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Engines
There are a few drivetrain parts that should receive extra attention when you’re building a
Restomod. Some of parts don’t get much attention on street rods and Pro-Street cars. Most of
those cars don’t see the hard driving a Restomod car will see. When you push your car to the limit
and beyond, weaknesses in your engine, cooling and oiling systems, transmission, and clutch will
become more evident. This chapter is dedicated to these areas and more.
Ford Mustang with a 4.6 DOHC installed
Just because a car didn’t come from
the factory with a certain engine as an
option doesn’t mean you can’t make
the swap. Probably the most labor-
intensive engine swap is putting a 4.6-
or 5.4-liter Modular engine into a
shock-tower-equipped Restomod,
because the shock towers have to be
modified. (Photo courtesy The
Mustang Shop)
Engine Swaps
To start off, this section has information some purists will deem ludicrous and downright horrible.
With that said, read on.

Swapping in a non-original engine is done for many reasons. Here are a few of them: gain more
power, increase the “oooh” factor, save money, or just use what you have lying around. The most
common engine swap in the early Mustang world is to swap from a stock 6-cylinder to a small-block
V-8. I’ve included information on common and not-so-common engine swaps. I
've also included
some other things to keep in mind when you’re thinking of swapping in a different engine. If you are
reading this book, there is a good chance you are interested in building a car that will handle well.
For instance, if you have a 300-pound 4-cylinder in your 1974 Pinto or 1976 Mustang II, dropping in
a 720-pound 460 will probably not help your handling. A car like that makes a great drag racer, and
that’s about it. A few other aspects to consider include the availability of engine mounts, headers,
transmission, crossmembers, engine compartment size versus engine size, hood clearance, oil pan
clearance, etc. I’ve gathered just a few possible Ford engine swaps, and some are only covered
briefly. With all the engines Ford produced, someone could write a complete book on all the
possible Ford engine swaps.

2.0 and 2.3-Liter 4-Cylinder Engine
If you’ve been around since the early 1970s, you may remember Ford’s 2.3-liter coming with as little
as 83 hp and 120 ft-lbs of torque. The factory stepped it up with the 1984-1986 SVO Mustang,
pumping the 2.3-liter up with as much 205 hp and 248 ft-lbs of torque using fuel injection and a
turbocharger. The turbocharged 2.3-liter also appeared in the 1987 and 1988 Thunderbird Turbo
Coupe with a whopping 190 hp (on the 5-speed model) and 240 ft-lbs of torque.

If you decide you want to keep your carbureted 4-cylinder, you might want to contact Esslinger
Engineering in Southern California. Esslinger produces some serious parts for the 2.0 and 2.3-liter
4-cylinder engines. As noted earlier, the 1974 Pinto 2.3-liter pounded out an anemic 83 hp and 120
ft-lbs of torque. Esslinger has been able to pump out 109 hp using a stock block, stock intake, and
a carburetor, which is pretty impressive. With an upgrade to Esslinger’s aluminum D-port head, you
can see a whopping 40 to 50 hp over stock while still being able to keep your stock intake and
exhaust manifolds. Plus, the aluminum head saves you 40 lbs over the stock cast-iron unit.
Upgrading to Esslinger’s SVO head and the matching custom intake manifold will net you an
additional 20-hp gain. Esslinger also offers a complete aluminum block and ARCA (Automobile
Racing Club of America) aluminum head that will juice up your carbureted combination with another
20 hp (up to 170), and save you a combined 100 lbs over the stock cast-iron parts.
Older Ford Mustang with late model Mustang front suspension installed TCP motor mounts
This Mustang is being prepped for a
Modular engine installation. Instead of
removing the shock towers and installing a
Mustang II suspension, The Mustang Shop
has installed a late 1990s front suspension
and strut towers for better handling. (Photo
courtesy The Mustang Shop)
When installing different engines in your
Restomod, getting the engine mounted at the
correct angle and location can be tricky. Some
applications require you to fabricate your own
mounts. TCP makes mounts for small- and
big-blocks. (Photo courtesy Total Control
Products)
Now those numbers are only for naturally aspirated engines. With the right parts, Esslinger
Engineering has been able to pump 400 hp out of the cast-iron 2.3-liter block. With Esslinger’s
aluminum block and all the right parts set up for drag racing, you can make up to 1,000 hp! Of
course, that’s with a turbocharger running insane amounts of boost. Esslinger also sells fully
assembled crate engines that have been fully dyno-tested. Or how about a stroker kit to turn the
2.3 into a 2.5-, 2.6-, or 2.85-liter? With a rare tall-deck engine block, you can even stroke it up to 3
liters of brutal mass.
Esslinger Racing 2.3
Restomods don’t have to be
V-8 powered. This little 2300
4-cylinder in a Pinto would
put out some 12-second
quarter-mile times (without a
turbo). Esslinger Racing can
assemble a 400-hp engine
with a cast-iron block, as well
as heads and valvetrain.
(Photo courtesy Esslinger
Racing)
If you’d rather go with a swap, the fuel-injected, turbocharged 2.3-liter is a direct bolt-in for the 1974
through 1980 Pintos, as well as many other 2.3-powered Fords. Of course, saying “bolt-in” means
that the engine will bolt into the engine compartment with unmodified stock engine mounts. Putting
the turbo 2.3-liter into a 1971 through 1973 Pinto can be done; you’ll just have to cut off the 2.0-
liter lower engine/frame mounts and weld in 2.3-liter lower mounts. A V-8 swap may be tempting, but
you can buy a Thunderbird Turbo Coupe for very little money; take the engine, transmission, and
computer out of it; and sell what’s left to recoup most of your money or more.

