482CI, 725HP, FE Ford Engine
Chris Whitney, Sun Valley, CA
FE is the symbol for iron on the periodic table of elements, and a lot of people believe that Ford named its line of V-8 engines produced between 1964 and 1976 because it tips the scales at more than 600 pounds, fully dressed. Iron = heavy, get it? For its time, however, the Ford FE engine was a lightweight. It was designed as a thin-wall casting, giving it a nearly 100-pound advantage over its contemporaries.
Internally, FE stood for Ford Edsel, which differentiated it from the MEL (Mercury, Edsel, Lincoln) line of engines. The Ford FE engine block was the foundation for many of Ford's legendary powerplants, including the 427 that dominated the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966 and the SOHC Cammer engine designed for NASCAR racing that was banned in 1965 before it even got a chance to race. Ford began to phase out the FE block in the early '70s, replacing it with the Cleveland and Windsor small-blocks in smaller cars and the 385 series in the big cars. However, a core group of enthusiasts remains, and like all hot rodders, they have improved the breed through trial and error. Here is a fine example of how much this engine has evolved.
Chris Whitney is the shop foreman at Galpin Auto Sports and a fanatic driver of Ford FE engine powered drag cars. He is almost finished assembling this supersize, supercharged FE that will soon reside under the hood of his first car-a '67 Fairlane.
An engine this big doesn't really need a supercharger-naturally aspirated, it made 600 hp and 580 lb-ft. But for a guy like Chris, who regularly pulls the wheels in his '67 Fairlane wagon, there is no such thing as too much power. So that explains the Vortech V2-T supercharger mounted prominently above the water pump. It serves up a tasty 8 psi of boost to the Quick Fuel 750-cfm blow-through carburetor stashed inside the carb box. At full boost, the engine makes 725 hp and 650 lb-ft. By the way, those cool-looking pulleys are from Concept One.
B. Ford FE engine - Ignition
The unmistakable red cap IDs this MSD 8594 distributor. The wires are also from MSD and are routed to Autolite plugs.
C. Cam And Heads
A Comp hydraulic roller cam is nestled down in the lifter valley. The specs are impressive: 236/242 duration and 0.617/0.613-inch lift ground on a 114-degree LSA. The pushrods are also by Comp; the rocker arms are from T&D and offer a 1.76:1 ratio. They open 2.19/1.73-inch valves inside a pair of Edelbrock heads that were custom CNC-ported by Keith Craft Performance Engines, a company known to Ford guys for its high horsepower combinations. On the bench, these things flow 340 cfm on the intake side at 0.600-inch valve lift. The head gaskets are by Cometic, and everything is held together with ARP fasteners. On top are a pair of Branda "Power by Ford" valve covers.
Robert Pond is another FE fanatic who has been building and racing FEs for decades. Years of building power and breaking parts led him to eventually design and manufacture his own FE block that corrects a number of weaknesses in the factory design. His blocks have thicker webbing around the main bearing journals, thicker cam journals, siamesed cylinders, and a 1/2-inch-thick deck that according to Chris "will handle boost or nitrous with no distortion." Robert Pond blocks are available in 245-pound iron or featherweight 120-pound aluminum. The iron-only factory block weighs 195 pounds. Also cool, these blocks are poured here in the U.S. at a foundry in Ohio. Several bore and stroke combinations are available, up to 4.310 for AL and 4.400 for iron block. All thePond blocks come with billet main caps. Interested? Go torobertpondmotorsports.com. Chris' block has 4.25-inch bores. Dougan's Engine and Machine did all the block prep.
E. Reciprocating Assembly
The crank is also from Robert Pond. It's a forged-steel piece with a 4.25-inch stroke. Next up are the CP pistons with Total Seal rings on forged Carrillo H-beam rods. "They can handle boost," Chris says. He's set up to run a 9.0:1 compression ratio.
These elaborately bent Hooker Super Competition headers are needed to fit around all the stuff inside the relatively cramped Fairlane engine compartment. The 21/8-inch primary tubes meet at 3 1/2-inch collectors. Extreme Coatings in Oxnard, California, applied the thermal coating.