Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
March 13, 2012

Front and center is the engine’s distributor. The Hi-Po Mustang only used centrifugal advance, and therefore there’s no advance diaphragm and housing on the distributor body. The distributor is also a dual-point unit, which can be easily verified by simply popping off the distributor cap. Also easy to spot is the Hi-Po’s four-blade aluminum fan and thin steel fan shroud with rubber isolator (near the battery tray). Other Hi-Po only features visible at quick inspection are the larger than stock crankshaft balancer, larger diameter alternator pulley (or generator pulley for ’64-1/2), Hi-Po specific cast-iron exhaust manifolds, and chrome valve covers.

Closing Comments

As noted at the beginning, the Hi-Po engine came to life first in the '63 Fairlane. Due to its March 1963 introduction, there was more than a year of Hi-Po production before the engine was ever dropped into a Mustang. As such, there are numerous design changes and part number differences we didn't have the room to discuss here (we kept this conversation Mustang-specific). If you want to learn a lot more about the Hi-Po in all of its iterations, not to mention every bit of minutia on the Ford small-block family from 221 to 302, then you owe it to yourself to check out Bob Mannel's excellent book. Bob graciously offered his assistance in gathering info, supplying photos, and verifying our story and we barely scratched the surface. His book is available via RPM Press at or you can reach RPM Press at 423/245-6678 for phone orders.