Jim Smart
September 1, 2004

Doing It FE - The Old Gun SlingerWhen we think about the 427/428ci Windsor small-blocks, it is easy to define them as cocky, young upstarts ready to take on the old man. What the old man has on his side is wisdom and size. In the world of Ford, the old man couldn't be anything less than a big-cube FE-series big-block-the mill that won LeMans and kicked Ferrar's ass 40 years ago. It also spanked more than its share of GM and Chrysler musclecars in NHRA competition.

So why an FE instead of a Windsor? The answer is simple-we like the massive demeanor of a vintage Ford big-block. It's like an elephant in the living room; you just can't ignore this beast. Aside from size, there is no ignoring the amount of momentum that exists across five main journals in the Y-block design.

That's a lot of crankshaft married to larger connecting rods. It is going to make a lot of torque.

We're about to show you why there really is a difference between small-blocks and big-blocks with identical displacements. You have to think of the big-inch small-block as the lean, but powerful tough guy down the block. By the same token, you have to think of the FE big-block as rotund as a Greyhound bus, but every bit the old football player who can still hold his own against the bad guys.

CHP has topped the FE with an Edelbrock Performer induction system, cylinder heads, and an 800-cfm carburetor. These are good, healthy street heads with 2.09/1.66-inch valves and 72cc chambers. With some good port work, they work well. CHP does nice CNC-porting on these heads.

The FE big-block has the weight and moment advantage here. Translated-more torque from a huge crankshaft. Lots of kinetic energy going on here.

428 FE
What Did It Do?
Bore: 4.113 inch
Stroke: 3.980 inch
  • Custom Cast Steel Crankshaft
  • Probe Forged Custom Pistons
  • H-Beam Forged Steel Connecting Rods
  • Edelbrock Performer Flat Tappet
  • Hydraulic High-Performance Camshaft
  • High-Volume Oil Pump
  • Dual-Roller Timing Chain
  • Edelbrock Performer RPM Induction & Cylinder Heads
  • Edelbrock 800-cfm Carburetor
  • MSD Ignition System
  • It Really Is All About Size Small-block versus big-block. Which is better? It depends on how you measure "better." The small-block has the advantage of less weight. But the big-block has the momentum and leverage advantage in a larger crank with larger counterweights and longer connecting rods. Each engine makes power in its own way. The small-block tends to make more horsepower. The big-block tends to make more torque. This doesn't always mean this will be the result on the dyno.

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