Mustang Restomod Guide: Drivetrain
Modernize Your Drivetrain With Crate Engines, Strokers, And Overdrive Transmissions
Last month, we covered the exterior modifications that make Mustangs look so great. This month, we're talking about power and getting it to the pavement. Put them together, stir in some suspension and interior updates-which we'll cover in the next couple of issues-and you have the makings for a top-notch Mustang restomod.
During the past 10 years, the restomod movement has made its mark on the vintage Mustang hobby and industry. No longer are Mustang owners ostracized at shows for ditching factory-original equipment for larger wheels and tires, late-model stroker engines, and Shelby scoops. While we agree that some Mustangs should be preserved in their original state-Shelbys, Bosses, Cobra Jets, and other special models-the huge majority of the more than 3 million '65-'73 Mustangs that Ford produced were basic coupes, fastbacks, and convertibles. There's nothing wrong with taking those cars and making them better. After all, that's what we did with them when they were new in the '60s.
Of course, back then we didn't have roller-cam engines and overdrive transmissions. With today's modern drivetrain technology, older Mustangs can be updated for more power and better efficiency with improved fuel mileage in these days of $2 or more for a gallon of gasoline.
It's The Boss
For many years, Ford Racing has offered a number of crate engines based on the ever-popular 5.0L. But at last year's SEMA Show, the company unveiled its small-block crate engine of the future. Called the Boss 302 in tribute to the legendary small-block from '69-'70, the engine is based on a new block with four-bolt mains. The line was conceived out of the need for engines built from a stronger block than regular-production 302s.
Built from the new Boss 302 block, Boss crate engines feature performance and packaging that accommodate displacements from 302 to 363 ci. Entry-level engines are rated at 340 and 345 hp with Ford Racing's GT-40X Turbo Swirl aluminum heads, which retain stock exhaust locations. Higher performance versions include the company's Z-head-equipped 302 and 347 engines rated between 360 and 450 hp, depending on configuration. The Boss engine series is capped by a 500hp, 331ci version with ported Z-heads.
The suggested retail price for the Boss crate engine ranges from $4,650 to $10,000 for the 500hp Boss 331. The engines come with a 12-month/12,000-mile limited warranty.
Few things look better on top of a well-dressed small-block than Tri-Power induction. While developing a two-barrel carburetor for the oval-track racing market, the engineers at Barry Grant's Demon Carburetion realized that stacking three of the carbs together on a single-induction package would recreate the muscular looks and nostalgic appeal of Ford's original Tri-Power setup. So three of the Barry Grant companies-Demon Carburetion, Triple-D Induction, and Rush Performance Filters-banded together to collaborate on a new Six-Shooter induction system for 289/302 small-block Ford engines.
Featuring a trio of 250-cfm carburetors, the Six-Shooter mounts the carbs backward to avoid distributor-clearance issues, similar to Ford's Tri-Power. The center carb does all the work during normal driving, including cold starts, with its electric choke. The outer carbs get their orders to open from a progressive throttle linkage. The Six-Shooter also comes with a polished, oval air cleaner from Rush Performance Filters.