Friday, April 29, 2016

4/29 - Happy Thunder Jet day!

Wrapping up our 2016 rendition of Big Block week is Thunder Jet day.  As time goes by, things get replaced with newer, fancier, shinier things.  Such was life for the 428 Cobra Jet.  In '68, Ford introduced the new 429 Thunder Jet in the '68 Thunderbird.  This motor was based on the new 385 family of Ford V8s (along with the 460).  This motor was newer and a bit more conducive to the high revving nature of racing and was meant to replace the 428 on the track until Ford decided to discontinue its factory racing efforts for the '70 season.  Instead, the motor was found as a motor option for things like Galaxies, Torinos, Mustangs, and Rancheros that the owners decided needed more oomph on the street.

Also, not as cool looking with only one carb
The only shimmers of racing hope for the 429 were found in the Mustang Boss 429 and the race version of the Torino Talladega, but the homologation Talladegas still got the 428 Cobra Jet.  The Torino Talladega was another factory race car built with extra aerodynamic components like the Daytona and Superbird.  The Talladega came first and dominated the '69 Nascar leaderboards.  The Mopars came in '70, and by the end of the season, all the aero models were banned.  Soon after, Nascar made a rule that the engines could be no larger than 305 cubic inches of displacement, so the big blocks were all but done.  Add the fuel crisis of '73, and it's a pretty bleak picture for the 400+ V8s.  By the late '70s, big blocks were only options on trucks or large, full-size sedans and wagon, but even they were strangled by emissions regulations.  The glory days of hot rods and factory race teams seemed to have passed away.  Only recently has it been rekindled by the new retro muscle cars and their mid-sized, high horsepower V8s.  It will be interesting to see how far they go with it and what will cause them to tame it back down.

Now for the pictures:

Thursday, April 28, 2016

4/28 - Happy Cobra Jet day!

Day three of four on Big Block week features the Ford 428 Cobra Jet V8.  This motor was the direct successor to the 427 SOHC thrown.  It didn't share much with the 427 even though they are both derived from the same family of Ford motors, the FE.  The 427's engine block was decided to be too expensive to build and too easy to have issues casting them, but they took the things they learned on the 427 and incorporated them into an older FE variation with a larger bore and stroke and made the 428.  The side oiling, hemispherical combustion chambers, and overhead cams were gone, and a classic pushrod V8 remained.  This motor was then reworked with more 427 technology to make the higher performance 428 Cobra Jet and again to render the 428 Super Cobra Jet.

Gotta love the shaker hood scoop
The most remembered is the Cobra Jet motor mostly for its accompanying the Mustang Cobra Jet, a factory lightweight, body-in-white, race-only model you could special order direct from Ford.  It even had a plaque inside stating it was not for street use.  I'm not even sure if they had VINs.  The Cobra Jet was the go-to car for trying to win on the drag strip.  It gave the Hemis a run for their money.  It was also once again legal to run in Nascar.  Fords were winning races again, and life was good.

Show me more!

I'm adding the Talladega pics to today's post because the homologation cars had a 428 even though the race models had the 429.  This leave room for more awesome Boss 429 pictures tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

4/27 - Happy Thunderbolt Day!

Welcome back to Big Block Week.  Today is my favorite day of the week because the 427 SOHC V8 came in one of my favorite cars in all of history, the Ford Galaxie (preferably '63-'64).  The 427 also used hemispherical combustion chambers, but was unique in utilizing an overhead cam on each bank of cylinders to run the valvetrain.  Overhead cams are usually used to provide better power through a higher rev range.  Most newer economy cars offer a dual overhead cam setup for even better power and revs because they use four valves per piston instead of two.  (The 4.6L V8 in my Vic had a SOHC setup and hemispherical combustion chambers too, but much lower displacement.)  The 427 also used side oiling for better lubrication during high rpm instances.

So pretty...
The Hemi may have had a a short, catchy name, but the 427 Thunderbolt has a far more commanding sound to it.  Similarly, the wing cars with the Hemi were banned due to being so far superior, but back in '65, the 427 motor was banned for being to good first.  The Thunderbolt did have a better life in NHRA drag racing though.  As part of the muscle car wars, Ford put their 427 in lightweight Galaxies in '63-'64, and in '64 decided to shoe-horn it into a lightweight '64 Fairlane 2-door post, first adopting the Thunderbolt name badge.

Because the post cars were cheaper
In the mid-'60s, the 427 was also in the Ford GT40 and Shelby's AC Cobra where they won several road races including 24 hours of Le Mans where it took the first three places and beat Ferraris at their own game.

Note: This is a '60s GT40, not a newer retro Ford GT
Can you even imagine what it would be like to drive this?!
This motor wasn't offered as long in production cars, so I'm going to cut to the chase.  Check out these sweet picture!

This is a Thunderbolt wagon "clone" because they didn't make a Thunderbolt wagon, but look at how cool that is!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

4/26 - Happy Hemi Day!

Guess what I remembered at work today?  It's Big Block Week!  And with that, today is national Hemi Day (in my mind); a day were I and anyone who cares or pays attention celebrates the glorious awesomeness that was the 426 Hemi.

The 426 was the second generation of Hemi engines after the earlier 392 Hemi.  The Hemi gets its name from the hemispherical combustion chambers in the cylinder heads.  They made better power, and some manufacturers utilized this technology, but Dodge was the first to coin the term Hemi and copyright it for branding, marketing, and propaganda purposes.  It seemed to do the trick.  The Hemis were a 426 cubic inch V8 that boasted 425hp back in the mid-'60s.  It remained the most powerful V8 Dodge put into a production car until the introduction of the third generation Hemis in the new Chargers, Magnums, 300Cs, and retro Challengers, but they've been far overshadowed by the new 6.4L 392s and their Hellcat siblings.

The classic Hemis were built in the midst of the muscle car wars of the '60s when the bir car companies were racing nearly stock versions of normal passenger cars on the track in racing leagues like Nascar (stock car racing) and NHRA (drag racing).  They wanted the most power, so they could get the most wins because of their philosophy of "win on Sunday, sell on Monday."  They figured that people wanted the biggest, meanest, most badass car they could buy, and if they were winning races, people would want to buy their cars.  This is what fueled the muscle car wars, and this is why we now have Big Block Week.

The Hemis could be found in all kinds of big, B-body Mopars such as Chargers, Coronets, Roadrunners, etc, but they were also in the newer, smaller E-body Challengers and Cudas to compete in the newer "Pony car" class.  For drag racing, they even offered a lightweight Dart or Barracuda in '68 that feature several weight-saving parts as well as a Hemi and a 4-speed.  In '69, Mopar introduced the "wing cars," the Daytona and Superbird, with their nose cones and large spoilers to add aerodynamics to their Nascar race cars powered by Hemis.  Nascar soon banned them because they were too much better than the other cars in their class.

Enough talking; look at these things!

'70 Roadrunner is my second favorite.
Cudas are my favorite.  Powerball, dude.  Powerball.

Now check out these vulgar displays of power from some Hemis;

Not necessarily Hemi cars, but still fun Mopar burnouts:

See you tomorrow!