What does it take to build a monster--a wicked winder that is only fit for the track or some insanely wild street car with no bones about using as much fuel as a battleship and pouring out more horsepower than a Sherman tank? Well, Allan Shepley and Brian Self of Mustang Central (www. mustangcentral.com; 478/956-3871) in Byron, Georgia, were handed that challenge by customer John Scantlin of Nome, Alaska.
This all started because John wants to run a 351 Windsor that has been stroked and poked to 408 cubes in his local drag racing league. He was looking for something in the 700hp range that could deliver the power with stone-cold reliability. After all, it isn't as if John can just drop it back by Allan's place for minor repairs, as they are separated by more than 2,000 land miles.
We'll also say that engines such as this one are not cheap to build. They require bucket trucks full of cash, as well as time and attention to detail. We're not saying you can't build this type of engine--we're just saying it gets expensive, and pro shops like Allan's are sometimes the best route to keep you from having a really expensive explosion.
THE BASIC BREW
What John requested and Allan and Brian delivered is a package with set parameters. The engine's sole function is drag racing. It is intended to go fast in a straight line, and, hopefully, to knock the snot out of the other fellows on the scene in Alaska. What John asked for is as follows: 750-800 hp that would turn in excess of 8,000 rpm, run after run. He has no intentions of pushing the V-8 to that extreme, but he wants to know the power is there should he need it.
ONLY AS STRONG AS ITS PARTS
A well-built engine is only as strong as its weakest parts. Therefore, if you want an engine capable of turning 8,000-plus rpm, you need to build with the best parts. Allan began with the best block the current Ford Racing Performance Parts catalog had to offer for their application--a 351 siamese-bore wet sump block. The bore set on this engine is siamesed to allow for larger bore out. In fact, the Ford catalog states that the block can be safely bored and stroked out to 454 cubes! Our goal is about 46 cubes shy of that.
We've given you a visual tour of the 408-cube monster. Now it's time for the piston to meet the fuel. Running 116-octane race fuel, the engine had been broken in and made ready. Passes one through six were not super spectacular, but that soon changed. Below is the "baseline" for the final numbers. Here is where Al Moody, our tuner and operator for the day, started out. Al told us "the engine will probably pull about 760 horses." Apparently, Al knows his stuff. Dyno work was done at Barnette Performance in Atlanta; [(404) 522-1320] using a Superflow SF-901 Dynamometer.