Best era ford big blocks


I am planning on building a big block ford, as big as I can make it. Of course, right now, I don’t have enough funds to do as much work as I plan on, but this would be a long term project. My question is what is the stoutest big block ford that was made? I know that the 385 series 460 429 were stout blocks (from 68-69) but I am trying to figure out what year that they started detuning them and taking out the webwork between the main berings and the cam. I want to have a block that will handle 1200+ hp if I ever get enough money to build it that big. I am looking for a solid base to start from that has potential.

Please don’t comment if all you have to say is ‘go chev/mopar’.

You should go to the Hot Rod magazine web site and search their past articles. I bet they’ve built several hot bb Fords.

Well you could go whole-hog and pony up for 521 crate engine, that would set you back about 10 grand or so. Or if you really want to go nuts Yates sells a variety of the new FR9 engines from 650HP to well over 1000 HP as well. Speed costs money, how fast do you want to go?

As fast as I can.

Really what I am looking for is a project to build, not just plop an engine in something. I know I can get any old block I want, I just need to know which one’s to keep my eyes out for.

The only Ford big block that will RELIABLY produce big horsepower was the 427 side-oiler. The absolute high-water mark for Ford power was the overhead cam version of that engine found in a handful of 1969 Mustangs labeled “Boss 427” Ford then installed these engines in Torino Talladegas and raced them on the NASCAR tracks. But they never sold any Torinos to the public with that engine. Only enough Mustangs (500) so they could legally use the engine in the Torino.

Today, ANYTHING marked 427 Ford is priceless, worth too much money to risk blowing it up racing them today…

Trying to get the long stroke 429-460 block to deliver 600hp reliably is going to cost you a LOT of money…

A little hint from someone who has been there…The secret to high horsepower is high RPM. It’s RPM that delivers big horsepower numbers. If you want really high RPM you need a very short stroke engine…2.25", 2.50" …Now 10,000 rpm becomes possible and some astounding horsepower numbers can be generated…All of the “legendary” performance engines had very short strokes…

So what are you going to put this Monster Motor in??

I’ll second the side-oiler 427 sentiment. But you’ll never find one. And if you do it’ll cost more than your house. I think the 427 went out of production something like '65 or so. As I recall, (please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong) the Boss cars carried 302’s or 429’s. Later on there were some 351 Cleveland motors that went into them.

Again, I could be wrong, since we’re talking about something that happened some 40 years ago, and I was never a big Ford fan anyway…

For this reason, many people prefer to build smallblocks. Parts are cheaper, they rev better, they’re lighter, and you can make just as much, if not more, power with a smallblock than with a big block. If you were building a big 4x4 and wanted tons of torque, a big block would be the way to go, but I assume you intend to drag race whatever you are building, based on your statement that you want to make huge horsepower.

I know this is blatantly unrelated, but for what it’s worth, I know a Chevy guy in my town who builds huge 4x4s and he loves the 427 tall blocks. They have a very long stroke and make phenomenal amounts of torque, but you can’t rev them past about 4,000rpm or claim groundbreaking horsepower numbers. For his application, he loves those big blocks. He certainly couldn’t race with them, but he could probably tow a building across town with it. It’s all in what you want to do with it. What DO you want to do with it???

If you wanted to go high tech why not build a DOHC 4.6 out of a Lincoln Mark VIII, which is essentially a Cobra engine.
These motors can often be found pretty cheaply (running and with the entire car attached), are bulletproof, have all aluminum construction, and the stock blocks will take a 1000+ HP.

I think there are even carburetor modifications for these engines which will eliminate a lot of the electronics and gee-whiz stuff on them.

In a lot of things, for a lot of things (street/strip use only, no offroad). Starting with a 1967-79 era pickup and moving into full sized ford cars. Remember, this engine would only be putting out 400 hp for a long time, I don’t have the cash to foot a 1000 hp bill yet. I just want to know what engines CAN TAKE over 1000.

