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The wreck of Old 97




Well I have been saying that statement for years and years and years. I got my early education and bitterness for 97’s from an old friend. We would shower swap meets and old engine bays for the Illustrious 97 carbs . They are the cherry on top of the sundae for the average hotrodder thats in the know. I came to my personal hateful conclusion about 10 years ago after rebuilding 6 of them for a 6×2 intake.  I went through over a dozen cares to mix and match centers and bases and get everything all working correctly. That one intake was an expensive one. At the time you could find a core for about 150.00 if your lucky. My Buddy had done the same thing for his HEMI 8×2 dragstar intake.  He was able to line the top of this garage wall with junk cores that didn’t cut the mustard.  Since about that time I swore them off and decided a tuned down 94 is all i really needed , just like fords progression they were a better carb and way cheaper!!!

I am a long time hater of 97 carbs thats why what you see here is so exciting.  Im a hotrodder and you are too,we like to go fast when we want to . I can just hear Nizzle in the back of my head      ” you ain’t making no power with a bunch of two barrels”.  And well up to now he was right. The six pack your pappy put on his SBC back in the day might have given him a boost in power in his little 282, but if your using a ,” forgive me ” a small block chevy, your probably running with a 327 350 383  and a 4 barrel and keeping the hood shut….. tight.  If you  are running a 3×2 6×2 combo then you are robbing so much power it isn’t even funny from yourself.  But it looks cool.There is hope on the horizon for all of you that really are into power from a nostalgic looking intake and carb.


Ol’ leadfoot hit the scene a few years back with the newly developed stromberg 97. I was excited and the news of getting new 97’s was enticing for even me . pop em out the box a little tuning and your down the road motors with NEW carbs on your gow. Super rad! This was just the beginning of it and I had no idea what was to lay in store for the hotrod community until our open house at Bobby Waldens Speed shop. I finally got to meet Clive , he’s and English block from across the pond and he heads up stromberg carburetors. he came to the release party simply with an intake with 3 carbs  and a couple bases with center sections. I really didn’t have time at the party to see what he was showing off. I got one of his leaflets with the specs and a sweet cutout model by Juff Allison and was on my way . It wasn’t until later that I started reading it. The new Big 97 is a product we as power hounds can really stand behind . I feel that he saw the issue with the archaic carbs and intakes of yesteryears and answered the call of the hotrodder today . The big 97 offers speed and style for your hotrod or custom car.  Each carb is producing 250 cfm . Put 3 together and you have 750cfm that will supply ample power to your SBC 350 383 and even a big block! The carb is just the beginning as Clive is working on an intake for SBC that tunes the carbs and produces amazing numbers.  I spied that Ross Racing engines was dynoing out the carbs and prototype intake. Clive didn’t want to let the cat out of the bag on numbers yet because the intake was still being worked on but the gains are 10-15% more than he realized.  I think this is huge news for all of us!


Leadfoot and Clive you have turned a bitter young hotrodder. I won’t ever buy an old 97 but you got my suckiling on the test for the new big 97. Now I gotta start saving pennies for a setup on my chevy!

You might be thinking that this is some sort of ploy between Us at Hop Up and Stromberg.  well no way . If I wasn’t jazzed on it I wouldn’t write it . This is exciting news . Even if they weren’t an advertiser id still be giving all of you this news. We stand behind our advertisers and believe in every one of em. You ain’t gonna find  no BS here.

Heres the brass tacks and a preview of the carbs for you check out the size difference between the two center sections!! Below is the press release and the tech info from Stromberg. Be on the lookout for the new intake if your a SBC fan and wanna make power and look good doing it . The answer to some prayers…



From Leadfoot himself…..


