Hi all. I am looking for some easy motor options for my Pantera. I have searched the forum and there are some hard ones that I want to avoid. I’d like 400+hp and as little modification as possible. If there is a flat plane crank motor that fits that description I’d love that bc love that sound. Want to keep it a Ford motor as well. Thanks!
Replies sorted oldest to newest
If your goal is “easy”, and this also happens to maintain some originality, rebuild your Cleveland. Getting 400 hp can be easily accomplished.
ANY other engine will come with a long list of changes necessary for it to be installed and function.
I assume you have a 351C in your Pantera now. Why not simply have it rebuilt with a few mods. It will be reliable and make well over 400 Hp. If you want a more exotic exhaust note, use 180° headers.
If you want a Ford flat plane crank engine, there’s only one; the Voodoo version of the Coyote, from the Shelby GT350. Count on $15K to $20K for a good used one plus another $5K to $10K to finish the installation.
Thanks for the advice! Can you recommend any good rebuilders in Northern California. I don’t really want to do the work myself bc already have 1 motor apart in the shop
If it were me, I’d strap my engine to a pallet and ship it to Dave McLain in Missouri. Then you know it’s done right. Building a 351C motor requires very specific knowledge of its quirks and issues. Dave works closely with Dan Jones, who’s forgotten more about 351C’s than most engine builder’s have ever known. When it comes to knowledge of the 351C, Dan’s only peer is our own George Pence. If George recommends an engine builder on the West Coast, I’d be comfortable with his recommendation but failing that, the guy I’m 100% confident in is Dave McLain.
1057 Hwy DD, Cuba, MO 65453
Wow excellent Thanks! The motor runs perfectly, but I’d just like a better exhaust note and to be able to burn the tires a little bit more😉. Initially I was leaning toward selling the car, and building another bc I have my own demons telling me to leave it be mostly stock and beautiful except for minor changes like brakes and power steering… I’ll call the guys you recommended to see costs to do it! Thanks!
If George recommends an engine builder on the West Coast, I’d be comfortable with his recommendation
About 20 years ago, on the Clevelands Forever forum, a fellow asked how to build a 400 horsepower Cleveland. Jon Kaase, who hung out on that forum back then, replied "pull two plug wires". I've always loved that reply.
A freshened-up "351 Cobra Jet", 4V heads, factory cam, compression raised to 10:1 & equipped with a non-emissions carburetor, has a potential output of 350 horsepower. The 10:1 compression is where the pep, throttle response, acceleration, and low rpm torque come from. The car's 0 to 60 time will improve by 2 to 3 seconds based on compression alone. The horsepower number is secondary, its not as important as the compression.
The performance of a "de-smogged" engine like that is a startling improvement over any "production" 351C, especially the Muskie Act compliant post-1971 versions. It's a good place to start, to figure out if going any further is even necessary. I truly believe its enough engine for the majority of people.
Add headers and tail pipes … perhaps the Hall GTS system … and the engine's output shall increase to 365 horsepower. Add a Blue Thunder manifold (or Scott Cook's dual plane manifold) and the engine's output shall increase to 390 horsepower. Adding a street-able short duration, low overlap, hydraulic flat tappet camshaft with 0.530-inch gross valve lift would nudge the output to about 425 horsepower. Those numbers assume the cylinder head work isn't botched! I fear it is botched more often than not.
Keep the camshaft duration and overlap low (114° lsa), raise the compression, and the tire burning shall follow.
425 naturally aspirated horsepower is on par with the top pre-emissions (pre-1968) production street engines of the muscle car era: Ford's 8-bbl 427 (R code), Chrysler's 8-bbl 426 Hemi, Chevy's 4-bbl 396 (L78), and Chevy's 4-bbl 427 (L72) were all rated 425 horsepower. Pontiac's 6-bbl 421 Super Duty was the lowest rated at merely 376 horsepower, and Chevy's 6 bbl 427 (L71) was the highest rated at 435 horsepower.
Ford's Coyote based Boss 302 didn't surpass that until 2012.