If you’re still wondering why I’m talking so much about 4-cylinder engines and Pintos, listen to this:
The 1971 Pinto Sedan tips the scales at 1,949 lbs. By 1980, the 4-cylinder Pinto Sedan had slowly
gained weight to an all-time high of 2,385 lbs, which is still really light. So, if you had a 2,000-lb
Pinto, and put in a stock 190-hp 2.3-liter from an ’88 Turbo Coupe, the power-to-weight ratio would
be approximately 10.5 pounds per horsepower. For comparison, let’s look at a 3,300-lb ’68
Mustang with a stock 230-hp, 302-ci engine. That works out to a much weaker power-to-weight ratio
(PTWR) of approximately 14.5 lbs per horsepower. Pump the 2.3-liter Pinto up to 400 hp, and the
PTWR changes to 5 lbs per horsepower—the Mustang would need 660 hp to match that.

If I have not persuaded you to keep the front of your Pinto light, there are a few companies offering
headers and engine mounts for V-8 swaps. Contact info for these companies can be found in the
Source Guide in the back of this book. Total Performance has engine mounts, oil pans, and
headers. Hedman Hedders and Hooker Headers sell engine swap headers.
Cosworth built 358 ci NASCAR engine
Of course not everyone can
afford a Cosworth-built 358-ci
NASCAR engine, but it sure
would be nice to pop the hood
on your Falcon or Maverick
and see this thing staring
back at you. With a
Restomod, any extra
horsepower is appreciated.
Ford V-8 Swaps
You have many engines to pick from when building your Restomod. Each engine has benefits and
drawbacks. Picking the right V-8 for your application is not easy. It’s kind of like walking into a donut
shop and seeing all those little round treats staring back at you through the glass case. Sure, you
have your favorites, but your mind wanders. So, which one’s the right one? The small-block comes
in many different flavors, as do the FE and 385-series big-blocks. Add to that the tasty new
overhead-cam 4.6- and 5.4-liter Modular engines, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. It goes without
saying that each of these engines can be stroked and over-bored for even more cubic inches.

I’d like to send a special thanks out to Marlin Davis of Car Craft magazine, and Jim Smart of
Mustang & Fords magazine, for their help on some of this hard-to-find engine information.
Supercharged 3.8L in a Thunderbird Super Coupe
Supercharged V-6 engines
can be found in 1989-1995
Thunderbird Super Coupes.
These engines can be
adapted and modified to
power some of the smaller
Fords. These engines are
lighter than V-8s, which can
help you build a balanced,
great-handling Restomod.
Small-Blocks
Collectors have picked up a decent portion of the factory-equipped V-8 cars on the road and
started restoring them, especially the well-optioned V-8 models. This leaves mostly 6-cylinder-
equipped cars for the serious Restomodders. According to Jim Smart of Mustang & Fords
magazine, the most common engine swaps in the early Mustangs and other shock-tower-equipped
cars are from the old inline 6-cylinder to the small-block Ford engine. The second most common
swap is from the 289 or 302 to the 351W. Swapping the 289 or 302 for the fuel-injected 5.0-liter
(late model 302 ci) is the next most popular after that. Jim also notes that the popularity of the 5.0
swap is beginning to overtake the 351W swap with Restomodders.
Small-block Fords come in three different flavors. The first is the 90-degree Windsor V-8 family, the
221, 225, 260, 289, 302, Boss 302, and 351W (ranging in weight from 460 to 525 pounds). The
second is the 335 Series, or Cleveland engines including the 351C and the Boss 351, each
weighing 550 lbs. Last are the Modifieds, the 351M and 400M, weighing 575 lbs.

When you’re swapping in any of these small-block Fords, you need to know the overall dimensions.
These differences can cause installation clearance issues. Small-block Fords range from 24 to 26
inches wide.

The 1962 through 1965 small-block Fords have a five-bolt bellhousing. After that, all small-block
Fords, except for the Modifieds, switched to a 6-bolt bellhousing. All small-block Fords, again
except for the Modifieds, share the same engine mount configuration on the sides of the engine.
The Modified engines are beasts unlike any other. They’re similar to Cleveland, butwith taller deck
surfaces. The “M” shares the transmission bellhousing surface with 385 Series429 and 460 big-
blocks, but its engine mounts are not shared by any other Ford engine.
Previous | Next


This has been a sample page from

How to Build Ford Restomod Street Macnines How to Build Ford Restomod Street Machines
by Tony E. Huntimer
This book Should be called
"How to Build High Performance Fords!"
This is one of the best books we've seen about building high
performance Fords. It contains sections on upgrading brakes
and suspension, improving chassis stiffness, engine choices
and engine swaps, drivetrain choices including
production and
after market transmissions, electrical
systems and even body
modifications. It even has sections
to help you find the right
project car for as little money as possible and where to find the
parts you need to complete your project. This is one of the
best, if not the best book out there about building and

modifying Fords for improved performance. Best of all, this
book is not just about the Ford Mustang as many other Ford
books are. Read the sample pages to learn more!
Click below to view samples
pages from each chapter
Chap. 1 - Shocks & Sway Bars
Chap. 2 - Front Suspension
Chap. 3 - Rear Suspension
Chap. 4 - Frames & Chassis
Chap. 5 - Engine Swaps
Chap. 6 - Transmissions
Chap. 7 - Body & Glass Mods.
Chap. 8 - Finding Parts
8-1/2 x 11"
Softbound.
144 pages
Approximately 300 b/w photos
Item: SA101P
Price: $23.95
Click here to buy now!


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