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Tuesday July 22, 2014
Ford's FE Big Block V8 Exposed, 'Goodguys Indy, '68 Road Runner, '60 Thunderbird , 2011 Mustang vs Camaro and Challenger - More!

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Ford's FE Big Block Story Part 1 - 1958 through 1965
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to See the the Article

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1963 Ford-Mercury 427

The high water mark for the FE was the 427. Offered in low, medium and high rise versions - it was always rated at 410 or 425 HP.

1958-60 B Series V8

Here is the page from the 1958 Brochure - note the heavy emphasis on the "new engineering".

1958 Edsel E-400 V8

The 1958-59 "E-400" Edsel FE was rated at 303 HP
@ 4600 rpm and 409 ft. lbs. of torque at 2900 rpm.

401 HP 390 cid Ford

The first multiple-carbureted FE was the 1961 401 HP. It was a dealer installed manifold on the NASCAR hi-po engine.

1964 SOHC 427

The biggest and baddest FE was the 427 SOHC race only engine.
It developed over 600 HP in streetable trim..

by Wild About Cars Staff - reprint with permission only.

The Ford FE V8 engine was used so extensively that we decided to break the description into three segments: early passenger car applications, late passenger car applications, and truck applications. Part 1 will deal with the FE passenger applications through 1965.

The Ford FE engine was the Company's answer to the rising weight of US cars in the late 50s and the demand for more horsepower and torque from the buyers. "FE" stood for "Ford-Edsel" which was where the engine was intended to be used at the time of introduction. The FE filled the need for a relatively lightweight large cid engine set above the workhorse Ford small Y-block which had reached its maximum size potential at 312 cid. The FE series engine was very sturdy and versatile and was used in cars, trucks, buses, and boats, as well as for industrial pumps and other equipment

The FE was available from 1958 and 1976. The same engine, with minor package changes, was designated the "FT" block, and was used in medium and heavy Ford trucks from 1964 through 1978. The  FT differed primarily by having a steel instead of nodular iron crankshaft, a larger crank snouts, different distributor shaft, different water pumps and other minor differences. Starting in 1969, the "385" series V8 began to replace the FE up until it was discontinued in 1976.

The FE and FT engines continued Ford's "Y-block" design, so called because the block casting extends below the crankshaft centerline, designed to give great rigidity and support to the crankshaft and its bearings. In FE engines, the casting extends 3.625" below the crankshaft centerline, which is more than an inch below the bottom of the crank journals.

FE blocks were cast as either a "top-oiler" or "side-oiler". The top-oiler block, which was the first iteration, sent oil to the top center (camshaft) first, and the side-oiler block sent oil along a passage located on the lower side of the block – oiling the crankshaft, first. All FE and FT engines have a bore spacing of 4.63", and a deck height of 10.17". The main crankshaft journal diameter is 2.749". .

The FE was very versatile and was used in all of the Corporation's models except Lincoln. As an example, in the mid 60s, the FE was installed in Ford Galaxie, Ford Fairlane, Mercury Cougar, Mercury Cyclone, Mercury Meteor, Mercury Marauder, Mercury Monterey, Mercury S-55, Ford Mustang, Ford Thunderbird, Ford LTD, Ford Torino, Ford Ranchero, Ford Talladega, and Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt, and Ford trucks.

Significant was that the FE block was perhaps the first to utilize what would later be known as the "thin wall" casting technique. Ford engineers developed a process that allowed greater control over the molds used to cast the blocks and re-engineered the casting process to allow for consistent dimensional results in the metal pouring. This resulted in less metal being used, lower cost of materials for Ford and notably, lighter engines.

A Ford FE weighed 650 lbs. with all iron components. With an aluminum intake and aluminum water pump this weight could be reduced to less than 600 lbs. At the time, engines of similar displacements such as the 409-413 cid offerings from GM and Chrysler weighed over 700 lbs.

The FE began its life as a 332 cid engine and grew to 428 cid. Ford was able to enlarge the block to 483 cid, but that iteration never made it into production. A chart is included that covers all the FE engines, but let's break down the various cid versions from 1958 through 1965.

