DIY Supercharger Conversion with Intercooler for 948, 1098, 1275 A-series MG Midget, Austin Healey Sprite, and Morris Minor.

 

The venerable A-series engine is the beating heart of some of Britain's most beloved automobiles, but achieving a meaningful increase in horsepower requires dismantling the engine and spending serious money.  Also, using conventional means to modify a naturally-aspirated A-series to achieve 100 h.p. or more negatively impacts the engine’s street manners and fuel economy. 

A viable alternative is forced induction, via a turbocharger or supercharger.  Each method has its benefits and drawbacks.

turbocharging

Turbochargers have been successfully fitted to the A-series engine, but no kits, fabrication templates, or detailed instructions are available. Also, turbochargers require custom exhaust work and exhibit a slight lag in generating boost.

However, if you prefer a turbo, you no longer need to find a costly MG Metro manifold and clumsy cast snorkel adapter, which requires hacking a hole in your Spridget's bonnet to create sufficient clearance.

Creative Spridgets now offers a CNC-machined snorkel adapter and performance air cleaner mount for the SU HIF44 carburetor, available here and pictured below.  The profile of the ram pipe is optimized to accelerate the intake charge as it enters the carburetor’s throat, and works very well with naturally aspirated cars as either a direct- or remote-mount for a K&N-style performance air filter.

The SU HIF44 mounts directly to a Minispares C-AHT770 cast aluminum manifold, which costs just $67 including shipping from the United Kingdom.

You can convert a standard HIF44 for pressurized operation as described here.

*NOTE: you may need a low-profile cap to create sufficient clearance, SU no. CUD 2901.

supercharging

Superchargers provide instantaneous boost and require no custom exhaust work. But until now, only two systems would fit under the Spridget's sloping bonnet: the Moss Motors 'roots style' kit, which costs $4,400, and the High Performance Products twin-screw offering, which begins at $6,000. Mama mia!

In addition to their excessive cost, neither system can be fitted with an intercooler.  As a result, the amount of boost these systems can handle without harmful detonation and back-firing is quite limited, unless you disassemble the engine and install low-compression pistons or resort to band-aid solutions like water or ethanol injection.

But now, there's another option: the Creative Spridgets DIY intercooled supercharger conversion for the 948, 1098 and 1275 A-series MG Midget, Austin Healey Sprite, and Morris Minor! 

True to our aim of providing the least expensive route to desirable performance upgrades, adding a supercharger and intercooler to your A-series powered vehicle can be done for under $3,000—a savings of at least $1,400.  If you already run a single SU HIF44 and are able to locate a serviceable used supercharger, your cost may be closer to $2,000—but that’s for an intercooled supercharger system.

benefits and OVERVIEW 

  • Installing a supercharger and intercooler on an otherwise stock 1275cc A-series engine will increase horsepower by 50% to approximately 100 h.p., without triggering harmful detonation or impacting your Spridget’s smooth idle and street manners.

  • Adding high-lift rocker arms, a long-center-branch header, free-flowing 1.75" exhaust system and smaller supercharger pulley will net even more power.

  • Standing-start acceleration is dramatically improved, as are passing and hill-climbing in top gear.

  • Our intercooled supercharger conversion is compatible with an SU HIF44 carburetor, or electronic fuel injection. Keep your eyes peeled for our hybrid GM/Hitachi DIY EFI conversion—presently in research & development—or source a throttle body and aftermarket ECU of your choice.

*Note: we have designed a bespoke GM-style temperature sensor mount, primarily to enable EFI for A-series engines. However, the mount is also necessary to supercharge cars fitted with an early, down-flow radiator or a VW Rabbit dual-pass crossflow radiator (the latter conversion will soon be posted on this website).

Our intercooled supercharger conversion utilizes Eaton's M45 (45 C.I.D.) blower, model no. 207018, which is OEM equipment on the 1999 to 2003 Mercedes Benz SLK230 Kompressor coupe and some 1999-2000 Mercedes Benz C230 models without an electronic clutch.

This supercharger has the same displacement as the unit fitted to the modern Mini Cooper S.  However, it has a simpler design, is more compact at 11" long, 6.5" wide and 5" high, and weighs only 16 lbs. (7.26 kg):

Eaton Model No. 207018

Eaton Model No. 207018

*NOTE: there are several different blowers mounted to smaller Mercedes engines, but they are NOT compatible with our manifold. Make sure that what you get matches these photos, does NOT have an electronic clutch, and is Eaton model number 201078. The longer number is the Mercedes designation.

drain plug.jpg

This model features inlet and outlet ports on the same side of the housing:

Eaton inlet side.jpg

This configuration allowed us to engineer a one-piece inlet/outlet manifold that uses the stock Mercedes gasket:

Creative Spridgets supercharger adapter(1).jpg

A single inlet/outlet manifold not only dramatically reduces production cost, a savings we pass on to you; it enables an intercooled conversion that fits beneath the Spridget's sloping bonnet.

While fitting an intercooler is optional, doing so provides a cooler, denser mixture and eliminates the need to retard the timing or dismantle the engine to install low-compression pistons. Potentially damaging back-firing, a significant concern with existing conversions that essentially bolt the supercharger to the head, is eliminated.

Our conversion uses an inexpensive, widely available intercooler from a turbocharged 1.8 liter Audi A4, which fits neatly behind the Spridget's original grill. The horns, and the heater control vane in some models, are relocated as described here:

Intercooler installation (10).jpg
Intercooler installation (11).jpg

The system is designed to generate approximately 5.5 psi. (.0026 Bars) of boost on a stock 1275cc A-series engine, running a 3.1" supercharger pulley at 6,000 ft. elevation (1.83 km).   We recommend using the modular supercharger pulley kit offered by Smoothflow Pulleys pictured below, as it allows you to easily swap pulleys to dial-in whatever level of boost you desire:

The same pulley combination may produce slightly greater boost at lower elevations, and of course internal engine modifications (and the condition of your engine) will yield varying results.  Please use our contact form and we will post the figures you achieve in a table on this page.

To get started, review the step-by-step online instructions, and visit our purchasing page to download free plans to fabricate the mild steel supercharger mounts, and to order an M45 supercharger manifold, SU HIF44 snorkel adapter, the thermostat housing adapter (if running a vertical flow radiator), and the 5-rib crankshaft and water pump pulleys required for the serpentine belt conversion.

You can then run your car as usual, naturally aspirated, while completing the balance of the conversion in stages to suit your budget and time constraints.