Marlan Davis Senior Technical Editor
June 1, 1999

Snake swallows Rat:Ford Motorsport has just raised the ante in the crate-motor wars by introducing the 460 Cobra Jet SVO complete engine assembly, which delivers an axle-twisting, tire-burning 560 hp at 6,000 rpm and 535 lb-ft of torque at 4,750 rpm-right out of the box! The engine comes complete from the oil pan to intake manifold-just add carburetor, ignition, headers, and accessory drives, and it's ready to run.

Each engine is manufactured and assembled to SVO/OEM-quality standards and passes SVO-specified tests for dynamometer durability. The heart of the engine is SVO's 460-H.O. short-block assembly (PN M-6009-C460), which includes 11.5:1 pistons, heavy-duty connecting rods, a high-nodular iron crank, and a roller timing chain. Normally, these short-blocks come with a fairly stout hydraulic cam, but for this thumper engine, Ford substituted an even hotter high-lift, long-duration hydraulic unit that's said to be worth another 50 hp.

SVO Cobra Jet (CJ) aluminum cylinder heads (PN M-6049-A429, bare casting; PN M-6049-B429, complete assembly) seal to the short-block via premium M-6051-A441 head gaskets retained by head studs. Although functionally interchangeable with the original iron musclecar-era CJ castings, the new alloy heads offer several flow enhancements. The new intake ports are slightly smoother, with an improved overall curvature from those on the old CJ casting, while the exhaust ports have a raised roof and floor. Like the original CJ, the combustion chambers displace 72 cc, but now they use a more efficient heart-shaped contour. Premium tulip-shaped stainless steel 2.25-inch intake valves (PN M-6507-A429) and 1.75-inch exhaust valves (PN M-6505-A429) reside in three-angle valve seats.

The heads are machined for screw-in studs and guideplates, and the fully adjustable valvetrain is topped off by tall SVO valve covers (PN M-6582-A460) that provide clearance for the crate motor's roller rockers (and a stud girdle, if you choose to install one).

SVO's Victor Jr. intake manifold (PN M-9424-G429) admirably carries out its induction duties. An SVO Duraspark distributor (PN M-12127-A301) lights the spark. The customer must supply the ignition coil and module. Motorsport offers the Duraspark II, Extra Performance or Ultra CD ignition systems. The latter system is Motorsport's version of the tried and true MSD-6, probably the world's most popular high-perf ignition booster.

Keeping things cool is a current-production 460 truck water pump (PN F4TZ-8501-B). Keeping the engine's lifeblood circulating is a Melling high-volume oil pump, which sucks lubricant from a 5-quart (with filter), rear-sump truck oil pan. For better high-rpm oil control, consider adding Motorsport's oil-pan windage-tray kit (PN M-6687-A460), which includes the tray plus attaching studs and nuts. This windage tray fits rear-sump pans only.

On paper, SVO's 460 crate engine presents a pretty stout package. But we've also seen how these modern-day Cobra Jets run both in the real world and on the dyno. (For details, see "Dyno-Test Results," "Drag-Test Results," and "Installation Notes.") They perform up to expectations and more. Plainly, this is a serious high-performance engine for bracket racing, off-road trucks, marine applications, or even for adding or restoring performance to older vehicles. Of course, its high compression ratio requires 100-octane (or better) racing gas, and the engine won't meet emissions regulations in most applications. Nevertheless, for all those with Ford blue blood running through their veins, the SVO 460 sets a new standard against which all other crate motors must be measured.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery