It's been a long road getting to this point. The transformation of our '70 Ford Fairlane 500 from grandma cruiser to boulevard bruiser has been steadily working toward this moment. We improved the brakes with SSBC binders, rehabbed the suspension with a kit from Just Suspensions, beefed-up the rear with a crate 9-inch from Strange, and built a street/strip C4 tranny with the guys from Hughes Performance. Alas, it was time for the icing on the cake-the reason we did all the other modifications in the first place. It was time to drop in our 552hp 408 Windsor stroker.
If you recall when we first tested the Fairlane, it ran a lethargic 17.64 at 77 mph in the quarter-mile. At that point, it seemed silly to even bother to wear a helmet, but the stroker we've been building over the last few months should help motivate the 3,460-pound Fairlane down the track in a much quicker time. Will it be into the 11s? We certainly hope so. In any event, it'll sure be a lot faster and more fun than it was when we bought it off eBay.
The stock 302 ran as bad as...
The stock 302 ran as bad as it looked. Over the last few months, it had developed more leaks than the Nixon White House, and at idle the oil light would start to flicker.
Swapping in a 408 is a straightforward deal, since it's just a taller-deck version of a 302. Of course, being taller meant none of the pulley system would transfer, but it fit the same motor and transmission mounts, so that was half the battle. The rest was just fitting it all together and getting the new engine to mesh with the 37-year-old Ford. One thing we found was how fast all the installation tidbits add up. We spent just under $2,800 getting it in and that's not counting the exhaust system aft of the header collectors. Not a small sum, but we tried to keep it realistic. It's mostly function, with a little bit of glitter thrown in to make us proud to pop the hood. With the engine in, we still need to knock out a few safety issues like better seatbelts. Then we can try the track, see how she shakes out, and identify what other mods might be necessary to hit our 11-second goal.
We were excited when our custom headers arrived from Ford Powertrain Applications (FPA) out of Washington state. The company's been around for 20 years and only makes headers for Fords from the '50s through the '70s. It also has applications for more than 30 different small-block Ford cylinder heads, as well as most big-block applications. According to Owner Stan Johnson, "Our headers are one piece, and constructed with heavy-duty materials. We pay special attention to ground clearance, as well as clearances for cable clutches, AOD transmissions, and aftermarket rack-and-pinion applications." Nobody we called, except Stan, had headers to fit our application, and these 1 3/4-inch long-tube headers are truly well made.
The coating was done by Performance Coatings, which has been working with FPA for the last eight years, and does coating for the general public. The company's Chromex ceramic coating is more than just aesthetic, it protects the headers from corrosion, too. More importantly, Chromex thermally insulates the header and keeps heat out of the engine bay. We were going to run these on the dyno, but the dyno shop didn't have an exhaust pipe that mated to the two-bolt ball flange that FPA uses.
No need to bore you with the...
No need to bore you with the details of pulling the old engine. One engine mount and the trans mount were broken, so they didn't even need to be unbolted.
On the dyno, we ran an electric...
On the dyno, we ran an electric fuel pump, but on the car, we're running this new mechanical billet aluminum unit from Holley (PN 12-289-25, $269.95).
With the engine bay cleaned...
With the engine bay cleaned up, we took the Fairlane to Don Lee Auto for the install.
The engine is in place with...
The engine is in place with some coated FPA headers ($695 coated, $495 bare).
Welcome to our first fitment...
Welcome to our first fitment issue. The driver-side header was hitting the ram for the Ford power-steering system and interfering with its operation.
Luckily, Stan Johnson at Ford...
Luckily, Stan Johnson at Ford Powertrain Applications knew we might have this problem and included this bracket to drop the end of the ram down (red arrow).
When we went to hook up the...
When we went to hook up the vacuum line from the C4 to the engine, we realized the Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake doesn't have any provisions for vacuum and neither does the Holley HP carb.
Next up was getting ready...
Next up was getting ready for the C4 transmission. We thought the engine mid-plate from the 302 would work, but we needed one for our larger flywheel and bellhousing.
Finding a pulley system for...
Finding a pulley system for the Ford was problematic. There are endless combinations of OEM brackets, pulleys, and spacers to choose from.
We almost forgot about the...
We almost forgot about the throttle linkage. A quick call to Summit and we had this trick unit from Holley (PN 20-112, $95.95).
Under the car, we installed...
Under the car, we installed the street/strip Hughes C4 transmission that we detailed in our August issue (see "Bulletproof C4").
The stock radiator from the...
The stock radiator from the 302 wasn't up to the task of cooling the 408, so we ordered this universal-fit unit from Summit (PN SUM-380428, $168).
Last, we ran the fuel lines...
Last, we ran the fuel lines using some fittings from G&J Aircraft in Ontario, CA, and topped the carb with a low-profile K&N filter (PN 66-3040, $125.95).
We tried calling companies...
We tried calling companies for an exhaust system for a '70 Fairlane running a 351W and long-tube headers.
|WHERE THE MONEY WENT |
|FPA 1 3/4-inch coated headers ||$695 |
|Holley HP Fuel Pump ||$269.95 |
|Motor mounts (PN 6021151) ||$37.00 |
|Trans mount (PN 6201040) ||$12.30 |
|FPA drop bracket ||$24.00 |
|Ford mid-plate ||$59.90 |
|Match balance flexplate ||$20.00 |
|ARP flexplate bolts ||$8.88 |
|Starter ||$130.00 |
|March pulley/bracket kit ||$552.95 |
|March crank pulley spacer ||$60.88 |
|Serpentine belts ||$39.80 |
|Alternator ||$47.60 |
|Holley throttle bracket ||$95.95 |
|Mallory coil ||$60.95 |
|TCI Thunder Stick shifter ||$194.88 |
|Hughes trans cooler ||$71.95 |
|Performance Carbs plate ||$95.00 |
|Summit aluminum radiator ||$169.95 |
|Summit catch can ||$13.95 |
|17-inch flex fan ||$24.00 |
|Fittings from G&J Aircraft ||$95.00 |
|K&N Filter ||$125.95 |
|Mallory HyFire VI-AL box ||$179.95 |
|New heater hose ||$18.00 |
|New radiator hoses ||$37.90 |
|New bypass hose ||$10.30 |
|Edelbrock breathers ||$20.00 |
|Misc. hose clamps and bolts ||$25.00 |
|Misc. fluids ||$30.00 |
|Money from sold 302 and C4 trans ||-$450.00 |
|Total: ||$2,776.99 |