Speed Equipment: Playing Favorites

Speed Equipment: Playing Favorites

There are a lot of issues with playing favorites, but in the case of hot rodding, it’s something that just needs to be done. Everyone has their own period, their own style and most importantly their favorite piece of speed equipment. For the past week, the nuts and bolts in the back of my mind have been rattling as I tried to piece together what component deserved the top slot.

I asked myself: What parts have the ability to change my mind about a build? Is it something that has been bolted on, fabbed up or simply attached? Should it be aftermarket or engineered from factory pieces? It’s a lot to consider. Rather than straining to find just one, I figured I’d be fair and pick three and present them in no particular order.

I. Hilborn “Bugcatcher.? Introduced in the mid-‘60s, the I’m a strong believer that the four butterfly “Bugcatcher? was the most attractive injection unit of the time. With a finned top and a relatively low profile, it was the perfect crowning jewel for competition machines ranging from Fuelers to A/Gassers. In some cases, they even made appearances on the street (Think Tom Koenen’s big block-powered ’55 Chevy). Polish ‘em up or leave them raw, they’re unmistakable attention — and air — grabbers.


CAEII. CAE Tube Axle. Culbert Automotive Engineering, a San Diego, California-based company, was responsible for holding up hundreds of front ends on racetracks (and streets) across the country in the ‘60s and ‘70s. I’ve always had a fascination with the chrome tube axles set up for a transverse spring with matching hairpin radius rods. Whether it was for a Willys or a Chevy II, CAE axles helped get the nose in the air for maximum weight transfer, lower e.t.’s and a downright menacing look.


III. GMC 4-71 Supercharger. Sure, the 6-71 has countless advantages over its little brother, but I’m a fan of its compact size. I’ll admit right now that I have less than 20 miles of total driving experience in roots-blown cars, so much of this decision is based on aesthetics. Depending on the era of the project, the 4-71 can be adapted to bring out the most in your mill’s looks and performance. Throw on a set of Carter AFBs a-la Tom McMullen and you have yourself a bitchin’ setup for street and strip. Or if you’re more dragstrip oriented, run a 2-port Hilborn for that early competition flair.

These are my top three choices at the time of publishing. I’m sure I’ll change my mind by the end of the weekend. But I’ll just let them sit for the time being. However, I will ask you this — what’s your favorite piece of speed equipment (aftermarket, factory, home-brewed)? And why?

I look forward to hearing your answers.

­—Joey Ukrop

Images from Rodder’s Journal #16 and Hot Rod Magazine March 1962 and February 1965

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