While not Turbonique levels of 1960s cool, a Latham Axial Flow Supercharger is still exceptionally neat and pretty damned rare. These blowers are basically like little belt driven turbines that have a drum with these little air foils welded to it. As it spins those little air foils act like turbine blades and move a ton of air. They have to really be hauling ass to work so these things spin at tremendous RPM, like 5x crankshaft speed when the engine is running. Compact an unique looking, most people have never seen one in the flesh. The other thing that Mr Latham did that made these interesting was to use Carter YH side draft carbs to feed the air and fuel into the unit. It kept the hood clearance issues to a minimum but those carbs were not really beloved by those that tried to tune them.
In this video you will see a guy stick a pneumatic tool on the snout of the supercharger and spin it to about 12,000 rpm by his calculation by what the tool is rated at. The noise is pretty tremendous and because it is just an intake manifold sitting on the ground, it is even more interesting when you listen to what happens when he takes the tool off and the thing starts to slowly wind down. We know that there were hemi powered air raid sirens back in the day but we think Mr Latham could have made a bundle selling these not as blowers but as noise makers.
At 6,000 rpm running full bore one of these must sound like Kingdom Come heading down the road. There are some videos of engines idling with them on YouTube but nothing that gives the full throated experience.
Press play below to see this Latham Axial Flow Supercharger spin and scream!
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