Mark Houlahan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
March 15, 2012

Stroker engines and kits are super popular these days. The simple fact is that when you start adding up the cost of a good crank, rods, and pistons, along with the machine work to fit it into your existing or new block, it's just a few bucks more to go with a stroker and reap the benefits of extra displacement without having to deal with an engine swap to a big-block and all the headaches that brings (cooling, exhaust, and so on). The Ford small-block engine has been benefitting from stroker engine technology for decades now. The 347ci stroker has been a popular upgrade and has been built in huge numbers over the years, mainly because it was the first stroker design introduced to the performance-buying public. Over the years, various derivatives of the 347, including the 342, 331, and 327, have been designed, built, improved upon, and made into proven combos that work.

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The 347 stroker combination has had teething problems, that's for sure, and while they're sorted out today (This author has 114,000 miles on his personal 347), the slightly smaller 331 stroker was the answer to some of these problems early on. Today, the 331 is as popular as the 347, and some say a better choice of engine package due to its better rod ratio, lighter assembly, and higher rpm capability. A 347 owner will tell you that his engine makes a ton of torque, but the engine is far from a high-rpm screamer. The 331 puts more torque on the table (over a stock displacement small-block) yet still offers the high rpm capability that the original 289 and 302 were known for. Essentially, the 331 becomes a nice middle ground of torque, horsepower, and rpm ability, while offering the potential for longer service life over the 347 of similar build. We must say; that's worth the price of entry in our books.

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We recently got wind of a 331 stroker engine being assembled by Mark Biddle and his crew of craftsman at Panhandle Performance, a well known and respected Ford engine shop in northern Florida. Panhandle Performance is known for its stroker builds, both in race and street configurations, for everyone from NMRA, NMCA, and NHRA drag racers, to road racers and serious street guys. Panhandle Performance built this particular 331 for a customer with a vintage Mustang who wanted the perfect trifecta of power: a road race, dragstrip, and street engine for his early Mustang. The owner wanted the maintenance-free power of a roller camshaft, high rpm ability, and be able to use pump gas for "stop anywhere" fill ups. See this 331 come to life and hit the dyno as Mark Biddle screws together yet another one of his small-block Ford masterpieces.

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On the Dyno

Demon Carb 750Holley HP 750Pro Systems 950
RPMHPTQHPTQHPTQ
3,500213.3320.2215.0322.9178.4267.2
3,600226.2330.2232.3339.1191.4279.6
3,700240.8341.8249.2353.8208.0295.2
3,800253.9350.6264.7365.7221.3305.8
3,900264.0355.0277.2372.9236.3318.2
4,000276.1363.0277.8365.7252.7331.7
4,100293.2375.7298.6382.8270.3346.1
4,200306.9383.7316.0395.1289.8362.4
4,300318.4388.5329.9402.6309.2377.5
4,400328.7392.4338.3402.4325.8388.7
4,500340.5397.9341.5400.5341.5398.3
4,600355.1405.5358.7409.7354.5405.2
4,700366.4409.2369.8413.2369.5413.0
4,800372.3406.3378.4413.5382.5418.3
4,900376.5404.5387.7415.9393.2421.4
5,000394.3414.4401.9422.3405.1425.6
5,100409.1421.3413.7426.0414.9427.3
5,200420.5424.5422.8426.6424.4428.8
5,300426.7422.4426.4422.7434.2430.2
5,400433.6421.9435.5423.8441.6429.5
5,500438.3418.8445.0424.7447.8427.6
5,600445.5418.0447.8419.8453.7425.3
5,700452.5416.8453.8418.3458.1422.1
5,800457.6414.3462.0418.2465.2421.6
5,900460.4409.6468.3416.7472.9420.9
6,000461.7404.6473.3414.5478.2418.5
6,100468.1403.1478.1411.8482.8415.6
6,200473.2400.7482.9409.0484.4410.3
6,300476.6397.4487.1406.0487.6406.8
6,400480.5394.3490.5402.5492.8404.4
6,500481.1388.5492.1397.5495.0399.9
6,600482.0383.8495.1394.1495.4394.3
6,700487.0381.9498.6390.9498.6390.8
6,800491.9380.0504.3389.6503.5388.8
6,900494.6376.3510.3388.4505.3384.6
7,000495.1371.5513.6385.1508.9382.0
7,100498.1368.5513.9380.3513.2379.6
7,200501.4365.7515.2375.8514.1374.9
7,300500.1359.8509.7366.3510.8367.5