The same approach can be applied to the intake manifold for this same engine. While it may no longer be available from Edelbrock, there was a time several years ago when it produced an early version of its Victor series intake manifold for small-block Chevrolet V-8s that was called the Victor 4X4.

The four inboard runners (Nos. 4, 6, 3, and 5), being shorter in length, were sized larger in section area than the four outboard runners (Nos. 2, 8, 1, and 7). These latter, being longer, were sized with a slightly smaller section area based on a naturally lower tuning rpm because of their comparatively longer length, compared to the shorter inboard runners. By design, the manifold was intended to help broaden or flatten the resulting torque curve and was largely targeted for oval-track engines.

After the manifold's introduction, I distinctly recall a conversation with Junior Johnson who asked if the same approach could be taken with a comparable manifold for the big-block he was using in NASCAR at the time. The conversation included the idea possibly being applied to a header system. I shared with Junior that I'd also done some study on having a camshaft ground with two sets of intake and exhaust lobes (and position on the shaft) to coincide with intentions from the "modified" intake and exhaust systems, further enhancing the "two V-4s" notion for manipulating the torque curve. Post-discussion results indicated he was successful.

What I hadn't shared with him was the fact I was driving (at the time) a then-current model year small-block Chevy Camaro using just such a camshaft. In later years, a short-track engine builder with whom Edelbrock was working adapted the idea to a couple of his customer engines with predictably good results. As it has turned out, this approach to "customizing" camshafts became a method to help resolve cylinder-to-cylinder volumetric efficiency variations by tailoring lobe specifications to compensate for imbalances in torque among an engine's cylinders. That practice continues today.

The overriding point here is that it's possible to configure intake, exhaust and camshaft packages to put torque at more favorable engine speeds than obtainable by some other means. In fact, the ability to identify areas in a given engine speed range where torque boosts can be helpful becomes a tool for matching overall torque curves to gearing and track conditions.

If you accept that the area under the torque curve represents available "work" to propel the car, it's possible to decrease what we'll call peak torque values by shifting torque to rpm where it's more helpful without creating more or less gross torque. We know of specific examples where it was known in what speed range an engine operated most frequently, and then by the methods we've been discussing, torque enhancement was directed to these rpm-not unlike how you might address the same issue with gear combinations but in addition to this approach. Magic it's not.