So if I went small block, what is the best? 351w was good in 68-69 right? what else?

what years? and it is in a mark 8 (VIII)?

The Mark VIII was produced from '93 through '98. You can find these cars for sale on the cheap many times because of paint fade or air ride issues, etc. with the owners not wanting to spend money to repair the appearance or ride problems.
I’ve seen a number of them for sale, running and/or driveable, for far less than a 1000 dollars and even less than 500 dollars.

One in Wichita recently was offered for sale recently for only 400 dollars; and it ran and drove. Another guy bought one (running) for 350 dollars.

Keep in mind the DOHC 4.6L in the Mark VIII did not have the same forged internals as the Teksid block 4.6L’s used in the 1996-1999 Cobras. The Teksid block is considered to be quite a bit stronger than the one used in the the 2001 Cobra, Mach 1s, Aviators and Mark VIIIs. The 03-04 Cobra (supercharged 4.6L) has a iron 4.6L block with forged internals that are good for over 900+ HP

FoDaddy is on the money…The modern Mustang GT’s and Cobras have FAR more potential than the old 429-460 stuff. The bullet-proof 4.6L OHC engines can be found in '92 to now Crown Vics, Grand Marqs, Town Cars. The 5.4L version of this engine can be found in P/U trucks but it’s built for torque (long stroke) not high horsepower. The Mustangs and cobras got the 3 and maybe 4 valve heads…

For the old stuff, the 390, 406, 427 big block could contain 500hp. The 427 “oiler” carefully built from selected parts could approach 1000 hp…Today, only the 390 are available at prices humans can afford. They can provide 400 hp when carefully built, maybe 500 when SERIOUS money is provided…

Of the small blocks, the 289 high-performance and the Boss 302 got the forged cranks and hand selected blocks and solid-lifter cams and duel-point ignition…The good stuff was made from 1964 till 1970.

If you INSIST on messing with a 460, the ones used in motor-homes probably had the beefiest components.

You need to know that Chevy and Chrysler OWNED the Hot-Rod business back then with massive factory support for “the little guy”. Ford on the other hand kept the best stuff for themselves, using factory sponsored teams like Hollman & Moody Ford and Gas Ronda to field spectacularly fast cars but little of this equipment trickled down to the little guy. Anyone could order a 427 4-speed Chevy Impala and pay maybe $600 extra for it. If you wanted a 427 Galaxy you had to “know somebody” inside Ford and then pay 3 or 4 grand extra (doubling the price of the car) and then wait for months before the car was delivered…

Chrysler was churning out 383 4-speed Road-Runners that sold NEW for under $2500!! You want a Hemi?? No problem!

All DOHC 4.6 engines used in 93-98 Mark VIIIs and 96-98 Cobras used the Teksid block as far as I know. At least that’s what my technical info says.

Not only will that aluminum block shed a ton of dead weight, when some of the clutter is removed or relocated, when the engine painted up just right it looks very impressive and much bigger than what it is.
Kind of the direct opposite of the big block Cadillac engines (472/500) which look like a small block Chevy.

With the broad valve covers and centrally located spark plugs the DOHC resembles a Hemi.
For a little more info on the 4.6 get a back issue of Car Craft (April 2010) or a book about 4.6 builds by Sean Hyland.

Speaking of Roadrunners, back in 1970 I bought my low miles '68 with the 383 Magnum for 1700 dollars and was looking at a low miles 426 Hemi with Dual Fours and long tube headers they had sitting on an engine stand at the local Chrysler salvage at the time. I thought they were thieves for asking 425 bucks for it. Lord, now one carb brings a lot more than that.

The blocks may have been Teksid the Mark VIII’s. But I’m virtually certain the internals are hypereutectic rather than forged.

Don’t listen to people tell you that you can make more power with a small block.More inches means more possible power. You may be able to make 400 hp cheaper with a small block chevy than with anything else, but that wasn’t your question. See the June 2010 issue of Hot Rod for an excellent article on a 429/460 engine build.