Tom Wilson
May 6, 2011

Honorable Mentions

460 Big-Block
Back in the mid- to late-’80s, plopping the giant 460 anvil into then-new Fox Mustangs had its 15 minutes of fame. These were sinfully heavy all-iron big-blocks that produced mountains of chassis-twisting torque in near stock form and untold power fully hot-rodded. In short, they proved too much for a Mustang, and today the same torque and power can be had in a 200-pound-lighter package. But if you insist, the headers and carburetors are still available, and you can get 514 ci from one of these without trying too hard or 600-plus inches on a big budget.

EcoBoost V-6
Ford engineers must have an F-150 EcoBoost V-6 powered Mustang somewhere in Dearborn, but we’ve yet to see one. It would make a great conversation piece and a sharp-handling Mustang with approximately ’11 Coyote straight-line performance (or better in a lightweight Fox?), but without factory support it would be impossible to wire up. Only the most experienced and well-connected pros should try this one.

3.7 V-6
We doubt anyone would bother with this swap unless they prized handling above all else, even if the straight-line performance should easily out-run a ’96-’98 GT. Still, the resulting car would be a novelty--although given the still-as-yet-unknown complexities of the newest V-6’s engine management, a nearly impossible stunt to pull off.

6.2 V-8
Sold as the base engine in Super Duty pickups and the SVT Raptor F-150, the new 6.2-liter V-8 is the stuff of exotic Mustang swaps. There are no kits and the large 6.2 measures 3.5-inches longer and a 1/4-inch wider than a Three-Valve V-8; it packs unique engine mount placement and who knows what electronic gremlins. But the bellhousing pattern is stock modular, not to mention it’s a beefy 380 ci and the cylinder heads support 750 hp with minimal hand detailing. There’s a reward of fame here for the pioneering Ford enthusiast, but it would be hard-earned.

Glossary

We’re as guilty as anyone for using Ford jargon. Here’s a quick explanation in case you’re new to the club.

Engines
5.0 HO’82-’95 302 pushrod V-8, the original 5.0
Two-Valve’96-’04 Two-Valve modular 4.6-liter V-8
Three-Valve’05-’10 Three-Valve modular 4.6-liter V-8
Four-ValveAny Four-Valve modular 4.6-liter V-8
Coyote’11 Mustang GT engine, the new Four-Valve 5.0
Early Cobra’96-’98 4.6-liter Mustang Cobra Four-Valve, naturally aspirated
Late Cobra’99 and ’01 4.6-liter Cobra Four-Valve, naturally aspirated
Terminator’03-’04 4.6-liter Mustang Cobra Four-Valve, supercharged
GT500’05-’11 5.4-liter Mustang Cobra Four-Valve, supercharged

Chassis
Fox’79-’93 Mustang, lightweight, excellent parts support
SN-95’94-’98 Mustang, inexpensive, still sort of lightweight
New Edge’99-’04 Mustang, a restyled SN-95
S197’05-’10 Mustang; modern, tight chassis; heavy