The in­no­va­tors

THE CARS WE DRIVE TO­DAY WERE INFLUENCED BY THESE PIONEERS

Car (South Africa) - - CREDITS - BY: Damian Adams

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.

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