We did all the original BIG97 carburetor development with the help of a super-knowledgeable guy called Norm Schenck at Competition Fuel Systems. He is semi-retired now and moving to Michigan so his dyno was off limits, which is why we went to Ross Racing Engines for this new testing.
What Ross were running for us is a prototype 3×2 intake manifold. Quite early in the project, we realised we need our own intake to maximise the BIG97 Tri-Power capabilities. All of the currently available Chevy 3×2 intakes were designed in the 50’s for 283inch motors at best, making a death defyingly low horsepower (even the Edelbrock X1 6×2 only hit 283hp on a 282ci motor!). We haven’t tested the newer Edelbrock SBFord intake. Nowadays when Chevy engines are more likely 350 and 383in and 400hp (and more!) is the target for a self-respecting performance guy, the old intakes are not doing the job.
Our original project target was 400hp. And we did hit that, but only by building a crazy high rise hand-fabbed intake based around a big dual-quad. More important to us, given that we operate principally in the street-driven hot rod market, is high torque though the magic rev range – around that 2500 to 4500rpm mark – where most people operate, and where strong reliable torque can really make for a fun car.
According to our dyno figures (based on airflow and fuel delivery), the BIG97 Tri-Power could theoretically feed a 600hp motor, but in all our tests we ran out of intake (and engine!) way before we ran out of carburetor. This is partly because it’s tough for any 3×2 intake, especially a dual-plane, and double especially a small block one, by its very nature is simply not going to rev high enough to see that power, so you can see why we needed to go back to our own drawing board on intake design. We need something that delivers our high torque targets in the fun rev range.
The Ross tests last week were back to back against the most commonly available 3×2 intake for 97s. We did port it out to make sure it worked well with the bigger diameter BIG97 carb barrels. I’d rather not discuss absolute figures right now because this was literally our first hand-made prototype and we have a lot more improvements to go yet once we move to the CAD 3D modelling stage, but I can say that it made just under 10HP and 14ftlb more power and torque through out our important rpm range. In last year’s Car Craft mega intake test, 14ftlb was the diference between 1st and 20th! Now that’s encouraging to say the least.

All-new 750cfm BIG97 Tri-Power from Stromberg Carburetor

May 2015. New BIG97 makes traditional carburetion available to a new performance audience.

Stromberg Carburetor is excited to announce the all-new BIG97 Tri-Power. On the outside, it’s all Genuine 97 – the original hot rod 3×2. But on the inside, an incredible 750cfm air flow makes traditional hot rod carburetion available to a whole new performance audience. Designed on the classic Primary/Secondary format with many new and exclusive features, the all-new BIG97 Tri-Power is the perfect bolt-on for your performance small block Chevy or Ford.

  • BIG 750cfm airflow – 55% more air than regular 97s
  • Signature 97 outside shape – No change!
  • New power valve circuits improve fuel conditioning
  • New ‘early plenum effect’ boosts top end power
  • Ported distributor vacuum adds mid range torque
  • Progressive linkages and classic 3-into-1 fuel line available
  • Runs out of the box. Pre-jetted for typical SBC/SBF

Stromberg owner, Clive Prew said: “With 750cfm in a three-carb package on a progressive linkage, you can cruise economically on the single Primary, then punch in the Secondaries when you step on the gas. BIG97s reduce the level of vacuum the engine has to pull to get the air it needs, which promotes higher air/fuel density. They also reduce mixture velocity which allows that denser, fuel-heavy air an easier, less turbulent, turn into the inlet manifold. Coupled with improved fuel conditioning, it all adds up to more power for your rear wheels.”

From the outset, Stromberg’s aim was to re-engineer the 97 venturi and throttle body to maximize airflow without changing the signature outside shape. But achieving as much as 250cfm per carburetor – some 55% more than a regular new 97 (at 162cfm) is only part of the story.

The BIG97 Primary carburetor has a new power valve, located in the fuel bowl. Feeding top end enrichment directly into the emulsion tubes, it significantly improves fuel conditioning for more horsepower on less fuel. How? Because the more it emulsifies the fuel, especially at high rpm when manifold pressure is low, the easier it is to atomize, distribute and burn. At the same time, an oval cut-out, just under the throttle plates ( Stromberg’s ‘early plenum effect’ ) coupled with our recommended intake manifold modifications, boosts top end power by slowing the mixture down and allowing any cylinder to draw from both barrels.

BIG97 Primaries also come with a swap-in fitting to provide ported vacuum for your aftermarket distributor, improving combustion efficiency in cruising mode for more torque and improvements in fuel mileage too.

Finally, everything that’s made the Genuine Stromberg 97 so popular over the past ten years is built into the all-new BIG97: An early style cast iron base for low heat transfer. A reinforced air horn casting to eliminate warping and leaks. High tech gaskets. Stainless steel levers, linkage and springs. Original-style riveted throttle and choke shafts. And more.

Stromberg BIG97 Primary and Secondary carburetors are available separately or as a ready-to-run Tri-Power (one Primary and two Secondaries), with extra savings available on packages with Stromberg’s exclusive Small Block Chevy linkage and fuel line.

Further reading on all of the new BIG97 features and benefits is available on the Stromberg Tech Center at

The new Genuine Stromberg BIG97 Tri-Power is available through the worldwide Stromberg dealer network. Further details and help with installation is available at


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