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In another question I confirmed what a hood scoop was. I was also wondering what this structure was since it was differently shaped than a hood scoop. I heard it was a "turbocharger" or something like that and that it helped to shove air into the engine and speed the car up. What is it? What's its purpose and do they still make them? Also what cars feature it? I saw it on a Charger and I think other new ones but I am not sure since a lot of turbochargers don't look like this?

enter image description here

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

This is a roots style supercharger. Unlike the turbocharger you mention, the supercharger (or "blower") is driven directly by the crankshaft of the engine, via a large belt. Turbos use the exhaust gases to perform the same task. The task at hand is to force more air into the engine than the engine could normally suck in on its own. By doing this, it makes the engine "think" it is bigger than it it actually is and thus produce more horsepower in the process.

Here is what one looks like up close:

enter image description here

Here is one on an engine:

enter image description here

These do not come stock on cars directly from the factory. They are an aftermarket add-on. Some cars come with different versions of superchargers (like the Pontiac Grand Prix GTP), but nothing like the one you show in the picture.

EDIT: This Wiki article appears to have a lot of answers for you.

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What was different about the one in the picture? – Pobrecita Jun 15 '14 at 20:05
I can sense an upcoming question: "Why do we still use Roots blowers instead of twin-screw superchargers?" – Zaid Jun 15 '14 at 20:50
@iliveunderawesomerock ... Not much difference, other than the engine they are sitting on. The one in your picture appears to be of the 8-71 variety, but cannot be sure. You'd either have to know from direct knowledge, or have to measure it in person to know exactly what size it is. There are plenty of manufacturers out there. Each are basically the same, but may have slight variations. Also, check my edit above. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jun 15 '14 at 23:42

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