THE CARS WE DRIVE TODAY WERE INFLUENCED BY THESE PIONEERS
SUPERCHARGING is popular because the tech reliably provides power gains. A charger’s mechanical whine and pleasing responsiveness pretty much guarantee driving thrills, especially if used on a performance car.
Iconic movie cars such as the Ford Falcon XB GT from Mad Max, the 1970 Dodge Charger R/T of The Fast and the Furious franchise and the 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 star of Gone in 60 Seconds all have the supercharger in common.
This forced-induction technology dates back to 1860, when brothers Philander and Francis Roots of the Roots Blower Company patented the design for a forced-air distributor which could be used in blast furnaces.
In 1885, Gottlieb Daimler received the German patent for supercharging an internalcombustion engine. In 1921, the Berlin Motor Show was staged for the first time since the end of World War One and it’s here where Daimler premiered the world’s first supercharged production passenger vehicles.
The cars on show were the Type 6/20 hp City Coupé and the 10/35 hp 4-cylinder. Updated for production, the 6/25 hp Phaeton (considered the first supercharged car offered for sale) and 10/40 hp models made their way to dealerships in 1922. Both of these models utilised Roots superchargers and were known as “Kompressor” models.
This early supercharger tech was an example of enhancing efficiency on internal-combustion engines, where an enginedriven blower forces the fuel-air mixture under pressure into the cylinders so the cylinder charge can be increased to produce a higher specific power output.
The first supercharged Mercedes-benz developed 28 kw from only 1,6 litres and 48 kw with 2,6 litres of displacement. These were high figures for the time.
Today, turbos are favoured because they are more efficient. For instance, in the 2000s, Mercedes-amg offered a range of Kompressor models. Today, of course, every AMG boasts at least one turbocharger.
An unlikely brand recently launched a supercharged sportscar. Flip to page 38 to find out how the dinky Toyota Yaris GRMN fares in this year’s Performance Shootout.