Donald Farr
Former Editor, Mustang Monthly
May 13, 2006

Twenty years ago, the idea of ordering a complete engine for a vintage Mustang was pretty much absurd. First of all, it was a lot cheaper to rebuild or even have someone else rebuild the original engine. Secondly, even if you wanted to purchase a complete long-block, there weren't many companies offering such an animal. About the only thing available was a Ford-authorized remanufactured engine from Fred Jones Remanufacturing.

Two decades later, all that has changed. It's getting more difficult every day to find rebuildable Mustang engine cores, even for Fred Jones, because most vintage blocks and heads have already been machined and rebuilt several times. In many cases, blocks have been bored beyond servicing and heads have been knurled and ported beyond reuse. Age and heat have also contributed to cracked and warped surfaces. Remember that the last factory 289 was built 38 years ago.

Something else that has changed is the availability of crate engines. Today you have a choice of crate engine builders who can deliver an almost-turnkey engine to your door steps. Because most Ford crate engines are based on the late-model 5.0L (302) and 5.8L (351) small-blocks, which come from the same Windsor engine family as the old 289/302s and 351s, they can be easily adapted to a vintage Mustang. You can even paint them Ford Corporate Blue, swap on your front engine dress, and add a Cobra dress-up kit for a completely vintage appearance even though the guts may be thoroughly modern with a roller camshaft and forged bottom-end.

With a crate engine, you get a proven combination of parts, assembled by professionals and delivered right to your garage door. Just swap your accessories, exhaust manifolds, flywheel, fuel pump, and other components to the new engine, and you're ready to drop it in. In fact, some crate engines come with induction, distributor, wires, and everything else needed to fire up and run.

While the idea of mass production may not appeal to some, in reality, it means consistency from a manufacturer who has built thousands of the same combination, unlike one-off engine builds that can suffer from human error. Ben Smeding from Smeding Performance drives home the point: "You build 5 motors and you think you know what you're doing. You build 50 and you're getting better. You build 500 of the same engine combination and then you really know what you're doing."

Granted, crate engines can be pricey, with some running $5,000 or more for ultra high-performance versions, but for vintage Mustang owners who are mainly interested in a reliable yet powerful replacement for their 289 or 302, crate engines are available in the $3,000-4,000 range, not a bad deal when you consider the costs of rebuilding an old engine--machine work, new parts, and so on, not to mention the time needed to chase parts and run back and forth to the machine shop.

Blueprint Racing offers an affordable small-block with a factory 5.0L block and cast-iron heads topped by a Professional Products' intake for just over $3,000, while Ford Racing's best deal is the M-6007-XE3M, based on a new factory 5.0 short-block with GT-40 aluminum heads, which retails for $3,850 and can usually be purchased for less from Ford Racing dealers. Another good deal, primarily for the wider engine bays in '68-'73 Mustangs, is the Ford Racing M-6007-S58, priced under $3,000, with a new 5.8L short-block, cast-iron heads, and dual-plane intake.

Stroker versions are also popular, with 347 cubic-inch versions of the 5.0 offered by nearly every manufacturer. With the 5.8 block, displacement can grow up to 427 ci. More displacement equals more torque and horsepower, yet with a stroker Windsor, the package size remains the same as a 289 or 351.

Most crate engines are delivered as basic long-blocks: a short-block with a cam and cylinder heads. A few come with intake manifolds, while a handful, like those from Roush Performance, add a carburetor, distributor, flywheel, and other parts. Roller rocker arms are typically part of the crate engine package, a good-news/bad-news scenario for owners who want an original look because of clearance issues with vintage valve covers. Some can be modified to clear the rockers, while others may require the use of spacers or taller aftermarket covers.

Another issue with the late-model blocks is the lack of the threaded hole needed for the clutch linkage with manual transmission cars. A clutch equalizer bracket, available from Sacramento Mustang (www.sacramento-mustang.com), is required to install the equalizer bar. Additionally, on crate engines equipped with a water pump for serpentine belts, the pump will need to be replaced with one for the opposite rotation of a V-belt system.

Obviously, if you have the skills to rebuild an engine and you have a rebuildable short-block and heads to work with, then by all means build it yourself. But for many vintage Mustang owners these days, it's great to have the option of picking up the phone or jumping on the Web to order a ready-to-go performance engine.

The M-6007-XB3M/XE3M crate engine is Ford Racing's biggest seller. "It's the perfect engine for a vintage Mustang," says Ford Racing's Hank Dertian. The XB3M version with a B303 camshaft is recommended for manual transmissions, while the XE3M with a slightly milder E303 cam works with both automatic and manual transmissions.

