We take it for granted today, but the Total Power Package that Edelbrock pioneered in the 1980s revolutionized the engine-building world. For it, the company matches cylinder heads, camshafts, manifolds, and carburetors to work as a system rather than a collection of random parts. The program took the secret out of speed, and as a result of it, anybody that could turn a wrench could go fast with an engine they built themselves.

Of course this wasn't without consequence. When big power was hard to make, we settled with just going fast regardless of how the engine acted. But with the horsepower dragon slain, we grew jaded. Soon we bench raced about fuel economy, part-throttle response, and the ability to casually drive an engine on a frosty day. Our daily drivers told us that fuel injection made it all possible, but taking that path put us right back into the clutches of the cagey speed merchant and his bag of tricks.

But not for long.

What Edelbrock did was extend the Total Power Package program to something generally deemed too evasive to pin down: fuel injection. The company's latest Pro-Flo system not only promises to make great power, it can make it without the bother of a laptop, a dyno, or extensive tuning experience. Most of all, the company did it without dumbing down its injection system. Sound too good to be true? Initially we thought so too.

It's not, though. Edelbrock recently collaborated with another Torrance company called EFI Technology. It produces engine control and data acquisition systems for, among others, CART, Atlantic, and Grand American series racing teams. The ECM that they developed is infinitely more user friendly. For example, the only person who could calibrate a first-series Edelbrock Pro-Flo was Edelbrock itself. Change anything on the engine-manifold, camshaft, heads, and so on-only to send the ECM back to Torrance for recalibration. Not so with the new system. By way of more advanced software, anyone can alter the fuel and spark map to suit an engine to a tee.

Initial setup requires connecting the ECM to a computer, but any will do whether laptop or desktop. Beyond that, further tuning doesn't happen on a computer at all; Edelbrock supplies these XT systems with a plug-in tuning module that has access to the fuel and spark maps for on-the-fly tuning.

Not that it's even necessary, mind you. What Edelbrock did was create a unique fuel/spark map that matches every engine combination in the Total Power Package system. Should an engine have every component from a particular package, the system works literally right out of the box. Beyond that, its OEM-derived pressure and temperature sensors compensate for altitude and temperature. Furthermore, by way of a supplied oxygen sensor that you plumb into your existing exhaust downpipe, the system operates as a closed-loop mode just as your daily driver does, constantly evaluating the system's performance and compensating for unforeseen variables. Should an unaccounted-for variable cause a rich or lean condition anywhere on the map, it can be addressed on the fly within the car by that tuning module

Edelbrock tailored the XT's fuel/spark maps for engines in its Total Power Package, but the system will work on just about any configuration engine. In fact, the company offers the ECM and controls separately so users can upgrade their existing Pro-Flo systems or adapt them to engines outside Edelbrock's injected manifold series. Edelbrock's Scott Armish noted that the supplied fuel/spark maps will get engines not built to Edelbrock's specs up and running but it's up to end users to fine-tune the system.