Charles Morris
December 3, 2004

Over a production life lasting from 1958 until the mid '70s, Ford's FEengine family experienced many changes and improvements. Changes tocylinder head and manifold offerings were even more varied than thebore-and-stroke combinations (which ran the gamut from 332 to 428 cubicinches). Low-risers, Medium-risers, High-risers, Tunnel Ports, and CobraJets just begin to cover the more popular performance castings.

The uninitiated mind boggles when it comes to FE heads and manifolds.One aspect shared by all high-performance FE cylinder heads isincreasing rarity and value. When discussing 21st-century FE engineperformance, one must be aware that, no matter how efficient theoriginal factory castings might have been, you're still working withtechnology that's over 30 years old. Combine rarity, price, oldtechnology, and throw in an inherent exhaust-port deficiency, and itbecomes abundantly clear that some assistance is needed to remaincompetitive in today's performance arena.

Help is available. The folks at Edelbrock have introduced theirPerformer-series aluminum cylinder heads for FE-series Ford engines. TheEdelbrock castings are part numbers 6005 (bare) and 6006 (complete), andare based on the famous 428 Cobra Jet head. These heads feature2.09-inch intake and 1.66-inch exhaust valves with a 72cc combustionchamber. There are also PNs 6007 (bare) and 6008 (complete), which areheads patterned after the race-proven 427 Medium-riser design withoptions for 2.19-inch intake and 1.73-inch exhaust valves.

Out of the box, Edelbrock's Performer aluminum cylinder heads are"designed for street high-performance use." In keeping with the truespirit of hot rodding, we set out to see how the Edelbrock head could beimproved for racing.

Starting with a pair of PN 6007 bare castings, let's compare thePerformer with OEM Ford castings. First and most obvious is the weightand heat dissipation advantage offered by Edelbrock's CNC-machined aluminum castings. Closer examination reveals that the oil-return holeshave been relocated and the oil-feed boss for the rocker arms no longerextends into the intake port. The oil-feed hole from the head to therocker assemblies is also smaller than OEM diameter, eliminating theneed to restrict oil flow to the top of the engine in an effort to keepit down in the main bearings where it is needed most. A nice, thick decksurface and plenty of room to work around the ports indicated to us thatthe Performer heads are crying out to be "worked."

To do the work, we enlisted the services of Rich Maitre at Ram Racing inOxford, Pennsylvania. A traditionally schooled head porter, Rich studiedunder none other than Mr. Bow Tie himself, Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins.

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