Get More From Your 3.8L Essex V-6
Modifiy Your 3.8L Into A Super Six = 325 HP!
An engine that's probably a bigger sleeper than the vintage 200ci six is the late-model 3.8L Essex V-6. For those of you not familiar with this engine, it resembles a baby Cleveland in appearance-with its broad-shouldered valve covers and wide "V" stance. Fire it up and it sounds like a buzzy European six-popper. Lean on the throttle and it comes on strong-for a six-cylinder engine. When this engine was first introduced as a carbureted V-6 in 1982, thereby replacing the inline-200ci six, it wasn't much to write home about. It lacked torque, it did not impress, and pulling onto the freeway took planning with this anemic mill.
For years the 3.8L V-6 has been an invisible Ford power plant. The smaller 2.3L OHC four-banger has seen more press in performance arenas, due to its optional turbo status in the Fox-body Mustang, Capri, Thunderbird, and Cougar. But it seems as though we haven't given the Essex V-6 the credit it deserves, for performance potential. It has taken someone with vision and imagination to squeeze 325 hp out of this sleeping mill.
We spoke with Tom Yentzer at Super Six Motorsports about Ford's 3.8L V-6. Super Six Motorsports specializes in dyno-proven performance modifications to the '94-2000 3.8L V-6 engine used in the Mustang. Because these modifications are dyno-tested and proven, you can try them out on your late-model Mustang with confidence.
An Awakening...In box stock form, the 3.8L Essex V-6 produces 145-150 hp at the crankshaft. According to Super Six Motorsports, that's 0.625 hp per cubic inch or 38.2 hp per liter. There is great potential in the Essex six's design. The symmetrical upper intake manifold, the sizable intake ports, the aggressive exhaust ports, and even the respectable 1.5-inch factory headers make the engine full of potential.
Super Six tells Mustang Monthly that you can modify this six in three stages, depending on your needs.