No Limits Magazine from Wild About Cars
Profiling High Performance Cars and the Golden Era of Detroit Iron
- We Bring History to Life and Put Resources in the Hands of the Enthusiast -
Monday March 31, 2014
Ford Small Block History, '57 Plymouth Fury, '67 GS 400, & '64 El Camino Tests, '87 GNX Poster, Delonzo Rhyne's "Thunderhawk" - and More!

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Ford’s Amazing Small Block – Part One: 1962-1968
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The Indy V8

Ford Used a "stock block" 260 V8 (highly modified)
in the 1963 Indy 500. Here it is at full song on the dyno.

1964 Mustang Hi-Po

This PR shot was used to announce the Hi-Po 289 for early Mustangs. It is apparent that it is early because of generator fitment.

by Wild About Cars Staff - reprint with permission only.

We can look back at the forty plus years that the 221-351 Ford V8 was installed in cars – not to mention that you can still buy one as a crate engine even today and marvel at how versatile the compact design was – powering everything from a mundane Ford sedan to an Indianapolis race car.

But how did it come about, and why did it reach such popularity? In this article, we intend to talk about the how – later on we'll address its successes and iterations. First, we should remember that Ford already had a “small block”; the 234-312 “Y-Block”. A few things worked against this tried and true V8; one, it was heavy, weighing in at over 600 lbs; and two, the cylinder heads were not state of the art – and were limited in their breathing. Second, dimensionally, it was as large as many “big block” V8s of the era, making fitment in Ford’s planned “mid-size” Fairlane and Meteor impractical.

Thus, their design parameters resulted in not only a light weight and compact V8, but they were determined to make it sturdy and very reliable. Larger than necessary main bearings were designed in ostensibly because they had removed the deep block surrounding the mains to save weight, they needed a short stroke to keep the deck height low, so the engine would not be wide, and to ensure no hot spots in the head, they went to the IEIEIEIE valve placement. To reduce costs they utilized a similar rocker arm design to Chevrolet and Pontiac, which was also lighter in weight.

Assuming the engine would grow in size right from the outset, they placed the bore centers far enough apart to allow a 4.0” bore. The stroke was short, due to the engine’s height, also lowering piston speed. The result was a compact, lightweight engine that had great HP potential. As mentioned it took advantage of “thin wall-casting” (pioneered in the Ford Falcon I-6). It was 24” wide, 29” long, and 27.5” tall. And weighed only 470 lb dry in spite its cast iron construction, making it the lightest and most compact V8 engines of its time.

The engine debuted in the 1962 Ford Fairlane and Mercury Meteor at 221 cubic inches (the same size as original Flathead V8) making a modest 143 HP, and it gave the cars peppy performance. Ford realized, however, that were the engine to replace the 292-312 Y-Block across the board, more cubes would be needed, and a 260 cubic inch version was released mid-year 1962 and followed in 1963 with a Hi-Po 260 in early 1963. In late 1963 the 289 cubic inch version was released for 1964 model Ford cars. At the same time the famous “K-Code” Hi-Po 289 was offered, carrying over most of the components in the 260 Hi-Po.

The 289 carried the standard of the small block until 1968. When the 302 cu. in version was released. The 302’s architecture remained basically the same until the pushrod V8 was replaced with the “Modular” OHC V8 in the mid 90’s.

The 221-302 was and is still called the “Windsor” V8 because the original engines were produced in Windsor Ontario, Canada. After 1968, most were produced in the Cleveland engine plant, but because the special canted valve small block originated from there, they continued to be called Windsors until they were no longer produced. The 302 remained in production in Ford products through 2001, and is still available to this day as a crate engine . . .

To Read more detail about Ford's Fabulous Small Block - Click HERE!

To Read A road test of the Hi-Po Mustang - Click Here!

More Stories at Wild About Cars and the Auto History Digital Documents Library
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1957 Plymouth Fury Test 1957 Plymouth Fury Road Test

Motor Life Magazine got to drive the Plymouth Fury that appeared at the 1957 Daytona Speed Trials from Detroit - and back. The drive was made with 5 passengers and an full load of luggage and the car still handled well - even in the mountains of Tenn. Their final comment was ". . . this 1957 Fury is the most pleasing Plymouth to date."

Click here to read the 1957 Plymouth Fury Test!

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1967 Buick GS 400 Test 1967 Buick GS 400 Road Test

Car Life Magazine tested the new GS 400 in their January 1 issue. I was "new" because unlike its similar '66 model, it sported Buick's new BB V8 - at 400 cubes - specifically designed for the GS 400. They described it as "pleasant" though it certainly had plenty of go - turning the 1/4 mile at 14.7 @ 97 mph. Frankly, the understated styling was what resulted in their opinion - but they loved the quality and plushness of the car.

To read the rest of the 1967 GS 400 Test - Click HERE!

1964 Chevy El Camino Tests 1964 Chevelle El Camino Road Tests

Both Car Life and Motor Trend tested the new El Camino for 1964 - both were 4-speeds - one a 300 HP 327 and the other a 230 HP 283. Regardless - both magazines loved the concept and execution. CL said ". . . this sort of vehicle, despite its big hairy engine, is just about the ultimate in utility. Motor Trend espoused "For anyone needing the haulability of a pickup plus the classy styling of a sedan . . . the El Camino's the car."

To read these 1964 El Camino Tests - Click HERE!

1987 Buick GNX Poster Modern Muscle - 1987 Buick/ASC GNX Poster

In 1987 Buick and ASC teamed up to produce the First GNX. Only 500 were made and practically every one was spoken for before a single car was delivered. The poster was released regardless - and it was a hotter seller than the car - quickly going out of print - a testament to the thirst for high performance cars in the late 80s. Guess what? You can download and print this poster and be the envy of all those who missed out in 1987!

To see the 1987 Buick GNX Poster - Click HERE!

Kurt Busch Wins Martinsville Race news - Kurt Busch Surprises at Martinsville!

The comeback isn't complete – after all, there are more races to win, more trophies to hoist – but at least Kurt Busch seems on his way. His surprising victory on Sunday afternoon at chilly and brisk Martinsville Speedway was his first this year, his second at Martinsville and the 25th of his Sprint Cup career . . . .

Click here to read more at the Autoweek Racing website!

Delonzo Rhyne Mustang.
Featured Car - Delonzo Rhyne's 1966 Ford Mustang "Thunderhawk"

Delonzo came across a 1966 Mustang convertible that he was going to use to make a Shelby replica, but one day at a Mustang Club of Indianapolis meeting, a Pontiac Firebird went speeding by. When Delonzo got home he had an idea. He thought of a Predator . . . a Mustang that would prey on the other cars on the road. Thus the Thunderhawk was born . . .

CLICK HERE to see the awesome "Thuderhawk" story.

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