A pair of Air Flow Research 185cc aluminum heads were torqued atop fresh Cometic head gaskets and secured using ARP fasteners. A Lunati bumpstick sporting valve duration of 224 degrees on the intake and 232 for the exhaust (both at 0.050-inch lift) was slipped into place. Crane 1.6-ratio roller rockers were selected to lift the intake valves 0.535 inch and the exhaust valves 0.544 inch before landing them carefully on their seats.
To match the rotating assembly, a zero-balanced Centerforce aluminum flywheel was fastened to the tail of the crank and mated to a Centerforce Dual-Friction clutch. Before nesting the new engine between the strut towers, a Canton windage tray and road-race-spec oil pan were bolted to the bottom of the block.
Skin ShredderSteve knew that such an engine must be fed properly, so his 347 sucks through a K&N filter, a 76mm C&L mass airflow meter, and a Ford Racing 65mm throttle body. The air is distributed to each cylinder by the engine compartment's centerpiece-a BBK SSI intake manifold-while 93-octane fuel is transfer-red from the tank by a Walbro 255-lph pump to BBK fuel rails and 30-lb/hr injectors. An MSD 6AL box sends spark through LiveWires 9mm ignition cables to each cylinder. Com-bustion is exhausted through BBK long-tube headers, a matching H-pipe with cats, and three-chamber Flowmasters. In anticipation of future suspension components from Maximum Motorsports, Steve jettisoned the tailpipes in favor of turndowns.
The factory five-speed gearbox was retained to feed power to a Ford Racing aluminum driveshaft, which twists a 3.55 gearset inside the factory-installed 8.8-inch rear axle. Steve shoes the front '03 Cobra wheels with Kumho Ecsta P255/40ZR17 tires. The rears wear 275mm-wide soles, and as you might imagine, are replaced regularly.
After everything was buttoned up, Steve drove to Dynospeed in Memphis to have an SCT chip custom-tuned to ensure the engine purrs smoothly from idle to redline. The folks at Dynospeed found that during tuning, the engine was a little hungrier than Steve thought, since it had a tendency to run lean at wide-open throttle. So they postponed any full-throttle dyno runs until after the fuel system was upgraded. However, Steve estimates the engine makes 400 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque when properly fed. We don't doubt it. The brutal exhaust thumping beneath the floorpan recalls the opening drum beat of Van Halen's "Panama"-with the amps cranked to 11. The engine lights the rear tires with the slightest tickle of the throttle, at any speed. You'll find Steve Longacre's recent artwork displayed in front of his house. It's appropriately titled "Burned Rubber on Pavement."