Dale Amy
January 22, 2014
Photos By: Courtesy Of Motor City Solutions

Horse Sense: Current street price for Edelbrock’s assembled E-CNC 185 head is around $1,100 apiece, or about $760 each for bare castings.


We showed up last July when they eventually got around to bolting on Edelbrock’s new aluminum breathing apparatus.


The idea started off simply enough. During some rare downtime over Michigan’s long, inhospitable winter, Bill Deister decided to upgrade the aging heads and intake on his Windsor-powered Fox quarter-mile weekend warrior—a four-eyed hatchback that also sees occasional street duty. But one thing inevitably led to another, and the project turned into a wider-ranging mechanical and cosmetic makeover of the tired Fox. Most of us have some idea how this type of one-thing-leads-to-another chain reaction can happen.

Luckily, Bill took plenty of photos as he and his crew at Detroit’s Motor City Solutions tore into the hatchback for the prep work. We showed up last July when they eventually got around to bolting on Edelbrock’s new aluminum breathing apparatus. Until now, his ’69-vintage 351W had worn its factory iron heads, though the intake manifold had somewhere along the line been upgraded to a low-rise Edelbrock Torker II. Bill’s Windsor has stock rods topped with Keith Black hypereutectic pistons, making around 11:1 compression in the factory chambers. In that form, essentially unchanged since 1997, the best e.t. it had was 12.41 at 109 mph.

Bill just knew those old-school factory head castings had to be corks—and heavy ones at that—especially in view of his Windsor’s 0.550-lift Blue Racer hydraulic flat-tappet cam. So he ordered a set of Edelbrock’s new E-CNC 185 head assemblies, along with a Victor Jr. intake to take advantage of the E-CNC’s free-flowing, machine-whittled intake and exhaust ports. The performance gains exceeded everyone’s expectations.

Rather than endlessly blab about it, here’s a photo show-and-tell of the hatchback’s rejuvenation, along with a dyno tale of the swap’s success, once again proving why cylinder heads are a must-have ingredient for anyone cooking up a hot pushrod small-block.


One thing inevitably led to another, and the project turned into a wider-ranging mechanical and cosmetic makeover of the tired Fox.


As should be obvious from the name, Edebrock’s E-CNC heads come machine ported—no rough, as-cast passages here. This shot shows both the tell-tale striations of the cutting tool’s pattern, and the E-CNC’s newly designed, unobstructed path from valve to port. The intake runners measure 185 cc, the exhausts, as shown here, are 75 cc. Edelbrock testing shows they flow 292 cfm (intake) and 209 cfm (exhaust) at 0.600 inches of lift.
The heart-shaped, 59cc chambers are also CNC’d and fitted with a generous 2.02/1.57 valve package.
Contrast the Edelbrock’s 21st-century swirl-inducing chambers to the flat wedge shape of the ’69-vintage iron castings they replace.


Bill just knew those old-school factory head castings had to be corks—and heavy ones at that—especially in view of his Windsor’s 0.550-lift Blue Racer hydraulic flat-tappet cam.


With an 18-degree valve angle, conical springs, and titanium retainers, the Edelbrock valvetrain is also of thoroughly modern design. Rocker studs measure 7⁄16-inch—something to bear in mind when ordering rockers. The E-CNC heads are available either assembled (PN 79259) or bare (PN 79249.)
Bill’s old low-rise Edelbrock Torker II manifold (with 1-inch spacer) had served him well, but there’s little doubt the high-rise Victor Jr. casting is a much more energetic partner as the tach winds up. It also provided an excuse for installing the hatchback’s new Motor City Solutions 4-inch-cowl, carbon-fiber hood (see sidebar).
Here’s Bill’s engine bay prior to starting the rejuvenation. It’s good enough for mid-12-second e.t.’s, but hardly suitable for an open-hood pose at any Detroit area cruise night. A T-5 transmission sat behind the Windsor and remains after the makeover.


It was in other words, a typical 30-something-year-old engine bay.


Part way through the freshening, the scores of factory holes and years of neglect are apparent on the firewall, inner fender structure and subframe rails. It was, in other words, a typical 30-something-year-old-engine bay.
Filled, smoothed and sprayed in body color by Bill’s skilled crew at Motor City Solutions, the engine compartment sheetmetal absorbed a few hours of labor, but we’d have to say it was worth the effort.
In a weight-saving mood, Bill also took the opportunity to swap out his skanky old factory K-member and suspension for a tubular setup from Team Z Motorsports, teaming it with a manual (Flaming River) steering rack, caster/camber plates and Strange coilover kit.
Bill had been using ARP head bolts previously, but he switched to their 200,000-psi, 7⁄16-inch studs for the new head installation.
Bill had opted for Edelbrock’s fully assembled version of the E-CNC heads, so it was simply a matter of selecting the proper pushrod lengths and setting the new castings in place …
… followed shortly thereafter by the Victor Jr. intake. Be forewarned—when you stick a Victor Jr.-equipped 351W in your Fox, you will need a cowl hood.
With a freshly detailed and painted engine bay, lowering the Windsor in place was a slow and careful process.
Bill retained his 700-cfm Holley carb and Hooker Super Comp headers on the Windsor after the head/intake swap, making for a legitimate apples-to-apples dyno comparison, before and after. Note that the Fox’s hinge holes were filled, necessitating the two black fastening strips to receive the new carbon-fiber hood’s quarter-turn (Dzus) fasteners.


