. That’s 323 hp and 390 lb-ft, which is just incredible. And all the more incredible that the whole thing didn’t just explode with 80 psi running through it.

However, things weren’t so incredible on the 1/8th-mile run. Without air, the Firebird ran 9.28 seconds, but with air, it ran a 10.6.

You might be wondering how a car with 100 more horses can post a slower drag race time. That’s because, once again, the transmission blew up. The clutch died during the earlier dyno testing, and there was just nothing left to actually race with.

Still, they proved that air tanks are actually a thing that can really improve an older car’s performance. We’re likely to see a bunch of classic Mustangs with massive air tanks on the roof in the very near future.


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