New Products: Whipple 3.8-Liter Supercharger The Centerpiece Of New Marine Engine Upgrade Kits
For the past few years, Whipple Superchargers has been focused on the automobile market for its multiple centrifugal supercharger products. It’s been a booming segment for the Fresno, Calif.-based company, which in just two years reportedly has grown from 30 to 75 employees to meet demand for its offerings.
Though it delivers significantly more power and efficiency, Whipple’s 3.8-liter supercharger (red) isn’t much larger than its 3.0-liter (black) sibling.
But the most part, Whipple has been quiet on the high-performance engine upgrade kit front. Meeting automotive industry demand has mostly driven the narrowed focus, but it goes a bit deeper than that. The son of mostly retired company founder Art Whipple, Dustin Whipple—the supercharger manufacturer’s key shaker and mover—lost his taste for the go-fast boating world following the death Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats founder Mike Fiore, his brother in law and best friend, following an accident at the 2014 Lake of the Ozarks Shootout in Missouri.
Now that Whipple has found his footing—and the automobile side of the business is thriving and running efficiently—he’s returned his focus to aftermarket supercharger kits for out-of-warranty big-block marine engines, from the Mercury Racing 500 to the Fond du Lac, Wis., company’s 700 SCi. And the centerpiece of these kits, which will be offered in multiple stages for various power increase, is the 3.8-liter Whipple supercharger with manifold injection.
Designed and produced in house, new rotors are among to the keys to the exceptional performance or the 3.8-liter superchargers.
“Supercharger technology has increased 10-fold from eight or nine years ago,” Dustin Whipple explained. “We introduced the 3.8-liter blower two years ago in automotive, and just a year ago for marine.”
Though Whipple still outsources production of supercharger housings, the company began fabricating all of its rotors in house six years ago.
“The rotor and housing designs in the 3.8-liter unit are significantly better,” he said. “The units are built with better rotors, better bearings, better seals, better everything. Adding a port injection manifold to the package creates better fuel consumption, better idle and better overall efficiency.
“To give you an example from the automotive side, we took a maxed-out everything 4.5-liter supercharger and made 1,600 hp on a car engine,” he continued. “In the same application, the 3.8-liter blower would make 600 more horsepower. The efficiency isn’t even in the same realm.”
To that end, Whipple Industries has stopped producing its 3.3- and 4.5-liter blower kits. However, the company still is producing replacement parts for those products.
Based on the 3.8-liter supercharger, Whipple’s newest upgrade packages will be accommodate a broad range of high-performance big-block marine engines.
Though “ala cart” 3.8-liter superchargers run in the $7,000 to $8,000 range, complete upgrade kits will start at $12,000.
“The 3.8-liter supercharger is good for almost any power increase, but we’re not stopping there,” Whipple said. “We are just finishing up the design of a new 5-liter blower. It’s much more compact than our original 5-liter supercharger—you could put two of the new ones inside those. We should have it in production by February or March.”