Before there was a Fairlane V-8 or tall-deck Windsor, the Ford world was ruled by the FE V-8 engine. Introduced in 1958 as a 332, it was quickly opened up to displace 390 ci. The FE was destined to replace the MEL (Mercury/Edsel/Lincoln) V-8 engine, which had been a mainstay powerplant for the larger Ford offerings. The 390 became standard issue for the luxury Thunderbird, and the FE was later opened up to a maximum displacement of 428 ci.
The 390 and 428 were similar in that they both utilized a two-bolt main cap cylinder block. Even the Cobra Jet version of the 428 utilized two bolt mains on the crank saddle. However, the 427 Ford is different from either the 390 or 428 in that it used an unusual four-bolt main cap arrangement. The FE 427 featured four-bolt mains on journals two, three and four. The engine had a unique cross-bolted configuration where horizontal main-cap bolts entered from the outside through the block skirt and secured the central caps from both sides. The cross-bolting proved to be very effective in preventing main cap walk or wobble at higher rpm.
The extra durability this block offered made it the racer’s choice because the additional support at the crankshaft meant that the engine held together when the two-bolt design might fail. When the time came for Shelby to power the big-block version of his Cobra sports car, he chose the 427 because of the enhanced durability factor. However, some of the big-block Cobras came equipped with the 428.
Ford Performance Solutions had a customer who had been working on a big-block Cobra replica and wanted an authentic FE engine to go with his project. He had no interest in a stroked Windsor, so a brand-new Carroll Shelby FE 427 aluminum cylinder block was procured. This way there would be no guessing about the history or condition of a used block, and the aluminum material would put the finished engine in the same weight category as a garden-variety Windsor. Join us as we have a look at the collection of hardware that will be used to construct what amounts to a brand-new all-aluminum Ford FE engine. We will then observe some of the more important aspects of the exacting assembly. Finally, follow us to Dyno Motive in Placentia, California, where we join owner Eric Weinrich for a dyno session that tells us what the combination is worth torque and horsepower-wise.
At the heart of the reciprocating assembly is this cast steel stroker crankshaft from Paci
This assembly of reciprocating hardware is some of the best available. The Ross forged-alu
The basis for the build is this Carroll Shelby aluminum 427 FE cylinder block. Made of A35
These cylinder heads are the Edelbrock Performer RPM FE (PN 60087). They will work in plac
This cam is a Pacific Performance hydraulic roller. It’s a custom grind with a 0.632/0.655
These FE shaft rocker arm assemblies are from Pacific Performance. With the mounting pedes
These hydraulic roller lifters use a tie-bar to retain the roller orientation to the cam l
This interesting aluminum intake is an original Ford 406/427 dual-quad casting. It’s a rar
This photo shows the aluminum timing cover that goes with the Shelby block. If you want to
Before installing the engine, the owner trucked it to Dyno Motive for testing. Here are the results using the dyno’s Hooker Super Comp headers and the Ford dual-quad intake with a pair of 600-cfm Demon carburetors.
The 482hp level is almost one per cubic inch—this is a good start. Once the engine is broken in and the carburetion fine-tuned, we’re confident that 500 hp is easily within reach. How must it feel to have over 500 lb-ft of torque at just 3,000 rpm in such a light car? (Absolutely incredible! —Ed.)
This Canton winged-sump oil pan is a good choice once the fit in the chassis has been ensu
We did a lot of looking over the shoulder while the Ford Performance Solutions technician
With the crank at rest in the saddle, the main caps were set in position. To retain the ca
The bore diameter of the iron sleeves also checked out in spec at 4.310 inches, while the
This piston ring checked out a little tight, so this special ring grinding tool is used to
When the piston is loaded with rings, it goes into a ring compressor. This compressor uses
On the bottom end, the rod caps are installed one by one. The capscrews are a beefy 3?8-in
To prevent wipeouts at start-up, careful preparation of the camshaft pays off, even with a
As you can see, the crank gear in this timing set is slotted to accept the crank key in ma
It’s a lot easier to degree the camshaft now rather than wait until the engine is in the c
Here, the timing cover goes into place after careful positioning of the gasket. The black
The oil pump drive rod is held in exactly the right position while the new oil pump is low
|What Did It Cost?|
|CS 427 aluminum block||$5,622|
|4.250-inch stroker crank ||$399|
|Moly rings ||$68|
|Edelbrock bare heads||$1,279|
|CNC porting and components||$1,157|
|Canton oil pan||$279|
All of the prices seen earlier are totaled here.
This cost does not include taxes or labor for assembly or installation. The intake manifold is an item you would have to hunt for and could cost anywhere from $200 to $2,000.
The one-piece oil pan gasket is plainly visible as the Canton pan is lowered into position
The harmonic balancer has been installed as well as the timing pointer made for the Shelby
FelPro gaskets are installed over the ARP cylinder head stud set, and the fully dressed Ed
It’s kind of impossible to overlube an engine in preparation for start-up. Here, each lift
For obvious reasons, steel washers are installed over the studs before the retaining nuts
A modern single-plane intake might not have this problem, but the vintage manifold has a h
The cuts were easily made with the in-house machinery available to FPS, and the intake dro
We’ve dropped the pushrods into place, and in this photo, the studs that locate the shaft
The entire shaft rocker assembly was dropped into place over the studs. Here, the supplied
Freshly built, this Shelby all-aluminum animal is ready for the customer. After some pent
Since the lifters are hydraulic, the valve adjustment is the standard drill for each valve