Ford Racing
With Ford Racing Performance Parts, you can still go right to the factory for a small-block crate engine. Before production of the Windsor 5.0 ended, Ford Racing ordered a supply to use as a foundation for its popular M-6007-XB3M and XE3M crate engines. Rated at 345 and 340 horsepower respectively, the engines are new 5.0 short-blocks fitted with GT-40 aluminum heads and either a B303 or E303 roller camshaft. Finned aluminum valve covers are included as well as a water pump, but the pump is a reverse-rotation version for late-model serpentine belts and must be replaced for vintage V-belt systems. Likewise, you'll need to replace the Fox-body oil pan with one for an early Mustang.

By stepping up to Ford Racing's 347 stroker, PN M-6007-C347, you get a new Sportsman 5.0 block, Z304A aluminum heads, Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake, and MSD billet distributor for a rating of 450 hp. With the same external dimensions as a 289/302, the C347 stroker will drop right in a '65-'73 Mustang.

Ford Racing also offers a number of 351s, starting with M-6007-S58, a low-buck 5.8L with cast-iron heads that comes from Ford's marine-engine program. Also available is the 385hp D351ST with aluminum GT-40 heads and the stroker 392ci D392FT with 430 hp.

More information is available on the Ford Racing Web site at www.fordracingparts.com or from the 2006 Ford Racing Performance Parts catalog available from all Ford Racing dealers. You also call the Tech hotline at (586) 468-1356 for information specific to your vintage Mustang swap.

Description

Block

Heads

Cam

Intake

HP

Price

M-6007-XB3MNew 5.0GT-40B303None345$3,{{{850}}}
M-6007-XE3MNew 5.0GT-40E303None340$3,850
M-6007-Z50ESportsman 5.0Z304AE303None360$5,495
M-6007-Z50ZSportsman 5.0Z304AZ303None 390$5,895
M-6007-C347Sportsman 5.0Z304ARollerVictor Jr.450$6,995
M-6007-S58Marine 5.8Cast-ironRollerDual-plane250$2,895
M-6007-D351FTSportsman 5.8GT-40RollerVictor Jr.385N/A
M-6007-D392FTSportsman 5.8GT-40RollerVictor Jr.430N/A

World Products
Unlike other crate engine builders who start with either a Ford Racing block or a remanufactured factory block, World Products has developed its own Man O'War cast-iron Ford blocks. Beefed-up in key areas for strength, the Man O'War blocks are offered in four deck heights; 8.2 and 8.7 inches as replacements for the 289/302/5.0 and 9.2 and 9.5 inches to replace the 351. For the most part, the Man O'War blocks look exactly like Ford blocks, and they accept all components and accessories that were bolted to factory engines.

World Products offers three series of crate engines, all based on the Man O'War blocks, that would make ideal replacements for vintage Mustangs. The entry-level Daily Driver engines, available in 302 and 351 displacements and with or without induction, come with World Products' Windsor Jr. cast-iron heads. The Cruiser 351 and 427 engines are offered with the Windsor Sr. cast-iron heads and a dual-plane intake for good low-end torque and a broad power curve. The World Class series of engines are built from the best aftermarket components and come in three displacements, 351, 375, and 427, with either cast-iron or aluminum heads. Hardcore engines are also offered, but by then, you're stretching the streetability limits with solid-lifter camshafts and huge Dominator carburetors.

Description

Block

Heads

Cam

Intake

HP

Daily Driver 302Man O’WarWindsor Jr. ironRollerOptionalN/A
Daily Driver 351Man O’WarWindsor Jr. ironRollerOptionalN/A
Cruiser 351Man O’WarWindsor Sr. ironRollerDual-planeN/A
Cruiser 427Man O’WarWindsor Sr. ironRollerDual-planeN/A
World Class 351Man O’WarWindsor Sr. ironRollerEdelbrock395
World Class 351Man O’WarWorld aluminumRollerEdelbrock415
World Class 375Man O’WarWindsor Sr. ironRollerEdelbrock425
World Class 375Man O’WarWorld aluminumRollerEdelbrock455
World Class 427Man O’WarWindsor Sr. ironRollerEdelbrock475
World Class 427Man O’WarWorld aluminumRollerEdelbrock495
At $3,299 retail, Blueprint Engines' Base 347 stroker ranks among the more affordable crate engines. Modified cast-iron heads and a flat-tappet cam help keep the cost down, yet it still pumps out a respectable 330 hp.