The 332 cid Version
The smallest FE block Ford was the 332 (331.8) cid version introduced in 1958. It had a bore of 4.00" and a stroke of 3.30". It was used in Ford-branded cars in 1958 and 1959, US and Canadian-built Edsels in 1959, and in export-configured 1958 and 1959 Edsels. It was offered in two-barrel and four-barrel versions.

The two-barrel model produced 240 HP @ 4600 rpm and 340 ft. lbs. of torque at 2400 rpm in 1958, while a four-barrel carbureted version produced 265 HP @ 4600 rpm and 360 ft. lbs. of torque at 2600 rpm. Both had a 9.5:1 compression ratio. When installed in Fords and Edsels in 1959 it was only the two-barrel model and was rated at 225 HP @ 4400 rpm and 325 ft. lbs. of torque at 2200 rpm with 8.9:1 compression

The 352 cid Version
The 352 was Introduced in 1958 as part of the "Interceptor" (high performance) line of FE engines. The 352 has an actual displacement of 351.9 cid. It is a stroked 332 with 3.50" stroke while retaining the 332's 4.00" bore. The 352 was released as a high output 4-barrel model, and called "Interceptor Special V-8" made 300 HP @ 4600 rpm and 395 ft. lbs. of torque at 2800 rpm with 10.5:1 compression. There was an engine available for racing in 1958 called "Interceptor V-8 Thunderbird Special", though no HP and Torque figures were released.

For the 1959 model year, the FE engine series was renamed "Thunderbird V-8" and "Thunderbird Special V-8" and were rated the same as in 1958. When installed in Mercury vehicles, these engines were named "Marauder". It continued in service in the Edsel line in 1960, where it was called the "Super Express" V8 being rated at made 300 HP @ 4400 rpm and 381 ft. lbs. of torque @ 2800 rpm with 9.6:1 compression.

In 1960 Ford created a High Performance version of the 352 rated at 360 HP @ 6000rpm. It featured an aluminum 4bbl intake manifold, a Holley 4160 Carburetor, cast iron "header" style exhaust manifolds, 10.5:1 compression ratio and solid lifters . . .

To read more about the FoMoCo FE Series V8 - Click HERE!

More Stories & Articles on the
"FE" series Engine:

For a Road Test of a 1965 427 Galaxie - Click HERE!

For the intro of the 1963 427 Engine - Click HERE!

To learn about Ford High Rise 427 Heads - Click HERE!

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1968 Road Runner Ads
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Many may know that the Plymouth Road Runner was a huge sales and marketing success. But back in late 1967, when Plymouth was preparing to launch the '68 cars, no one at Chrysler Corp. was sure that the concept of a low bucks low frills supercar would fly. Some wanted to make it a cheaper version of the GTX, but for whatever reason, the concept stayed true to form with a plane Jane no-frills B-Body with just two engine choices 383 and Hemi wont out. The rest is history.

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1960 Thunderbird Brochure
1960 Ford Thunderbird Foldout Brochure

The 4-seat Ford Thunderbird had been launched in 1958 and had been a hands down success from the gitgo. By 1960, the styling was starting to look dated, especially with the launch of the new Ford large car, which was in 1960, a stunner. Ford was working up a new car to launch next year, but they pulled out all the stops in sales and marketing to milk the last year of production. We know, in retrospect, it worked - to the tune of 92,728 units. See what you think.

To see the 1960 Ford Thunderbird Brochure - Click Here!

2011 Mustang Comparo
2011 Mustang Road Test - Comparo with Camaro & Challenger

It's already history, though it only happened a few years ago. By 2009 the "retro" Mustang was long in the tooth in styling and way, way log in the tooth in performance when compared to the Challenger and Camaro. Ford needed a quick injection of something, and they chose to go all in. For 2010 they heavily freshened styling - but for 2011 they pulled out their ace - a new 5.0L 4-cam V8! See how the "Coyote" stacked up against the competitors - in the first comparo.

To read the comparison between the Mustang, Challenger & Camaro - Click HERE!

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