Iowan, i may order a different cam when I order the balanced stroker kit from Lykins. I will see what kind of additional horsepower and torque it buys me. it may be worth a look, so thank you for bringing it up.
My427stang, I'm curious if I didn't already have what I consider the perfect cam for my original 390 goals, what would you ideally use for the 445 build? What would it gain me? And can my stock transmission accept it? I'm sure you already have these numbers in a holster. lol.
This is a tough question to answer
1 - The right cam will make significantly more power somewhere, however there is no free lunch. Where and how much being right for you depends on what course you take on the build.
FWIW My truck 445 runs a 282/236 solid flat tappet, .580 lift, single pattern on 112 LSA, 105 ICL. I initially did something sort of similar to you, had a nice 270H, 270/224 .524 lift, 110 LSA and I retarded it to 110 ICL. It ran great at 9.98:1 with a 1000 Holley and ported RPM intake with heavily ported iron heads. However, I had an odd thing happen, a lifter base cracked, never saw one do that before. It never ate the cam because oil was pushing out the crack, strangest thing, but the lifter was noisy ebcause it couldn't hold oil when hot. Not wanting to chance it, I went with a cam appropriate for my use and my desires, both ran great and the smaller cam really was within spitting distance, but the solids let me spin it a bit higher.
2 - The thing to remember is all parts should match. So, which cam?
Well cam, intake, carb, exhaust should all be picked for displacement and intended use, then compression needs to match cam and available / desired fuel. There is a range there and lots of options and even more techniques. We can back your cam into the new build and you will have a blast, it's not far off with the tall gear.
I could pick you a cam, but we would spend more time trying to figure out the use of the car, where you had fun with the car, mileage, idle, how much I thought you could tune it, etc, and then end up somewhere. If forced though, and assuming you haven't changed end goals from the 390, just bigger, my hunch is a 224-ish intake and 230-232-ish exhaust @ .050 110 LSA on 102-106 depending on planned gear and compression (and I would like to see more lift) but there are so many variables I think you have to lock down what you want the car to do first
One comment, Brent has built a bunch of these and can easily give you a whole package. Honestly, I would push for a hyd roller too. If the car is worth a 445, it's worth the peace of mind of break in and zero maintenance. He and other builders have so many they have dyno'd and put on the streets it takes the guess work out.
3 - Can your tranny handle it?
Hell if I know LOL If you smoke your tires, if it hooks, maybe, maybe not. Some people can break a bowling ball in a sand box. However, your initial goal was to try the one you had, with the build you planned, and change to a C6 later if required. I don't think we ever thought to build to match the current tranny, that would be an odd way to build an engine.
FYI - When I was working for a Ford garage in the mid 80s, I built a 1978 Pontiac Grand Prix. Had a 301 and a Metric 200 tranny. I put in a 455 with cam, headers, intake and a 750 Holley. Drove it around town, it was awesome. Got back to the garage after the test run, powerbraked it and it went BAM, and blew the tranny. Metric 200s were anemic, but my point is, I could have driven it for years if I behaved, once I acted like the 20 year old I was, it broke
4 - How will the current setup perform and should you look at HP and torque for answers?
A tired 390 is likely 200 HP, if you have 450 HP and 500 ft lbs of torque that is light-switch responsive and will eat up the highway and hills like a freight train combined with a nice chop to the exhaust when you pull into a show, hard to think it won't be fun. That's more power and in a better RPM range than an R code 427 or 428 Galaxie. However, if you chase a horsepower number for your decision, you may stray away from building for your desired use.
Just so you know I practice what I preach. Doing a 462 around 525-550 HP for someone, that number is irrelevant to me right now, but for reference. In the end, if it makes 600 and isn't fun in his driving style, 525 HP might be "better".
We spent the time talking about which transmission (2 choices in 4 speeds), which rear gear, suspension, how much he wanted to drive around the block on weekends, how much chugging away at car shows, type of fuel, exhaust, the sound and part throttle performance he wanted, and how quick he wanted to be when he lined up with some of our 11.00-11.50 quarter mile buddies. We are getting close to build details, but I am not done yet. once we are done, I buy and build, we are locked to everything unless an emergency. I recommend you hit the brakes and do the same, note that most of my discussion with the 462 had nothing to do with HP, it was manners and owner's expectations (which often they don't really know until you talk about it).
A second example, my own 489 FE. I needed an engine that would be happy in 5th gear at 1800-2000 RPM for extended cruise. This is 489 inches, at the time 1000 Holley, ported alum heads and ported RPM intake. I ended up at 10.7:1 compression, zero deck, 284/242 intake, 292/248 exhaust, .600 lift solids, 110 LSA on 106. I decided to go more conservative on the cam (don't apply my numbers to you), but put more money in the heads and intake, and it paid off. My racer buddies would say I was at least 10 degrees shy, but maybe as much as 20 @ .050, but it wouldn't do what I built it for. Keep in mind that this is an engine a factory Ford racer who still owns a 68 CJ original race car said "I wish I had this engine when I was racing"
I guess in the end, cam choice has some basic rules, but you don't pick a cam
with what you are trying to do, you build an engine.
One thing I recommend. Think about the use of the car for the whole summer. Drive 10 times on a highway, or zero times? Drive 60 mph or 80 mph? 70 mph cruise with occasional runs to 100? All in town never over 55? Do you like windows down with the radio or windows down with the exhaust barking? Pump gas regular or pump gas premium? Chasing buddies with new 6 speed Mustangs? or waiting for buddies with 4.56 gear strip cars? Girlfriend/wife drive the car now and then?....all the time? Once you figure out what you think you will be doing most, then a tire size and a gear ratio will give you an RPM range, then we can start picking, but be true to yourself. Your engine can range from 400-600 hp, just add money, but more important is to match it to use