Bill Mitchell has done it all, from turning wrenches on the original Baldwin-Motion supercars in the early-'70s to fielding successful drag and circle-track race cars. He is best known, however, for the competition and street engines assembled through his New York-based World Products/Bill Mitchell Hardcore Engines shop.

Starting with Merlin big-blocks and evolving into Motown small-blocks, Mitchell has become synonymous with monster Chevy engines. That's changing, however, as he and World Products roll out a new line of Man O' War blocks, short-block assemblies, and crate engines--all of them based on the Ford 302/351 Windsor-type engine.

Moving into the Blue Oval business was a logical step because World Products already produces a successful line of Windsor-style iron and aluminum cylinder heads. Mitchell is also leveraging the lower-cost block machining process he developed on his Chevy-style blocks, which helps make the sturdy block castings affordable to those of us without sponsorship decals on our car doors.

With guidance and suggestions from a prominent NASCAR Ford entity, Mitchell revamped the basic 302/351 design to bulk it up in key areas, such as the front and rear bulkheads--each is about an inch thicker than the stock Ford 302 block. Iron was added to the cylinder banks to add strength and provide water passage room for large-displacement combinations.

The result is a block that weighs about 60 pounds more than a standard Ford 302 block, but is considerably stronger throughout. The thicker iron is complemented with standard splayed four-bolt billet steel main caps, which should all but eliminate the tendency for catastrophic cracking that isn't uncommon with the production blocks. It is a problem racers have tried to prevent through the use of stud girdles and other methods, but too much boost or nitrous can split the 302 block like a factor-10 migraine, usually through the lifter valley.

For DIY engine builders, the Man O' War is a relative bargain at about $2,400, making it much less costly than other similar aftermarket castings while also offering 5.0-style roller cam capability (so all the modern EFI equipment will bolt up).

Actually, Mitchell designed the Man O' War to accept all the components and accessories that were ever bolted to a 302 or 351 at the factory. Apart from some obvious bulges around the cylinders, the Man O' War looks for all the world like one of Henry's own castings.World Products offers the Man O' War in four deck heights, including 8.200 inches, 8.700 inches, 9.200 inches, and 9.500 inches. The 8.200- and 8.700-inch decks are 302-style blocks, while the two taller decks are 351-style blocks. The minimum deck thickness is 0.600-inch.

A "C" version of the 302-style block is available with mounting positions for the oil pump and distributor in the same location as the 351 blocks. With standard Ford 302 blocks, interference with the oil pump keeps maximum displacement to about 347 cubes; the Man O' War "C" blocks permit maximum 375ci "302." Add to all these versions either 4.000- or 4.125-inch bores and the capability of a 4.250-inch-stroke crankshaft, and it means a plethora of possible combinations, particularly for the crate engines.

Crate Engine Hierarchy
While the bare blocks are a boon to those who've already blown their Boss, the big news is the explosion (pun not intended) of crate engines that World Products has released under the same name. In fact, World Products offers a dizzying number of Man O' War crate engines, each separated in a specific hierarchy of power output and price. It's a carefully crafted spread of offerings designed to appeal to every level of enthusiast desire and/or budget.The five-step hierarchy includes Daily Driver, Cruiser, World Class, Hardcore, and Limited Edition. Each comes with iron cylinder heads and approximately 9:1 compression--all, that is, except the full-tilt Limited Edition engines, which come with 10.5:1 pistons and aluminum heads. Aluminum heads are upgrade options on the other engine classes.

The entry-level Daily Driver series, for example, features stock displacement, a 750-cfm carb, a mild hydraulic cam, and a warm output of 351 hp in the 351-cube version. It lists for $6,995.