Bill’s Windsor has stock rods topped with Keith Black hypereutectic pistons, making around 11:1 compression in the factory chambers.


On the Dyno

He was equally shocked at how much louder the faithful old Windsor bellowed while digesting all that newfound fuel/air mixture.

Modern heads always unlock power on a small-block, but Bill Deister was amazed at the seat-of-the-Levi’s improvement. “It felt like a different car,” he said about the first drive of his hatchback after treating it with Edelbrock’s respiratory prescription. And he was equally shocked at how much louder the faithful old Windsor bellowed while digesting all that newfound fuel/air mixture.

But knowing we needed the cold, hard facts of scientific quantification, Bill relied on Paul Svinicki’s trusty Dynojet at Paul’s High Performance in Jackson, Michigan, for pre- and post-operative testing results. Paul made some quick tuning adjustments for the new hardware and, as the following comparison shows, this simple head and intake swap proceeded to send an extra 86 peak ponies and 30 peak lb-ft to the wheels, and massively increased the areas under both the power and torque curves along the way.

In particular, on the stock setup you can see a massive dip in the power and torque curves right around 2,700 rpm. We’re not sure what caused this dip, but it completely disappeared after installation of the new heads/intake. No wonder Bill felt like he was piloting a different car. A 110 extra ponies at 6,000 rpm will do that.

Baseline
Edelbrock Combo
Difference
RPM Power Torque Power Torque Power Torque
2,300 89.8 204.9 115.9 264.5 26.1 59.6
2,400 106.2 232.3 131.0 286.7 24.9 54.4
2,500 121.1 254.4 140.1 294.3 19.0 39.9
2,600 135.1 272.8 149.5 301.9 14.4 29.1
2,700 128.5 250.0 158.6 308.5 30.1 58.5
2,800 133.0 249.3 167.6 314.3 34.6 65.0
2,900 165.3 299.3 176.6 319.9 11.4 20.6
3,000 173.2 303.2 185.7 325.2 12.6 22.0
3,100 181.8 308.0 194.6 329.8 12.9 21.8
3,200 189.3 310.7 203.5 333.9 14.2 23.3
3,300 194.7 309.8 211.3 336.4 16.7 26.6
3,400 202.1 312.1 218.8 338.1 16.8 25.9
3,500 210.0 315.1 225.1 337.8 15.1 22.7
3,600 216.9 316.4 232.7 339.5 15.8 23.1
3,700 223.4 317.1 240.0 340.7 16.7 23.6
3,800 231.2 319.5 248.4 343.3 17.2 23.8
3,900 237.5 319.8 256.0 344.8 18.6 25.0
4,000 244.3 320.8 264.5 347.3 20.2 26.6
4,100 250.5 320.8 270.6 346.7 20.2 25.8
4,200 254.3 318.0 277.4 346.8 23.1 28.9
4,300 258.9 316.2 282.5 345.0 23.6 28.8
4,400 262.9 313.8 289.5 345.6 26.6 31.8
4,500 265.8 310.3 295.7 345.1 29.8 34.8
4,600 268.6 306.7 302.4 345.3 33.9 38.7
4,700 273.1 305.1 310.4 346.9 37.3 41.7
4,800 274.4 300.2 318.6 348.6 44.2 48.3
4,900 275.6 295.4 325.1 348.5 49.5 53.0
5,000 273.7 287.5 331.4 348.1 57.7 60.6
5,100 275.6 283.8 338.4 348.5 62.8 64.7
5,200 277.6 280.4 345.5 349.0 67.9 68.6
5,300 277.6 275.1 353.2 350.0 75.6 74.9
5,400 279.1 271.5 357.9 348.1 78.8 76.6
5,500 275.7 263.3 361.0 344.7 85.3 81.4
5,600 274.5 257.5 362.6 340.0 88.0 82.6
5,700 273.2 251.8 363.2 334.7 90.0 82.9
5,800 268.4 243.0 365.5 331.0 97.1 88.0
5,900 262.0 233.3 365.7 325.5 103.6 92.2
6,000 255.0 223.2 365.6 320.0 110.6 96.8


The performance gains exceeded everyone’s expectations.


Fiber Solutions

Motor City Solutions has opened an additional 28,000-square-foot building dedicated to the design and manufacture of carbon-fiber and fiberglass components, as well as vehicle restoration and modification. When it comes to carbon fiber, the company’s first products are all late-model-Mustang related, including doors, hoods, and fascias.