Imagining fake products with extreme applications seems to be the trick du jour for aftermarket developers engaging in April Fool’s Day stunts. And Holley Performance Products took the game to the next level for 2022, as it 3D-printed the ridiculous 30-inch-tall (76 cm) Sky-Ram intake manifold it had rendered and even dyno-tested it. What we didn’t know, though, was that Holley joined forces with actress/car lover Emelia Hartford to put the cartoonish product to the test on a real car.
It all happened late last month at the 2022 LS Fest West. That’s where Emelia and her crew, who adore crazy projects (e.g., this S/C Big Block-swapped S550 Mustang) fitted the Sky-Ram to her 1995 Nissan 240SX (dubbed Silvia S14 in Japan) drift car, which is rocking a 5.7L aluminum-block LS1 with tons of custom work, which is also true for the rest of the impressive machine.
The Sky-Ram, which took 15 days to 3D-print, was done in two vertical sections, which were joined via a 1-inch steel section in the middle to make sure the structure can whitstand the stress of real-world testing—you’ll see Holley explaining this in the dyno video below.
Basic engine hardware mods since the 1960s
As the specialist aptly explains in the clip, this is the sort of experiment that made headlines back in 1960s, when the industry was going through its big-power era. And, as showcased back then, longer intake runners will result in low-end torque benefits, while shorter intake ports lead to more high-end torque.
The dyno session compares the Sky-Ram to the Hi-Ram, a 6.25-inch tunnel ram part it actually offers for multiple engine families. And, to put it shortly, the prank hardware crushed the production piece below 5,000 rpm while exhausting its resources past that limit.
So, while this sort of intake could be suitable for low-revving applications like trucks or boats, fitting it to a drift car is more in line with what the Internet wants to see.
After a quick mock-up installation with the 45 lbs (20 kg), nitrous plate sandwich Holley also prepared for April Fool’s Day, the latter was removed (its weight could damage the intake as the car moves) and replaced with a top hat including a 105mm throttle body.
One elongated throttle cable and no IAC (Idle Air Control Solenoid Valve, the one that lets a bit of air into the engine to prevent stalling when the throttle plate is closed by taking the foot off the gas) later, the Nissan was ready for its first experimental start-up.
A short drive, but a huge fire
And, following a bit of static action, Emelia went for a brief drive, during which she cautiosly revved the V8. However, as she describes in the first clip below, she felt something wasn’t right, which determined her to bring the car back in her booth and park it neatly under the tend.
Alas, just as she stopped the engine, massive flames errupted and with no hood, these could’ve easily spread to the said tent.
With Emelia rushing to get out of the car and plenty of aficionados filming the burning 240SX from up close, a few guys managed to put the fire out using the good old T-shirt action and, thankfully, some fire extinguishers—in the comments section the vlogger states that her crew had prepared extinguishers but these weren’t in their designated locations at the time of the incident.
The Sky-Ram intake itself isn’t the one to blame
Luckily, nobody got hurt and, as it turns out, the Sky-Ram intake wasn’t faulty. Instead, the crossover fuel line on the back of the intake had a line that simply popped off. That sprayed gas all over the engine bay and when the fuel hit the hot exhaust headers, it all went up in flames—it all makes you wonder if a closer tech inspection before the drive could’ve prevented the issue.
Hopefully, Emelia’s 240SX drift car wasn’t too badly affected past the part where the team had to clean up the extinguisher bits and can resume its tire-shredding activities soon.