Wow! Some really interesting and exotic designs and styles. I wonder how many of these actually provided some performance benefit. Most, I'd guess.
Of particular interest to me was the Cadillac/Olds "Batwing" model. The article doesn't say much, (or anything) about the internal filter medium in any of the models written about, BUT I can relate an experience with one...
I owned a 1957 Cadillac Sedan deVille, with a 365ci, 300hp V8. This engine (and engine bay) was so basic that it didn't even have a PCV valve, only a downward pointed vent tube. Its oil filter was a drop-in cartridge. But my anecdote had to do with the Air Cleaner...
The first time that I went to inspect it, I thought "Man, this thing is HEAVY". After lifting it clear of the engine, I tilted it, only a bit; and consequently covered myself in oil. Needless to say, some loud epithets were emitted. This was before I'd ordered and received the factory Owner's Manual, (from Rick Schnitzler in PA.) So this was an "Oil Bath" air cleaner. Live and learn, (in 10w 30w splendor.)
I had a 1940 Ford Deluxe V8 that had an oil bath air cleaner. Ford offered options in air cleaners and oil filters back then, including "no oil filter"- which is how my car was built. the oil bath air cleaner was rather small but effective (I think).
Another cool-looking scoop hood that was also my first car, was the one-year-only 72 Gran Torino Sport/Ranchero GT, which mainly came with the Cleveland engine, or perhaps the 429. The air cleaner itself was standard, but it was common practice, with mine and others, to remove the plates behind the scoop and switch to an open-element cleaner that made the scoop functional. But in general, the scoop was styled so well into the hood that it was cool even if non-functional. The Mercury Montego GT was the sister to the Sport, and it had its own cool hood scoops.
All the "misses" mentioned are noteworthy, but a huge miss was the 1969 Hurst/Olds ram air cleaner with mailbox hood scoops and subsequent (but slightly different) 1970-72 Oldsmoible W series ram air cleaners. Good looking and functional.
Yes! Plus the 68 with big chrome dish, twin intake hoses going down under the front bumper to intake boxes. Functional, not practical, but very cool. Also twin snorkel 66-67 Toronado air cleaner and CCC system air cleaner made the engine bay look nice.
You missed the best one!!!! (I’m my opinion) The batwing on the 1955 Chrysler 300 HEMI. That is by far, the most beautiful and epic air cleaner. And to the purest, stop reading. Im definitely finishing off my 1955 Imperial restore with one as an under the hood upgrade.
One of the best and most functional. If you look at early Pro Stock scoops very similar design. Vacuum operated when you floored it opened up so rain did not get in when normal driving. Plus with lettering of "AIR" in an arrow pointing to scoop it knew where to go.
There are some real iconic examples on the list, this would be a good subject for a full blown article. One of my personal favorites is the Stelling &Helling round units that were used on big block Cobras.
Trans Am wind tunnel tests in the late sixties proved the wisdom of the reverse hood scoop design. Positive air pressure from the front of the windshield is greater than at the center of the hood where air rides up and over the front of the shaker. There is a ‘73 Trans Am advertisement graphic that shows the areas of positive and negative airflow over the car. I’ve seen leaves make an about face and get sucked into mine which is open of course! Those Pontiac engineers got it right again, thanks guys!
That was my understanding as well so I opened mine up as well. Not sure if it made much difference but seemed to have good torque from about 2500-5000 rpm. ‘78 T/A 6.6 litre with 4 speed and 3.42 axle.
How about those three chromed "bullets" for the three side draft carbs on the 1953 and early 1955 six cylinder Corvettes? They weren't much of an air cleaner though as they just kept out the big chunks. They changed to a twin pot three carb hook up in late 1954 and 1955 six cylinder Corvettes that was a real air cleaner. That was an interesting looking set up as well.
I completely AGREE !!! The SHAKER IS KING OF THE PILE !!! RUNNER UP-ANYTHING HEMI…THEN the Six Pack’s PAK Air Cleaners…
Back to the ANYTHING HEMI Air Cleaners….Chrysler developed the HEMI to help win WWII initially with an experimental engine for the P47 Aircraft then developed it into the M47 Tank as an air cooled V12 (imagine those air cleaners). The HEMI ENGINE was introduced to the general public in 1955 initially as a Marine engine sporting a “Dual Quad” in Chris Craft (imagine that air cleaner) along with its automotive debut in Chrysler 300’s. Every air cleaner from that point on was spectacular on the HEMI. Chrysler ran the HEMI engine from that point on in both Chrysler and Dodge. It wasn’t until 1964 that the HEMI was introduced in a Plymouth. That folks, was when production horsepower FEAR hit the masses and still RULES roaming the earth to this day, Less PLYMOUTH. HANG ON FOLKS !!! Direct Connection is once again getting involved! Once again thanks for the great article