About a recommendation:
The Cleveland is a 50 year old engine, nothing new about this engine has been discovered in 40 years. You'd think all the special considerations for assembling a Cleveland would have become de rigueur 40 years ago. But that isn't so.
The problem today is that most of the new breed of internet-based machinists and mechanics have adopted the title of "engine builder" like its some sort of anointing. Sadly, they behave as though they know it all, thus they can't be told anything. They resist learning anything from the older generation. The worst of them don't even show respect for the older generation. I do not recommend doing business with anyone who doesn't respect their elders.
A mechanic's stance on tappet bore bushings is an excellent "tell". A Cleveland guy is likely to recommend them to you before you get around to asking him about them. When you ask about them he'll reply something like "well of course", like installing tappet bore bushings is perfectly normal, no big deal. All the others shall have a myriad of excuses or arguments against them.
There was a time, it doesn't seem like that long ago, when you could have sent your engine to Dyno Don himself. I'm SoCal based. I'm not aware of mechanics in central or northern California. All the good Cleveland mechanics I knew of are retired or have passed-on.
There's a guy in New England who understands the Cleveland's special considerations, but as it turned out his business ethics stunk.
On the other hand, Tim Meyer and I don't see eye to eye on everything, but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend him; he's an honorable man and a good machinist. The problem in recommending Tim, I don't know where his business stands at this moment, I don't know if he's still building engines, or if he's focused on selling parts (engine blocks).
My personal preference is to offer guidance to the do-it-yourself home mechanic. Are you sure you don't have time to build it yourself? The trick is to buy a spare engine, long block, or short block, and rebuild that at your own pace. Leave the current engine in the car, so you can continue to enjoy driving it while you prep a new engine.
@davidnunn called and McLain is not building anymore. I really don’t want to do it myself, just would rather do other work that I find more fun. Reached out to PIM in SoCal. They can do a 351w stroker, but all together well over $20k… would really like to do original motor with some mods
@If-tp2511 ya they said $12.5K for stroker 427 and then about $6K in other stuff+ labor... I haven't ever shopped for an engine, so not sure if that is pretty normal... I hear nothing but good things about them. I can't really swing that much right now, so that is why I started this post
For what you want, there's absolutely NO REASON to shell out obscene amounts of money, or go through the hassle and expense of building and installing a Windsor! Just follow George's advice above and you'll be more than happy!
Also, I've attached an article from POCA about the engine that Dave McLain built for Lori Drew. It may be the exact recipe you are looking for. Keep us posted!
Join the Facebook Clevelands Forever - 351c.net group and ask there for builders. These guys eat, drink and crap the 351C all day long. $20K to rebuild a Ford V8? Seems a bit overkill but to each their own. I would think $5K to rebuild an existing motor but then do you have an existing motor?
You Could try this guy, Brent Lykins Motorsports he has a you tube channel has had some great result with Ford mild cam street engines.
Yes, you can change the camshaft through the metal engine hatch. One issue not yet mentioned is the OEM valves in your OEM close chamber heads. They are two piece valves, friction welded together. They are known to fail and the subsequent engine damage is usually terminal.
and yes, the heads can be removed and installed with the engine not removed. But if you’re going to pull the heads and do a cam change it might make sense to pull the ZF and engine, that will make everything much easier than doing it all with the motor staying in place
@lf-tp2511 Thanks, I think I'll pull it this winter sometime for a fun project with my kiddo. He seems a bit more interested in the Pantera than the Ferrari's.... it's really no surprise b/c at car shows, cars and coffee, or practically anywhere people gravitate at least twice as much to the car than my Fcars
@lf-tp2511 Thanks, I think I'll pull it this winter sometime for a fun project with my kiddo.
Linked below is a reply of mine from an older thread; it was the source for a portion of my reply above. It should provide food for thought & info for that fun project:
If you just rebuild another Cleveland block you will have the following fitment issues:
ZERO, NADA, ZIP, NONE
If you swap a windsor in place of the Cleveland, you will have MULTIPLE fitment issues.
I don’t recall anyone ever posting a comprehensive list of all the changes and adjustments needed for a windsor installation. but if you search the Forum archives long enough you will create a list of multiple conflicts that need to be resolved