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Ford FE engine

The Ford FE engine was Ford's big block V8 engine range sold in the North American market between 1963 and 1976. It replaced the Ford Y-block engine and in turn was replaced by the Ford 385 engine series. Some claim the name means 'Ford-Edsel', while others insist the name meant simply 'Ford Engine'.

FE series engines powered the later, large-engined AC Cobra, high-performance Ford Mustangs between 1968 and 1970, many Ford Galaxies including racing cars, Ford Thunderbirds until halfway through 1968, and many others.

Table of contents
1 352 ci
2 390 ci
3 406 ci
4 410 ci
5 427 ci
6 428 ci
7 Replacement

352 ci

390 ci

406 ci

410 ci

427 ci

Ford's 427 cubic inch V8, introduced in 1963, was a racing engine pure and simple, for NASCAR stock car racing and drag racing and serious street racers. The true displacement of the 427 was actually 425 cubic inches, but Ford called it the 427 because 427 cubic inches was the NASCAR maximum size. The block was made of high nickel content iron and was made with an especially thickened deck to withstand higher compression. Forged pistons were employed (the only production Ford big-block with such) and forged rods inherited from the 390 Hi-Po.

Two different models of 427 block were produced, the 427 top oiler and 427 side oiler. The top oiler version was the earlier, and delivered oil to the cams first and the crank second. It gained something of a reputation for insufficient crankshaft lubrication under heavy abuse and spinning bearings, throwing rods and other failures under such use. The side oiler block, introduced in 1965, sent oil to the crank first and the cams second, and this (along with other fixes) mostly cured the problems. In street use the two blocks are equivalent.

The engine was available with low-riser, mid-riser, or high-riser intake manifolds, and either a single four-barrel carburetor or a double four-barrel setup on an aluminum manifold for highest performance. The twin four-barrel setup with the high-riser induction system is estimated to have delivered over 500 horsepower; Ford never released an official horsepower rating. Other models were rated at over 400 horsepower.

428 ci

The Ford 427 was a great race and performance engine, but it was simply impractical to manufacture economically for street use; it required tighter tolerances during manufacture than Ford's regular engine plants could deliver. In addition, it was not really suited to driving all the accessories, like air conditioning, required for a regular production series powerplant. Therefore, Ford went back to the drawing board to create an engine with fundamentally the same displacement (7.0 litres) but cheaper, with no requirement to withstand the punishing treatment given to race engines.

Regular Ford 428

Regular 428 cubic inch FE engines were fitted to Galaxies (badged simply as '7 Litre') and Thunderbirds in the 1966 and 1967 model years.

428 Police Interceptor

428 Cobra Jet

The 428 Cobra Jet, launched in April 1968, was a version of the 428 FE engine built for performance rather than cruising smoothness. Not a true racing engine, it lacked the durability and improved lubrication of the 427 but was sufficient for street use or amateur drag racing. The 428 Cobra Jet, however, could be made on a regular production line, not requiring the exacting tolerances required by the 427. The 428 Cobra Jet, however, has greater low-end torque than the 427, thanks to its longer stroke.

The Cobra Jet used a beefed-up version of the 428 block with an extra main bearing webbing and thicker main caps than the standard block.

428 Super Cobra Jet


With the 428 the FE series block had been taken to the extremes of its capacity; no more growth was possible, and advances in engine technology had rendered the FE series rather outdated. A new block was needed, and this came in the form of the Ford 385 engine series. These began to be fitted to cars starting in 1968. The FE engines were gone from Ford cars by 1969 but lingered in trucks into the mid 1970s.