Thanks to modern tooling that respects tradition, great engines from the ’60s can be reincarnated with plenty of power, yet there’s no loss of nostalgic character.
Take this 487ci Ford SOHC engine that EngineLabs was alerted to by R&R Performance of Spring Lake Park, Minnesota. It was built by Ford FE specialist Kurt Gartner, who is based in nearby Plymouth, and starts with an 1966 427 cast-iron, side-oiler block. But on the topside are a pair of Bill Coon heads and a Dove intake manifold — both aftermarket products designed in recent years to fill the void of rare original-equipment availability.
The combination works rather well. Running on pump gas, the engine pulled 661 horsepower at 6,500 rpm with peak torque of 560 lb-ft at 4,600 rpm.
One of the neat features during the dyno run was the glass window on the right bank so R&R’s Ron Quarnstrom could monitor timing chain movement. The 6-foot-long timing chain has a rather notorious reputation, and considerations have to be made to achieve proper cam timing. Gartner advanced the right cam two degrees and retarded the left side two degrees to account for chain stretch.
Cam specs are 252/252 at .050 with .612-inch lift, 115 degrees of lobe separation and 111 degrees installed centerline (lead cam).
R&R performed a mild hand-port on the heads, resulting in 375 cfm flow on the intake ports and 303 cfm on the exhaust ports — both at .600-inch lift. The heads are fitted with T&D rocker arms and Manley valves. Filling up the block are a Scat 4.250-inch-stroke crank, Compstar 6.7-inch rods and Ross pistons secured with Chevy big-block-style pins. A pair of Holley 1850 carbs feed the fuel to the Dove intake. Jay Brown fabricated the inspection plates for the front cover.
This engine will go into a Ford Cobra replication. Gartner has another project based around an all-alloy 523ci FE with dual quads that will fit under the teardrop hood of a Thunderbolt clone. R&R will handle some of the machine work and all the dyno testing, so expect updates in the near future. The team is looking for 900 horsepower.