Mark Houlahan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
March 17, 2014

Ed Pearce is a Ford man. He's 71 years young and from Denton, Texas, and it was a '55 Country Sedan wagon that his father gave him after college that started him down the Blue Oval path. Ed's Ford history goes back to his Vietnam days where he flew F-4 combat missions and later made the Air Force his career until retirement in 1985. Back then, it was a '66 Fairlane GT that he snuck a 427 into. Later, he joined Lockheed Martin and bought a '85 Mustang GT, which he still has to this day.

"As much as I like Fords, I like Ford engines more," Ed tells us of his desire to build a killer small-block with no power adders for the street. He found a supposedly rust-free '66 fastback on eBay that was expertly restored to showroom stock looks by RDW Automotive of Reno, Nevada. It has TCP subframe extensions and bracing, TCP coil overs, and manual rack-and-pinion steering with Wilwood front discs. The rear springs are mid-eye Grab-a-Track leaf springs with the Shelby under ride traction bars to maintain an authentic look.

Ed became interested in dynamic compression ratio engines due mainly to his math and engineering background. Ed bought a version of DynoSim many years ago to use its established mathematical models that fairly accurately simulate normal engine operation. Ed's experience is that if you accurately and realistically describe the engine to DynoSim, it provides very accurate results (based on the actual dyno runs of his engine).

Ed chose to use a 302 block as the basis for his engine build so that when you looked under the hood, it would look correct for the car. Ed wrote about four simple basic programs to do the dynamic compression mathematics quickly and accurately, and also to help calculate camshaft specifications—which is really what dynamic compression is all about. There were several goals Ed set forth that engine had to meet.

  1. Fit under the stock Shelby hood
  2. Produce a minimum of 600 horsepower on the engine dyno
  3. Had to be a streetable engine
  4. Run on pump gas
  5. One four-barrel carburetor
  6. No power adders

Ed designed just such an engine and handed the building of it off to Mark Biddle of Panhandle Performance in Lynn Haven, Florida. In short, it is a 363ci stroker that meets all of Ed's criteria and produced 629 HP (at 7,250 rpm). That is 1.732 hp/ci.

Quick Specs

363ci V-8 built by Panhandle Performance
Dart 302 SHP block
4.125-inch bore
3.4-inch stroke
Eagle 4340 steel crank, pendulum cut
Scat forged steel H-beam rods
Mahle forged aluminum pistons
AFR 205 aluminum cylinder heads
2.08-inch/1.60-inch valves
TD shaft rocker arms, 1.65:1 ratio
Custom camshaft by Bullet Cams
275/286 duration at 0.020
0.665-inch lift intake and exhaust
Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake manifold ported by Wilson Manifolds
Pro Systems 1,000hp carb for dyno
Holley Street Avenger 770-cfm for street use
11.22 static compression; 8.25 dynamic compression
629 hp/529 lb-ft of torque
Custom built ceramic coated, stainless long tube headers by R.E.F Unlimited
2¼-inch primaries, 3-inch collectors
Flowmaster mufflers
G-Force T-5 manual transmission
Centerforce dual friction clutch
Ford 9-inch with 3.25 gears
Total Control Products front coilovers
Grab-a-Track mid-eye leaf springs with Shelby under ride traction bars
10¾-inch Wilwood disc/stock drums
Magnum 500, 15x7 front, 15x8 rear
B.F Goodrich tires
Stock G.T. 350H Shelby standard black interior
Raven black with Shelby gold stripes
R-model front apron
Shelby style fiberglass hood
Paint by Spraycraft of Reno, NV


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