There's great news for builders, drivers, and racers of 426-style Hemi engines. Stage V Engineering has just introduced the Rat Buster single-plane aluminum intake manifold. Unlike many of the latest aftermarket offerings for the 426-style elephant, the Rat Buster is a dual four-barrel design. We don't know about you, but single four-barrel carburetor manifolds, even those boasting a big Holley Dominator, look lost between the broad-shouldered Hemi's rocker covers, not so with the Rat Buster.

But the classic dual-quad look of the Street Hemi is only part of the Rat Buster story. Because its designers added 2 inches to the distance between the carburetors, the Rat Buster finally allows Hemi owners to explore and enjoy the performance of Holley carburetors without resorting to a cross-ram or tunnel-ram configuration. That's right, you can finally put Holleys on your Hemi, and it all fits underhood.

Best of all, with prices of original '66-'71 Chrysler Street Hemi intake manifolds approaching the stratosphere, the Rat Buster sells for $495. Pretty low bucks, considering it's a modern street/strip design, and it opens a whole new world of carburetion possibilities, while maintaining the classic dual-quad vibe we've come to associate with the mighty 426 and its even larger, stroker-equipped offspring.

To see what the new Rat Buster has to offer, we stuck one on a 520ci Stage V Hemi conversion motor, added a set of short-bowl-equipped Holley 750 vacuum secondary carburetors, and picked up 22 hp over a Vanke-modified '67 Street Hemi intake manifold and dual 750 AFB-style carburetors on the chassis dyno. Comparison testing on an eighth-mile dragstrip of the same motor in a 3,400 pound Dart saw the Rat Buster and Holleys increase trap speed by better than 4 mph and reduce the e.t. by nearly two-tenths of a second. Remember, that's on an eighth-mile track. On a full quarter, these improvements would nearly double. All the while, the Dart's docile street manners and 11-mpg fuel economy remained on par with the Street Hemi/AFB baseline induction combo. These are good times for Hemi fanatics, and the new Stage V Rat Buster makes them even better.