Cruiser-class engines and above can feature increased displacement and correspondingly larger heads and carb. For the Man O' War, there are 351-inch and 427-inch Cruiser engines rated at 370 hp and 450 hp, respectively.At the World Class level, World Products' larger Windsor Sr. heads are added, along with an 870-cfm carb. A 427-cube version is rated at 495 horses with the optional aluminum heads, while 351- and 375-inch versions also are available. Interestingly, the 375ci engines are based on the 8.200-deck "C" blocks, so they'll fit under the hood of most cars without the need of a hood scoop.Up at the Hardcore level, the 427ci engine swaps the hydraulic cam for a solid lifter type, bumps up compression to 9.5:1, and is topped with a 1,050-cfm Dominator carb. It's rated at 500 horses with iron heads and 525 with aluminum lungs (the top-rung 525-horse version listing at $9,795).

The pinnacle of Man O' War crate offerings is the 460ci Limited Edition, which employs a solid roller cam, 4.155-inch bores, a Dominator carb, and a 10.5:1 compression ratio. For a list price of $10,995, it cranks out 575 horses and 550 lb-ft of torque, and is the subject of the engine build up depicted in this story's accompanying photos.

Inside the 460
The Limited Edition 460 starts with a 9.500-deck 351 block making use of 4.155-inch bores and the maximum 4.250-inch-stroke crank, which is, of course, forged. The bottom of each cylinder is notched to make room for long-reaching H-beam connecting rods.

We followed Mike McIntyre, one of World's seasoned engine builders, through the assembly process, which is remarkable in its simplicity. The basic assembly is accomplished more or less like any handbuilt engine--one part at a time. It's the size of everything, from the bores to the intake runners of the cylinders heads, that really impress. Frankly, none of this would be possible without the strength and room afforded by the Man O' War block.

Mitchell won't reveal the ramp specs of his custom-grind solid roller camshaft, but tells us it is designed to maintain a streetable idle quality, but still deliver a noticeable lope as well as high-rpm performance. The 460's horsepower peak is 5,800 rpm, while Mitchell says the engine's upper limit is 6,500 rpm. The block is topped with a pair of World's own Windsor Sr. aluminum cylinder heads, which boast 200cc intake runners that have fast-burn-style 64cc combustion chambers. The tunnel-like intake paths are considerably larger than comparable Ford heads, which have 124cc runners. The valves are matched to the heads' tremendous flow, measuring 2.055 inches on the intake side and 1.600 inches on the exhaust. Not surprisingly, stiff, dual 125-pound valvesprings complement the valvetrain, along with custom aluminum roller-tip rocker arms with a 1.73 ratio. They're mounted on screw-in studs. Also, World adds two additional head bolt holes to the Man O' War block, which provide an extra measure of sealing.

But while the large-volume block and heads were in-stock items at World Products headquarters, the engine program hit a development bottleneck, figuratively and literally, when it came to intake manifold selection. To feed the engine's big passages, a 4500-series Dominator-style carb with a 1,050-cfm carb was needed, but there was a problem: nobody made a Dominator manifold for the small-block Ford. Apparently, natural displacement limits of stock blocks have negated the necessity for such a combination. Surprised and taken aback, Mitchell and company modified some aftermarket single-plane intakes to accept the 1,050 carb, which was what our buildup engine wore. Since our photo shoot, Mitchell has told us World Products is developing its own intake and will begin producing it shortly. The remainder of the engine's components makes for a complete package, including a deep-sump Canton oil pan, SFI-approved balancer, and even an HEI-type distributor from Mallory. Spark plugs and wires are installed, too.

As is the case with all World Products crate engines, the completed engine is pushed into a dyno cell for tuning and testing. A dyno report is attached to each engine and we've watched World's technicians start to pack engines into their crate while they were still warm. Simply put, they're fresh.Mitchell insists the Limited Edition 460, as well as all of his crate engines, is designed for effortless street duty. And while we weren't able to sample the 460 engine in a vehicle, it's easy-starting, tractable idle quality, and crisp throttle response on the dyno leant credence to the claim. Mitchell has a Limited Edition engine in his '33 Ford street rod. It's a 600-horse monster with the Dominator carb, solid roller cam--the whole nine yards. It's a street driver that he used last year on both the Power Tour and Americruise.If you're a Ford fan, World Products offers a wealth of new opportunities. And it's all thanks to a man known more for Bow Ties than Blue Ovals.