Naturally, much of the focus on an autocross effort such as the Bowler Torino is on the chassis, but the motor is a sweet piece in its own right. Mark liked the idea of sticking with Windsor power; he just wanted more of it. As such, he ordered up a Roush 427ci crate motor that puts out an impressive 572 hp. It boasts a 4.125-inch-bore Dart four-bolt block and rotating assembly, AFR 205cc cylinder heads, and a killer eight-stack EFI intake manifold. A custom Roush hydraulic roller cam actuates the valves, and exhaust exits through 1.75-inch JBA headers and dual 2.5-inch Flowmaster mufflers. With the new motor in place, the project was at the point Mark had envisioned when setting out to build an R&D vehicle. To put the Torino to good use, it was fitted with a Ford 4R70W overdrive transmission and billet 2,200-stall converter beefed up for autocross duty. “In addition to improving the durability and reliability of the 4R70W, we developed several different shift calibration programs,” Mark says. “For street driving, the shift points and converter lockup are set up to maximize fuel mileage, however, at the push of a button you can switch over to an autocross program that keeps the transmission in the gear you choose, and locks up the converter so you can get engine braking just like with a manual transmission. Now we can put our customers in the car, and let them see for themselves how well an automatic can perform on the autocross.”

Ancient hot rodding folklore is often difficult to debunk, but Bowler’s Torino is doing its part to validate the merits of automatic transmissions in autocross applications. They’ve proven that when you tell a transmission exactly what you want through precisely calibrated shift programs—instead of expecting a transmission to read your mind—great things can happen. It’s all about communication, and interestingly enough, machines seem to have it figured out better than people.

By The Numbers

1970 Ford Torino

Mark Bowler, 36 • Lawrenceville, IL

Engine

Type: Ford 427ci Windsor small-block

Block: Dart four-bolt cast-iron block bored to 4.125 inches

Oiling: Melling pump and eight-quart pan

Rotating assembly: Roush 4.000-inch forged crank and H-beam steel rods; Wiseco 10.25:1 pistons

Cylinder heads: AFR 205cc aluminum castings with 2.080/1.600-inch stainless steel valves and 61cc chambers

Camshaft: Roush custom hydraulic roller (specs classified)

Valvetrain: Roush double-roller timing set and 1.6:1 roller rockers

Induction: Roush eight-stack intake manifold with individual runners and throttle-bodies per cylinder

Ignition: Roush dual-sync distributor and plug wires

Fuel system: Roush EFI system, fuel pump, and injectors

Exhaust: JBA 1.75-inch headers, dual 2.5-inch Flowmaster mufflers

Output: 572 hp and 546 lb-ft

Drivetrain

Transmission: Bowler 4R70W overdrive and billet 2,200-stall converter

Rear axle: Moser 9-inch rearend, 31-spline axles, 3.50:1 gears, and limited-slip differential

Chassis

Front suspension: RideTech tubular control arms and coilovers; Hellwig sway bar

Rear suspension: RideTech four-link and coilovers

Brakes: Baer 14-inch rotors and six-piston calipers, front; 13-inch rotors and four-piston calipers, rear

Wheels & Tires

Wheels: Forgeline ZX3 18x8, front; 18x10, rear

Tires: BFGoodrich 245/40R18, front; 285/40R18, rear