Tom Wilson
June 1, 2002

Horse Sense:
If you've been anywhere in the real Mexico-by that we mean away from Cancun and other tourist fleeces-then you know Mexicans are seriously into a good time and don't waste life on bureaucratic nonsense. We can only imagine the high jinks this engine is going to get itself into.

Blower here, stroker there, it's all sort of the same after awhile. Occasionally something different pops up, such as a 347 running on alcohol-in Mexico. The call on this one came from Probe Racing Components in Torrance, California. The company was sort of building, freshening, and upgrading the unusual small-block all at the same time, and calculating its alcohol fuel ought to be good for something unique. We figured a gander over Probe's shoulders would be worth it.

Engines such as this are always good for a story anyway. The tale here is the Mexican owner, Caesar Castro, lives in Hermosillo, Sonora, and enjoys participating in local contests of automotive machismo. The rumor is these events take place on barricaded public streets, which we can easily understand given the liquidity of petty local regulations in La Republica. But having not spoken directly with Señor Castro, we're not precisely sure exactly what sort of contests these are. Clearly they require plenty of noise and torque, as Caesar's other engine is a 572-inch 460 stroker-both the big-block and the 347 small-block we're looking at here doing duty in the same '72 Mustang. Given the voracious alcohol consumption of these powerplants, we surmise mano-a-mano drag racing not too far out of town is the duel in question, but you never know.

We can also safely postulate Señor Castro is no small fry. In a place where many citizens are happy the busses continue to operate, he has somewhere approaching $20,000 in this engine, which ought to guide you in your desires to replicate it.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

We are also reliably informed that some of this engine-at least a few surviving bits-once resided in, appro-priately enough, a Mexican block. Fitted with Brodix heads, a Cola billet crank, a 51/48-inch steel main girdle, and a Track Dominator intake, that engine split its block like a dry corn tortilla. Therefore, Caesar wanted to move up to a Ford Racing Performance Parts R302 block this time around, along with new Blue Thunder heads in an effort to make more power as well as greater longevity-or at least more noise.

Another interesting aspect of the engine, but one we unfortunately do not have a photograph of, is the Flying Toilet injection. This is an aftermarket injection system not uncommon in NHRA drag racing. Ron's Fuel Injection Systems [(800) 513-FUEL] in Tucson, Arizona, is the source on these nonelectronic, high-volume, constant-flow designs that use their own throttle bodies and a four-barrel intake manifold fitted with port fuel injectors. On Caesar's engine, the Toilet, as it's affectionately called, flushes atop a Probe Industries custom sheetmetal intake for sewer-like airflow.

At press time, the tequila burner had yet to fiesta with an engine dyno, but George Klass guessed 900 hp and kept a straight face, so we'll tell you he said that. Could be, too, as alcohol is simply gorgeous racing fuel, offering 120 octane and frigid induction temperatures, so the compression can be sky high-it's 14:1 here-and the airflow packaging is helicopter like. The camming is aggressive in the extreme, with more than 0.800 inch of intake valve lift. So, with as much as 9,000 rpm on tap, this one really ought to wiggle the worm. Heche la!

On The Flowbench
Caesar's Blue Thunder heads posted some nice numbers on West Coast Cylinder Heads' flowbench. As these heads are relatively new, we thought you'd like to see an independent look at how they flow. The intakes were cleaned in the bowl; the exhausts received some port work as well.

Valve LiftIntake (cfm)Exhaust(cfm)
0.100 82.2 64.5
0.150125.1110.9
0.200165.4138.6
0.250197.7166.6
0.300227.0190.6
0.350256.4213.7
0.400284.0234.4
0.450309.7247.2
0.500331.9256.5
0.550345.0265.3
0.600352.6271.0
0.650366.4275.3
0.700376.9278.7
0.750386.4282.2
0.800390.9285.0
0.850395.5 na
Note: Lifts are in inches, flow in corrected cfm at 28 inches of water

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery