Jim Smart
April 1, 2006
Photos By: Mark Houlahan, Donald Farr, Manufacturers

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Mufp_0604_01z Ford_mustang_build EngineMufp_0604_03z Ford_mustang_engine_build Master_cylider
Stainless Steel Brakes Corporation provided us with a four-wheel disc brake package, vastly improving braking performance under the great demands of a powerful high-displacement V-8. After all, stopping is more important than accelerating, isn't it?
Mufp_0604_05z Ford_mustang_engine_build Master_cylinder
We like the billet master cylinder and power booster from Stainless Steel Brakes. This is a nice, polished piece that's easy to install and will look good for many years.
Mufp_0604_04z Ford_mustang_engine_build Engine_bayMufp_0604_06z Ford_mustang_engine_build Brake_upgrade_kit
Stainless Steel Brakes offers a couple of different rear disc brake packages for 8- and 9-inch Ford rearends. We like the A111 kit using SN-95 ('94-'04) Mustang disc brakes. This is a proven piece with a working parking brake.
Mufp_0604_07z Ford_mustang_engine_build Torque_converter
This is the Competition trans from Performance Automatic. Had Classic Creations gone with a small-block, we would have opted for a Super Streeter. The 514 needs more, including a 2,500 rpm stall-speed torque converter with furnace-brazed fins and a super-tough stator for optimum performance.

Just imagine the wild and crazy things you can do with an old Ford classic when the creative mind runs amok. We can build them, slam them, chop them, narrow them, shave them, rake them, and yes, we can stuff them too. We are free to stuff old Fords full of raw, nasty, brute power only a high-displacement big-block can deliver.

Power swaps have been going on since the dawn of internal combustion transportation more than 100 years ago. Going after greater sums of power in our quest to go faster and impress the other guy isn't a new concept by any means. We do it with just about every type of transportation imaginable.

Classic Creations of Central Florida has built an awesome first generation Mustang sedan delivery-wagon restomod. Of course, most of us know Ford has never produced a Mustang station wagon of any kind in the marque's 42-year history. However, those with a lot of imagination have created really interesting Mustangs Ford never built; two-seat roadsters, pickup trucks, station wagons, limousines, 4x4 High-Boys, and sedan deliveries.

When Classic Creations began planning its Mustang sedan delivery, it had no real interest in building another small-block ponycar. Classic Creations wanted more. Enter Mustang & Fords magazine and Jon Barrett Hot Rod Engines of Midwest City, Oklahoma. Both were key elements in this project.

A 385-series or FE big-block can be installed in a '65-'66 Mustang by altering the shock towers and cutting a lot of sheetmetal, but if we're going to go this far, we might as well opt for a complete front suspension swap that will make the most of power, handling, and space. Don't just do an engine swap. Swap the whole entire business in the interest of safety, drivability, and handling.

In pumping up the twist in a 40-year-old Ford, a power management system must be the highest priority in the interest of safety. Horsepower and torque are worthless if you don't have the means to control them responsibly. Power out of control in inexperienced hands can get you maimed or killed, immediately ending all discussion about who has the most power.

Because Classic Creations understands the importance of building a big-block Mustang that is not only fun to drive, but also safe, it opted for a Heidt's Hot Rod Shop frontend based on the proven '74-'78 Mustang II design. This is an affordable suspension design street rodders have been using for decades, which is why it's been adapted to classic Fords like the Mustang, Falcon, Fairlane, and Comet. Heidt's front suspension not only improves handling and braking, it opens up a compact Ford's engine compartment to the largest big-blocks. With it, we can enjoy big-block or late-model overhead cam modular V-8 power. Small-blocks fit with room to spare.

The Heidt's frontend is welded to the Mustang's front framerail boxes, eliminating the shock towers and the Falcon-derived coilover upper control-arm suspension system. What's more, the Heidt's frontend also does away with the outdated worm-and-sector steering gear. Instead, a precision rack-and-pinion steering system breathes new life into a good-looking classic. Classic Creations has chosen a power rack-and-pinion steering system from Heidt's, making it easier to manage the additional weight a 514-inch big-block will place on the frontend. Even with a manual rack, steering effectiveness is tenfold over the old, mid-century conventional steering the Mustang, Falcon, Fairlane and Comet had from the factory.

When you're ordering a Heidt's front suspension system, remember some items aren't included in the kit, like the steering shaft assembly, engine mounts, and other odds and ends. Discuss what's included and what is not with a Heidt's sales representative when you call, and don't be afraid to ask questions.

Classic Creations decided to go with a Stainless Steel Brakes Force 10 front disc brake package. The beauty of a braking system like this is performance comparable to big-block power. It stops an old Mustang as quickly as it accelerates thanks to Stainless Steel Brakes' 11-inch vented and slotted rotors in the A148-30E kit. These guys are nearly an inch thick (0.875 inch) with unidirectional vanes for exceptional cooling. Stainless Steel Brakes offers the Force 10 four-piston caliper in a variety of custom colors, including clear powdercoat. The A148-30E Force 10 disc brake kit is $1,350, a wise investment in your safety.

In back, Classic Creations chose a Currie 9-inch rearend with 3.55 Traction-Lok gears flanked by 10.5-inch disc brakes from Stainless Steel Brakes. These are the A111-2 SN-95 units with slotted rotors and single-piston calipers. The nice thing about these late-model Mustang disc brakes is the parking brakes actually work. The standard underdash Ford handbrake doesn't work very well with any brake, including the original drums. It is wise to consider a '69-'73 foot parking brake or a late-model handbrake that fits between the front seats, both of which offer a better mechanical advantage over the T-handle parking brakes Ford used.

