Over the past year or so, I slowly assembled a big block Chevy for my personal project car, a 1970 Chevy Nova. The build was deliberate. I even used a mock-up engine to work out many of the details.

From the outside, everything seemed to measure up perfectly, although the manifold height seemed like it could present itself as an issue. I blindly thought I could get by with trimming the hood’s inner reinforcement panel. But once the engine was installed in the car, I found it wasn’t just an issue:

There was no way the stock flat hood would fit—trimmed or not.

While at first glance this looks ok, there’s definitely an issue here. The hood won’t close because the manifold I picked was too tall. (Image/Wayne Scraba)

The only practical options were: Replace the hood (which really wasn’t an option), heavily modify the intake, or remove and replace the manifold with a shorter example.

For me at least, that hood was an essential part of the car’s look—no extra flash, dog dish hubcaps, and a flat hood. Just a very Plain-Jane car.

There were several options available (running the car without a decent air cleaner wasn’t one of them), but ultimately, swapping the Weiand Track Warrior intake to a shorter example such as this Holley Strip Dominator is the least complicated. (Image/Wayne Scraba)

That left the option of machining the top off the intake. Fair enough, but the amount of material I would have needed to remove proved significant (see the photos). A lot of welding and machining is required. Well over an inch needs to be removed from the manifold plenum.

The last option was to use another intake. An intake swap sounds easy, but once you do some research it’s not—here’s why:

As pointed out in the story, all is not well when swapping out intakes. (Image/Wayne Scraba)

Stock production line big block Chevys have an extra intake bolt over each pair of intake ports (two pairs of intakes per bank and two extra bolts per bank). A large number of aftermarket heads do not incorporate those extra intake manifold bolts. Almost all high performance (tall) intakes do not have those bolt provisions either. But on the other hand, the vast majority of lower profile intakes are equipped with those extra bolt holes.

On this Holley Strip Dominator, you can see there’s an extra bolt hole over each pair of intake ports. Production line Chevy big blocks have this pair of bolt holes on each bank. (Image/Wayne Scraba)

So…why can’t you use an intake with the extra bolts on aftermarket heads?

If an intake gasket for the heads without the extra holes is laid on the intake, you’ll quickly discover you can see daylight in the area where the bolt holes exist (check out the pic below). You’ll certainly encounter a huge vacuum leak—actually, four of them.

Most aftermarket heads do not have the extra bolt holes. Here’s an intake gasket for my Brodix BB-3 cylinder heads laid over the Holley Strip Dominator intake face. Using it this way will result in a massive vacuum leak times four. Almost all lower profile aftermarket intakes manifolds are built with this extra bolt hole. (Image/Wayne Scraba)

It is possible to fix the “daylight” issues on these intake manifolds. The four extra bolt holes over the intake ports can be plugged by way of welding. Then the manifold face on each bank will require machining. Depending upon the skill of the welder, you might also have to machine the top face of the old bolt hole too. In the end, a pricey proposition.

The solution is a Brodix part number HV2016 on the right here. Note the difference in manifold heights between the Weiand Track Warrior versus HV2016. (Image/Wayne Scraba)

Now what?

Well, it all comes down to a visit to SummitRacing.com. One intake manifold turns outs to be a really good option, and that is a Brodix HV2016. This is a low profile, dual plane intake manifold, designed for use on rectangular port cylinder heads. Total height from the China wall up works out to 5.175 inches. The basic operating range is very broad at 3,500-6,800 rpm. It’s not a well-known intake, but even respected engine builder Scott Shafiroff uses them for specific applications.

When you examine the intake face on the Brodix manifold, you can see the bolt hole is gone. The ports are also arranged so that the intake can work on heads with or without the additional bolt holes. (Image/Wayne Scraba)

Does it fit? Yes! As far as the most important issue is concerned (overall height), the intake proves significantly lower than the Weiand Track Warrior it replaced. Yes, my 565 will certainly lose some power, but the good news is, the hood fits with ease.

Here’s the same gasket (for a Brodix BB3 Xtra head) shown earlier, laid up against the HV2016 intake. There’s sufficient material to port match to the gasket if you desire. (Image/Wayne Scraba)

The accessories used on the Track Warrior fit and the only real issue I encountered is that the distributor vacuum advance canister hose now lightly contacts the rear runners. This wee dilemma is easily solved by re-phasing the distributor (location) and moving the plug wires to match the new location.

I swapped all of the parts from the Weiand to the Brodix intake. It all fits cleanly. And if you’re wondering, that gold fitting is actually an Enderle mechanical fuel injection bypass valve. I use a bypass system instead of regulator in conjunction with a high pressure mechanical fuel pump. (Image/Wayne Scraba)

Problem solved! For a closer look at the short and sweet intake solution, check out the photos.

Before installing new gaskets, the short intake was installed as a mock up, checking the fit. So far so good. (Image/Wayne Scraba)
This is a fender side view. There’s no sign of the air cleaner—or the carburetor stud and wing nut for that matter. (Image/Wayne Scraba)
Ditto with a view from the front. Bottom line? If you have a hood clearance issue with a big block Chevy, the Brodix HV2016 intake manifold is worth a look. (Image/Wayne Scraba)

Author: Wayne Scraba

Wayne Scraba is a diehard car guy and regular contributor to OnAllCylinders. He’s owned his own speed shop, built race cars, street rods, and custom motorcycles, and restored muscle cars. He’s authored five how-to books and written over 4,500 tech articles that have appeared in sixty different high performance automotive, motorcycle and aviation magazines worldwide.