Blueprint Engines
Relatively new on the Ford scene is Blueprint Engines, but the company already offers a number of Ford small-block crate engines including a pair of 347s that are ideal for vintage Mustangs. Two versions of the Base 347 are offered, one with modified cast-iron heads and another with Dart aluminum heads. Both come with a flat-tappet camshaft and Professional Products' aluminum dual-plane intake manifold. At $3,299 retail, the Base 347 with cast-iron heads and 330 hp is an affordable option for vintage Mustang owners in need of a replacement engine.

As with every Blueprint Engine, the 347 engines are balanced, blueprinted, and dyno-tested. They come with a two-year, 24,000 mile limited warranty.

A Base 408 based on a stroked 5.8 with aluminum heads and dual-plane intake is also available. All of Blueprint Engines' crate engines are offered in dressed configurations with carburetor, distributor, fuel pump, and so on. Edelbrock multi-port fuel injection is also offered.

Description

Block

Heads

Cam

Intake

HP

Price

Base 347Stroked 5.0Cast-ironFlat-tappetDual-plane330$3,299
Base 347Stroked 5.0Dart aluminumFlat-tappetDual-plane370$5,695
Base 408Stroked 5.8Tri-State aluminumFlat-tappetDual-plane400$5,899
Smeding's GT 347 Stroker is a 405hp version of the 347 Extreme. With 9.7:1 compression, it's a streetable engine that runs on pump gas.

Smeding Performance
We recently installed a Smeding Performance 347 Extreme into a '66 Mustang, so we have first-hand knowledge about the power and performance from a Smeding crate engine. Painted Ford Corporate Blue and dressed-out with Cobra valve covers, the engine replaced our worn-out 289 perfectly yet still maintains a vintage appearance. It's difficult to tell it's not an original 289.

Specializing in strokers, Smeding uses new Ford Racing blocks to build its Ford small-blocks. "It's getting harder and harder to find pristine used blocks for rebuilds," says Ben Smeding. "Because we use new blocks, there won't be rust in the water jackets, which is good for heat dissipation. Plus, the cylinder walls are nice and thick because the block hasn't been overbored."

The 380hp 347 Extreme is Smeding's bread-and-butter crate engine. The bottom end is put together with a nodular-iron crankshaft, forged I-beam rods with 3/8-inch ARP bolts, lightweight forged pistons, and a roller camshaft. Edelbrock aluminum heads with roller rocker arms top off the package, along with an Edelbrock RPM Air Gap intake manifold. A GT 347 Stroker version is also available with 405 hp.

Smeding's 347 GT is essentially the same engine as the 347 Extreme, only it uses GT-40 cast-iron heads and a flat-tappet cam. Horsepower falls to 325, but the price is also lower, approximately $800 less than the 347 Extreme. Ben says it's an excellent engine for daily drivers because the cam profile allows high vacuum for good fuel economy and drivability.

According to Ben, his 427 Cobra Special "revs like a small-block but feels like a big-block." That's because the big-inch 351, based on Ford Racing's Sportsman 5.8 block, is rated at 480 hp and nearly 500 lb-ft of torque. Internal components include a steel crankshaft, steel rods with 7/16-inch ARP cap bolts, forged pistons for a streetable 9.7:1 compression ratio, and a custom hydraulic-roller camshaft. Edelbrock Victor Jr. heads and aluminum intake top off the potent package, which was designed for Cobra kit cars but will work nicely in a vintage Mustang.

Description

Block

Heads

Cam

Intake

HP

Price

347 GTFord 5.0GT-40 cast-ironFlat-tappetPerformer325$4,295
347 ExtremeFord 5.0Edelbrock aluminumRollerRPM Air Gap380$5,495
GT 347 StrokerSportsman 5.0Edelbrock aluminumRollerRPM Air Gap405$5,495
427 CobraSportsman 5.8Edelbrock aluminumRollerVictor Jr.480$7,495
Coast High Performance's Street Fighter, shown as a 347 with EFI, features Edelbrock aluminum heads and a Probe roller cam.

Coast High Performance
Coast High Performance was one of the pioneers of small-block Ford strokers. Its line of Street Fighter crate engines was developed in response to early complaints about piston slap with 347s. By modifying the pin hole in the piston to reduce the rod angle, Coast High eliminated the problem.

