1969 Mustang Mach 1 Purple
Rob Kinnan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
April 28, 2015
Photos By: Jerry Heasley

Today is April 28, celebration time for the venerable Ford 428 cubic-inch engine!

This legendary powerplant began life in Galaxies and T-birds in 1966, and made its way into the Mustang, specifically the infamous Shelby G.T. 500s where it got the Cobra Jet treatment in 1968. The Cobra Jet had different heads (casting # C8OE-6090-N) with bigger ports and valves than the “passenger car” 428, and a beefier rotating assembly. It was rated at 335 hp from the factory, but that was in the days when power ratings were insurance company-friendly so the real output was over 400 hp. The engine debuted at the ’68 NHRA Winternationals in the Ford-sponsored Mustangs of Gas Ronda, Jerry Harvey, Hubert Platt, Dyno Don Nicholson, and Al Joniec—Joniec beat Platt in the final for his class, and also won the overall Super Stock title.

The 428 Super Cobra Jet (428SCJ) used the same top end, pistons, and engine block as the CJ but the rotating assembly was different, with a nodular iron crankshaft and heavier 427 "Le Mans" connecting rods. The heavier connecting rods and the removal of the center counterweight on the stock CJ crankshaft required an external weight on the snout of the crankshaft for balancing. A 428 Super Cobra Jet engine with oil cooler was standard equipment when the Drag Pack option (which came when selecting either a 3.91 or 4.30 rear end gear ratio) was ordered with cars manufactured from November 13, 1968—the SCJ engine was not available for earlier Drag Pack-optioned cars. In addition, while the CJ and SCJ engines used the same piston castings, the piston-to-bore clearance was looser for the higher operating temperatures of racing and general abuse. The horsepower rating stayed the same, but when you spun the motor up into higher rpm, that rating went out the window.

Check out Jerry Heasley’s story on how to properly detail the 428 Cobra Jet engine, and join us in celebrating this iconic engine! And guess what tomorrow is—that’s right 4/29!