Wayne Cook
December 21, 2009

Engine Upgrade
With so many engine types and builders in the Ford crate engine game, the range of choices is now bigger than ever. While the newer modular engines have been installed in classic Ford cars by many enthusiasts, it's clear that the Windsor Ford pushrod engines are still the overwhelming favorite when it comes time to repower the classic Ford cars we love. The pushrod configuration still offers the most compact package, and when we consider the power production potential of these engines it's easy to understand why the Windsor is still dominant.

We know of many projects where the means are at hand, both technically and financially, to use any powerplant out there. However, when all of the cost and difficulty analysis is done, the pushrod Windsor engine is often the mill of choice. Aside from ease of installation one of the main reasons why the Windsor is so popular is because stroker displacements are easy to achieve. Using the stock 302 block a 347 is now the most popular short-deck crate engine displacement. Because of the sturdy architecture and extra internal room available in the tall-deck Windsor block, displacements of well over 400 cubic inches are achievable. Hence, those of us who want to equip our '65 Mustang with an engine having big-block power potential can use a 351W-based stroker engine without too much difficulty. Beyond a set of special headers the swap is a drop-in affair and the result is a power level never available in the original 289 V-8-powered car.

While it's true that the newer Ford SOHC and DOHC engines offer considerable wow factor and are excellent and rev happy engines, it's now easy to match the power production potential of these engines with a pushrod package because of the many excellent aftermarket components available for the Windsor. Besides the myriad of aftermarket cylinder heads, now aftermarket replacement cylinder blocks are also available from several manufacturers. The blocks offer features not found on the standard Ford offerings such as extra-strength castings and four-bolt main caps. Both the 302 and 351W can use the same cylinder heads so the latest in cylinder head technology and design is available to both engines. The result is that a bored and stroked small-block Ford engine dressed with modern aluminum cylinder heads can deliver big-block power at roughly the weight of a stock cast-iron 289. Both the short- and tall-deck small-blocks are less expensive to construct than an FE or 385-series engine, and they fit in applications where a big block won't without radical modifications. With all of these factors considered it's easy to see why small-block Ford engines with enlarged displacements keep growing in popularity. Most of the manufacturers we looked at have both short- and tall-deck selections. We don't have the space to discuss every combination or option these companies have to offer, so we'll concentrate on their top selling engine offerings here. Be sure to check online or via phone to see what each company has in the way of packages from bare crate to turnkey engine.

Blue Print Engines
Blue Print Engines was started 20 years ago in a small garage and what began as a passion for speed has turned into a successful business. The company founder built one engine at a time for his friends and neighbors, and bit by bit his business and reputation grew. Today the company has produced more than 200,000 factory replacement engines for cars and light trucks. The most popular engine at Blue Print Engines is the BP3472CTC. It begins with a handpicked seasoned block, bored 0.040-inch over, square and parallel decked. The block is align-honed in the main bearing bore and are cylinders honed on computer-controlled machines to within 0.0002-inch straightness and roundness. The cylinders are then sonic tested for thickness.
Engine Name: Blue Print 347 2CTC
Displacement: 347
HP/TQ: 375/390
Block: Production Ford 302
Cylinder heads: Modified Ford cast-iron
Crank: SCAT cast
Pistons/rods: Keith Black hypereutectic/steel I-beam
Induction: Professional Products dual plane satin/Edelbrock 600cfm carburetor
Warranty: 30 month/50,000 mile
Price: $6,995

Jon Barrett Hot Rod Engines
Jon Barrett Hot Rod Engines has been in business since 1969. His engines are "developed rather than assembled," using properly matched components for great power production and reliability. He has an extensive automotive background and years of experience as a crew chief in both Top Fuel and Funny Car.
Engine Name: Blue Oval Cruzer
Displacement: 302
HP/TQ: 300/310
Block: Production Ford 5.0 roller
Cylinder Heads: GT-40P
Crank: Cast steel
Pistons/rods: Hypereutectic/production Ford
Induction: Aluminum dual plane

Warranty: 1-year limited
Price: $3,395