Coast High offers three displacements based on remanufactured 5.0 blocks; 306, 331 (not listed in the chart), and 347. Likewise, three displacements are offered for the 5.8 block; 393, 408 (not listed in chart), and 427. Three different levels of each displacement are available. The Street Fighter is the original Coast High crate engine, which comes with Edelbrock aluminum heads, roller cam, cast crank, forged I-beam rods, and 3/8-inch rod bolts.

For budget-minded enthusiasts, the Street Fighter GT saves a few bucks with the use of ProComp aluminum heads and a flat tappet cam.

The Street Fighter Pro Street engine utilizes the same Edelbrock heads and roller cam as the Street Fighter, but adds bottom-end strength with a 4340 heat-treated crank and H-beam rods with cap screws. All of the Coast High Performance Street Fighter engines are available as short-blocks as well. Chris Huff at Coast High says horsepower ratings aren't listed for the Street Fighter engines due to the variety of induction and exhaust systems that can be installed by the end user.

For the car owner who is starting with a totally empty engine compartment, Coast High offers the Cobra Classic in 347, 393, and 427 displacements. Based on the Street Fighter long-blocks, the Cobra Classic powerplants include an Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake and carburetor, oil pan, alternator, wiring, and everything else needed to make the engine ready to run. Originally developed for the Cobra kit car market, Huff says these engines are frequently used in vintage Mustangs.

Description

Block

Heads

Cam

Intake

HP

Price

306 Street Fighter GT5.0ProCompFlat-tappetNoneN/A$3,999
306 Street Fighter5.0Edelbrock{{{Probe}}} rollerNoneN/A$4,799
306 Street Fighter Pro Street5.0EdelbrockProbe rollerNoneN/A$5,199
347 Street Fighter GT5.0ProCompFlat-tappetNoneN/A$3,999
347 Street Fighter5.0EdelbrockProbe rollerNoneN/A$4,799
347 Street Fighter Pro Street5.0EdelbrockProbe rollerNoneN/A$5,599
347 Cobra Classic5.0EdelbrockProbe rollerVictor Jr.410$8,499
393W Street Fighter GT5.8ProCompFlat-tappetNoneN/A$4,099
393W Street Fighter5.8EdelbrockProbe rollerNoneN/A$5,099
393W Street Fighter Pro5.8EdelbrockProbe rollerNoneN/A$6,299
393W Cobra Classic5.8EdelbrockProbe rollerVictor Jr.450$8,999
427 Street Fighter5.8EdelbrockFlat-tappetNone500+$5,599
427 Street Fighter Pro Street5.8EdelbrockProbe rollerNone500+$6,799
427 Cobra Classic5.8EdelbrockProbe rollerNone485$9,499

Roush Performance
Everyone knows Jack Roush, and as expected from engines labeled with the Roush name, you get more than just a crate engine. "We prefer to call them performance engines, not crate engines," says Roush Performance Engine Manager Todd Andrews. "Basically, we offer a custom engine in a crate engine package."

Unlike most other crate engines that are long-blocks only, the Roush Performance street engines are complete from carburetor to oil pan. Built by the Roush engine department, which has been assembling race and performance engines for over 25 years, the engines are built to Roush's exacting tolerances with high-quality parts. All Roush engines carry a two-year/24,000 mile warranty.

The Roush engines come with Roush-modified aluminum heads, single-plane or dual-plane intake, Roush-tuned carburetor, air cleaner, roller camshaft with Roush specs, Roush valve covers, oil pan, water pump (standard rotation with front-sump oil pan for vintage applications), flywheel, high-torque starter, and MSD distributor. Each engine is hot-tested then dyno-tested to confirm power. Fender and firewall badges are supplied with each Roush engine.

We've listed only a few of the engines offered by Roush, so check the Web site at www.roushperf.com for others. As you might expect, the complete, high-quality Roush engines are not what you'd call budget priced. For pricing, contact Roush.

Description

Block

Heads

Cam

Intake

HP

Price

327SRSportsman 5.0Roush aluminumRollerVictor Jr.350
327RSportsman 5.0Roush aluminumRollerVictor Jr.425
342RESportsman 5.0Roush aluminumRollerFuel injectionN/A
353RSportsman 5.0Roush aluminumRollerAluminum450
402SRSportsman 5.0Roush/EdelbrockRoushAluminum425
402RSportsman 5.0Roush aluminumRollerAluminum515
427SRDart 5.8Roush aluminumRollerAluminum450
427RDart 5.8Roush aluminumRollerAluminum550