Stainless Steel disc brakes in all four corners are plenty of braking effectiveness as long as they are backed up with a dual-hydraulic braking system that includes a distribution block and a proportioning valve to isolate and adjust rear brake pressure. Classic Creations thought of this, as well as correct size tires and wheels, during the planning stages. We stress correct size wheels and tires because sizing is critical for ride, handling, and safety. You will get a smoother ride with the kind of sidewall present with 15- and 16-inch tires. Ride quality begins to suffer at 17 inches because there is less sidewall to take up road shock. However, a wider hoof print and less sidewall translates to better handling. The choice is yours.

Eaton Detroit Spring provided us with five-leaf, mid-eye springs for the rear suspension to improve handling and lower ride height, both of which are critical to better handling. When we lower the body, the center of gravity improves, keeping even a big-block car on course in tough cornering.

These safety features, coupled with good common-sense driving skills, should keep you out of trouble.

A Driveline Designed For Big-Block Power
We have to admit it's hilarious to consider fuel economy when planning for a huge 514 ci underhood. Our first thought was a brute C6 or a big-shaft, close-ratio Ford Top Loader transmission. Would you believe Classic Creations opted for a Ford Automatic Overdrive (AOD) from Performance Automatic Transmissions?

Overdrive serves two basic purposes, even in a fat-block, big-inch car. Because overdrive lowers cruise rpm, it improves fuel economy to some degree, even with 514 ci. Overdrive also lowers rpm, which reduces engine wear and tear and increases longevity. Another benefit is reduced cabin noise with lower rpm ranges.

Performance Automatic Racing Transmissions is located in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Gaithersburg, Maryland. These folks build extraordinary high-performance automatic transmissions, including Ford C4, C6, AOD, AODE, and the 4R70W. You can order any of these transmissions three ways; Super Streeter, Competition, and Super Comp.

The Super Streeter has been a proven reliable performer for 16 years and will take up to 450 hp.

Performance Automatic's Competition transmissions kick the tough/reliable claim up a cog or two with the latest racing technology for drag racers; the Competition can handle the torture of nitrous and turbocharged/supercharged engines, and it can take big cubes.

The Super Comp is Performance Automatic's hallmark slushbox, track tested and built for a lot of tough competition. Performance Automatic hand picks Super Comp cores and goes to extremes when it comes to inspection and tolerances. The Super Comp comes with a deep cast-aluminum pan to ensure plenty of lubrication and cooling capacity.

Classic Creations ordered the Competition AOD because it can take the hammering the 514-inch big-block will deliver. Not so long ago, you would never consider putting the AOD or AODE behind any big-block V-8. Today, companies like Lentech and Performance Automatic have redesigned the AOD and AODE for exceptional performance, including the raw power of a big-block.

Big-block power also needs a strong link with the Currie 9-inch rearend. This is where suppliers like Inland Empire Driveline and Mustangs Plus have the goods for safe, reliable power transfer. Inland Empire Driveline driveshafts, universal joints, and yokes are available from Mustangs Plus. Steel, aluminum, and composite driveshafts are available. The least expensive is the steel shaft, followed by aluminum and composite. The selection depends on your budget and how you intend to drive the car.

Mufp_0604_08z Ford_mustang_engine_build Brake_disk
Rear disc brakes are easy to install once the old drum binders have been removed. Here, we're fitting the sedan delivery with 10.5-inch slotted rotors and single-piston calipers from Stainless Steel Brakes.
Mufp_0604_10z Ford_mustang_engine_build Brake_disk
Slotted rotors from Stainless Steel Brakes don't just look striking; these slots help vent gassing from hot brake pads, which further prevents brake fade under demanding conditions.
Mufp_0604_09z Ford_mustang_engine_build Installing_torque_converter
It is very important to remember proper torque converter seating in the front pump of an AOD or AODE. This is easy to screw up and will cause complete transmission failure if you don't comply. The converter shell hub must be completely seated in the pump rotor, along with proper shaft engagement. This is the 10-inch Pro Launch converter, which will mandate higher cooling capacity.
Mufp_0604_11z Ford_mustang_engine_build Engine_install
Performance Automatic makes a special bellhousing that allows us to mate the AOD or AODE to a 385-series big-block.
Jon Barrett Hot Rod Engines provided Classic Creations with this 514ci stroker kit for 385-series 429/460ci big-blocks. Included in this kit are a nodular-iron 4.150-inch stroke crank, cap-screw forged I-beam rods, forged flat-top pistons, Total Seal piston rings, and Clevite 77 main and rod bearings. Pistons are available in standard and various oversizes up to .060-inch.

Build For Power
It is truly incredible how much power we're able to achieve from a given amount of displacement today. These great power gains come from better cylinder head and camshaft technology, and stuffing more displacement into the blocks we've been playing with for four decades. Stroker kits have enabled us to pump big-block displacement into lightweight small-blocks. Just imagine, a 347ci powerhouse based on the 289 or 302, or a 427ci based on the 351W.

With all of this stroker logic in mind, what does this approach do for the 429/460ci 385-series fat-block? We can grow small-blocks as high as 429ci. However, did you know you can huff as much as 600 ci into the 429/460 block? You can with a variety of forged- and nodular-iron stroker kits in the marketplace. To keep things conservative, Jon Barrett Hot Rod Engines errs on the side of reliability. We want a big-block that's going to live to fight another day. We're pumping the cubes to 514 ci with a 4340 steel stroker kit.

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