Barry Kluczyk
September 28, 2010

Tech | Engine Build
A displacement of 460 cubic inches never fails to conjure mental images of battleship-heavy lumps of iron torn out of worn-out '70s trucks or Lincolns, and stuffed into early Mustangs. Those classic engine swaps typically strained the front suspension and left little room under the hood for routine maintenance, let alone swapping headers easily.

But this is the 21st century and we've got World Products' innovative Man O' War Windsor-style cylinder block architecture on which to build big-inch-make that huge-inch-small-block engines. With guidance and input from a prominent NASCAR Ford entity, World Products revamped the basic 302/351 block design to bulk it up in key areas, such as the front and rear bulkheads-each is about an inch thicker than the stock Ford 302 block. Iron was added, too, to the cylinder banks to add strength and provide water passage room for large-displacement combinations.

The result is a block that weighs about 60 pounds more than a standard Ford 302 block, but is considerably stronger throughout. The thicker iron is complemented with standard splayed, four-bolt billet steel main caps, which should all but eliminate the tendency for catastrophic cracking that is common with the production blocks at high horsepower levels. It is a problem racers have tried to prevent through the use of main cap stud girdles and other methods, but too much boost or nitrous can split the 302 through the lifter valley like a California seismic fault line.

Apart from some obvious bulges around the cylinders, which support the block's extra "meat" and generous water jackets, the Man O' War blocks looks just like a Blue Oval casting. In fact, it was designed to accept all of the components and accessories that were ever bolted to a 302 or 351 at the factory. World Products offers the Man O' War in four deck heights, including 8.200 inches, 8.700 inches, 9.200 inches, and 9.500 inches. The 8.200- and 8.700-inch decks are 302-style blocks, while the two taller decks are 351W-style blocks. The minimum deck thickness is 0.600-inch.

Add to all these versions either 4.000- or 4.125-bores, and the capability of a 4.250-inch-stroke crankshaft, and it means a plethora of possible combinations with displacements that simply weren't practical with a factory Ford block. World Products has designed and tested a number of different combinations that are sold as crate engines, including the 460-inch version that we're examining in this story.

It's at this point we should mention that World Products has altered the way it offers crate engines. Rather than building them all in-house, the company recently began turning over the engine-assembly duties to affiliate builders around the country. Think of it as the way Coca-Cola hits the shelves via regional bottlers-World Products provides the secret recipe and supplies the ingredients, while the builder assembles and tests the engines to the company's guidelines. More about the engine-building program is available on World's website at

The engine depicted in our story is rated at 600 horsepower and 575 lb-ft of torque. As you'll see on the accompanying dyno chart, it made more than that, but the advertised power rating is a target that is designed to be attainable by builders in different parts of the country, who must deal with a variety of atmospheric and altitude conditions.

Our project engine was assembled and tested at World's Ronkonkoma, New York, headquarters.

Build details and dyno testing World's Man O' War 460-inch crate engine starts with a 9.500-inch deck 351 block, with 4.155-inch bores and the maximum 4.250-inch-stroke crank. That crankshaft, naturally, is forged steel-an Eagle 4340 forging, to be exact. The bottom of each cylinder is notched to make room for the long-reaching H-beam connecting rods.

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