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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Tell me what you know about an engine

Story here:

Back in the late 1960's I had lived in the Dallas area. Used to do my laundry at a place backside of a Texaco station. They had a 1967 GT out back behind a low fence to which I could see week after week. I hopped the fence one afternoon and took a look at it closer. It looked nice, complete, but why sitting out back? I asked the service station owner about it then. It was sort of special, belonged to his son, who had more traffic citations than could be fit into the glove box. Yes, it was for sale, for dad never wanted to see it again. Bring $600 in cash on Saturday morning, it would be running OK then, I could test it, and if OK they would transfer title right then.

The son was there that Saturday morning, warned it had a bad clutch, and it was not the everyday 390 powered Fairlane. Seems he found that Detroit was going to make up a few 390's with four speed, but rated at 345 H.P. not the advertised 335 (or 315 H.P.) for it was to compete on the showroom floors with the new Chevelle SS. It was bought only about one-two months before the 428 powered Fairlanes were made public. These 390 powered cars were to have most everything the 427 powered cars had in a mechanical sence. While father was attending to drive ups, the son told me Iff'n the traffic on the Dallas-Forth Worth loop was low, he could outrun the local Corvettes, but if it was busy, they could get in, out and around traffic better than the Fairlane could. The kid mentioned he had a 427 in the garage which had at one time been under the hood. Iff'n I was to buy the car that morning, he would hoist the 427 into the trunk and I could have it all for one price. Only thing was that I had to place the $$$ into HIS hands, not the father's. Well, that was easy, father was UPSET upon seeing this, but it was drove home an hour later.

I drove it to California about two months later, and then the clutch really pooped out. Friend of mine was parts manager in the local Ford dealership. Using the door codes, he flat could not find reference in the books to the engine or the clutch. However, everything flat resembled what a 427 would use, so I bought that, and was running the streets two hours later. The engine code position in the V.I.N and plate was blank.

The dual inlet Holley Carb began to leak bad several months later, and even though the original tag was still on it, that did little good. Could not be found in parts house books, nor at the dealership. The speed shop, who sold Holly, did not have a cross-over, however did manage to create a kit for me from feeling and seeing the used parts. Oddly buying parts one at a time cost less than in a full kit.

Other problems crept up years later. Oil pooped out the rear of the manifold, so got a gasket set to that. Only the holes for the ports in the gasket were marginally small, so had to use some 427 gasket. The radiator never did keep the engine cool around Palm Springs, but once the 427 engine was installed, it surprizingly ran cooler. Had trouble using the proceedure for adjusting the valves for a 390, but when friendly parts manager mentioned that certain 390 cars came with 428 camshafts, by using that knowledge the engine stopped jumping around and ran nice afterwards. There later was an oil pan leak, and upon dropping it one night found that the block had a High Volume pump in place, not the standard one. The engine pooped the water pump also, and standard replacement did not look correct for some reason, however a Shelby numbered unit looked exactly the same.

I had been a Hot Rod, Car Craft, etc. magazine reader for a long time. I then went back to read if anything had been printed on it in some back issue. They had articles mostly on the automatic transmission cars. One mentioned the standard GT with four-speed, and then a quick sentence about that a special, even more powerfull 390 was going to be made available in limited numbers, but by time the edition hit news stands the 428 would be out and available. Seems neither was produced in any great quantity. No doubt it would confuse a Barret-Jackson auctioneer for they would keep referring to it as a semi-standard G.T. much as they did years ago when a 427 engine car came up.

It has been twenty years now since I had the car and am doing this from memory, but does anyone have a handle on the special H.P. 390's which went into the 67 Fairlanes?

Oh, months later, we installed that 427 back under the hood, and was it fast. The car had 3.91 rear gears and at 7000 RPM steady, it did 90 MPH on the freeway in second gear. It was removed about one year later after oil pressure was at a high of about 20 PSI and reset the 390 back into place.

Wm.
 

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OK, here is what I remember. In 1966 my nephew ran a Mecury Comet, sponsered by the local Mercury dealer. The car was as you described. 390Cu. In. short block with everything else 427ci. with I believe a Ford 4-speed trans. Maybe a T-85, not sure about that though.

At the time: He told me that the car was developed by Ford SVT in conjunction with Holman-Moody. This was at the time that Richard Petty was campaining the " Hemi Under Glass " Baracuda on drag strips. Petty quit dragging after loosing the car, and killing a spectator, at the Dallas Ga. Drag Strip.

The car was an all steel car, not a light weight, and it was built for street and strip.

These are the facts as I remember them after 40 years.
 

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I have a magazine article from 1966 (C&D or R&T) that tested all of the 66 intermediates from the Ford and GM at
Bridgehampton raceway. There was a Fairlane GT, Comet Cyclone, 442, Buick GS, Chevelle SS, and a GTO. The 442 took the overall honors, but the ford products were fastest. The report said " I've never seen a 390 ford rev like that" and later implied that it had visited H&M's shops prior to its arrival to the test... someday i'll scan the article in....
Hmmm...


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Scott66gta on 3/13/06 6:01pm ]</font>
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hmmm...

I think you two may have something there. A long time friend of mine (who used to be on the old Ford Drag Team circa 1969-1970 and had all the press passes and creditials to prove it) had died three years ago. While under the car helping him stab in a transmission one afternoon, I had hit him up with the question then too. His responce was much the same as your first thoughts."Naww, naww, naw, you must of had one of the standard engined cars." A week later it must have bugged him for he telephoned to ammend that under car conversation. Concidering his main interest and whole world circled around cylinder heads, he did have a few points to add in here. In that apparently the Fairlane heads were low cost copies of higher cost 427 Medium riser units. The runners were not as smooth, they had low cost and different contoured intake valve, head diameter the same otherwise. The exhaust was bigger, like in a 427 or Cobra Jet, but again actual head diameter can not be cited. He did mention the chambers were bigger, enabling it to run on mid-grade pump gasoline. It had mush lifters which seemed to hold it down to a Max of about 6000 RPM or so. To him, they were 390 version Cobra Jet heads of 1967.

"Didithavea steel crank?" In popping off the oil pan to replace the gasket, I certainly remembered the unusual wide connecting rods and the crank shined. "That means someone didn't just take a Seven Litre engine and stuff it in there"

I still refer to it, or heard it talked of being the 345 HP version, however with a smile he mentioned the original Cobra Jets were rated just a few horse less. I own a standard Cobra Jet powered Eliminator and this old Fairlane wound up much-much faster and hit harder when going through the gears. Could be that I had a production version of the special 390 to which H-M worked on. Or that they were trying to get a few more inches of newspaper ink before the Cobra Jet hit the market. The 427 which was in there for a while did not seem to have the quick reaction of the 390, but it did run cooler. One thing I DO remember was that it was hard on tires for about every nine months it needed yet another set. Had to use big tires on the back or they would burn right up leaving an intersection. Overall, geepers was that an expensive car to maintain.

Wm.
 

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I know absoluely ZERO about this discussion, but I do gotta say this is the EXACT reason I got rid of my stang and bought an old school FoMoCo.

Fantastic reading, and I wish we were sitting in a bar somewhere havin a cold one. I could listen to this kinda stuff for DAYS!!!!

Great reading guys!
 
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