OEM specialty engines vs custom engines...
#1
Everybody would love to own any classic car with one of the more famous engines in them.
Cobra and Super Cobra Jets, SS 396, Max Wedge 426, 440 Magnum, BOSS 302/ 351 or 429, Rocket 455, LT-1, ZL-1,etc, etc...the list goes on.

All fine motors, more or less.

But...A large part of their "special-ness"...maybe most of what makes them special is not necessarily that they are a "high performance" version of that manufacturer's more bread-and-butter variety engines.
No, to me anyway, what makes them special is that they were built that way from the factory and installed in an assembly-line vehicle.
In fact, while respecting the true gonzo OEM motors with super-rare and special parts (The Hemi's, BOSS 429s, ZL-1s and such) most of the factory hipo motors used nothing special about their "hop-up" parts that were not available in similar configuration from many aftermarket suppliers.
An equal-bore aluminum BOSS 351 intake may be a rare beast for sure, but it is functionally no better than any number of reasonably-priced aftermarket manifolds available from several manufacturers.

Any 351 Cleveland motor, even a late 74, 2V variety can be made to perform as well as the vaunted BOSS 351 with a simple recipe of aftermarket parts.
Truth be told, you could probably build a more potent version of near any factory "hipo" motor with aftermarket parts quite easily, more powerful than the factory-supplied version.

So, here's what gets me:

Over the years I have run into people...gearheds, car-nuts, or simply a plain 'ol bullshit artists...who may have a mom-and-pop version of a popular old classic.
Let's say its a '69 Mustang convertible with a factory-installed 302 2V..for example.
He might have it dressed up nice and with a few aftermarket goodies on it and suddenly it is now sporting a "BOSS 302" engine.
Or a 70 Thunderbird with a 429 2V gets an intake and a 4 barrell and now it is magically a "429 Cobra Jet".

The thing about this that gets me is that not only is it pretty obvious to anyone with a little knowledge about that particular make if the guy is being truthful or not, but their total lack of understanding what makes them special in the first place.
As far as I'm concerned...an authentic 429 Cobra Jet engine has little or no value if it is removed from the car it was built with. The car itself now has far less value without its original engine, and the engine itself is now nothing more than devalued collector's item.

Unless the engine somehow came to the owner for free or close to it...it would be far easier and cheaper to build a better and more reliable engine with aftermarket parts.

Hunting down an authentic BOSS 351 engine to install in a '72 fastback would be a waste of money to me. Just build a Cleveland and save some money.

Kind of a tough concept to explain, and I certainly don't expect everyone to agree with me, but...

That's my beef!
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#2
I tend to agree with you. A car is only original once and it evolves from there. Anything, replaced is reducing it's originality, even down to the spark plugs, so unless it was driven off the line, put in a sealed container, (preferably a climate controlled one). Then and only then could it be a true 100% original. But as we all know would be the exception to the rule, and most cars don't make it past 6 months without being changed. So by now 40 some odd years later, so many things are long gone and forgotten that digging around to find that ultra rare combination of parts to truly create a actual Boss 351 or 429 Super Cobra Jet is only relevant to the person doing it. and as you said there is little or no real value to it. This idea of creating one almost like a "Boss". Makes me wonder why they didn't look a little harder and start with something rare to begin with??? "My thoughts" Build it as "Bad" as you can and drive the Hell out of it! JTS 71 Mach1
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#3
Mine came as a '71 H-code Mach 1, and I was just so thrilled to learn it came with a 351 Cleveland... and I had no idea what the engine code meant. After doing some research, I learned about the 'lowly' H-Code, but had decided that even 245hp was nothing to be "ashamed" of. Even so, the plan was to always build it with performance and longevity in mind - to me, that started with a roller cam, rolling valve-train, and Edelbrock induction. Now that I have all those things in place (along with others), the engine is a monster... even with its 2V heads (mildly ported, and polished with hardened valve seats and roller rockers). Using CamQuest at CompCams to not only help pick my cam, but also some of the other things needed to get to a healthy 400-ish hp number.

So, I tend to agree about people and their claims... which can border on ridiculous. Especially, when after everything I've done to my lowly "H-Code" 351C-2V, I could probably smoke a Boss 351 or 429CJ given the right conditions. Eusa_dance
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#4
No argument from this side...excellent thread Kit. Looking forward to reading more responses.
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#5
I agree with "4x4": even a lowly "H" code can be a respectable performer with the right massaging.
Fortunately for "Cleveland" fans, the engine went away before it had an opportunity to really suck!
The Beatles, Elvis, Star Trek TOS, the Pantera, Marilyn Monroe, Bruce Lee, Randy Rhoads, etc...all examples of excellence that were gone forever before they really had a chance to be bastardized and suck.
That's the "Cleveland" to me...even the worst one made still had enough original DNA intact to be respected.
Many 71-73 enthusiasts complain that the 429 was not offered into 72 or 73. But if it was, it would have been a neutered, under-whelming version of the motor...and you absolutely know that Ford's marketing geniuses would have come up with an even grander name for the engine to try and create some excitement, since the engine itself surely could not have done so. "Ultra Cobra Jet", "Max Jet" or even "King Cobra Jet" are all names that might have been used to pump life into a flaccid performance motor, trying to grab a few more dollars...all at the expense of the legend of the 428, 429 and 351s that earned thier stripes. Thankfully that never happened.
The last 455 Trans Am was a joke. The 72 SD 455 was awesome...the 76 HO 455 was an embarrasment to all T/As.

I think one of the reasons the classic Mustangs are revered is because no serious "clunkers" ever made it into the mix...but just barely.
The ''74 Mach 1 with a 2.8 litre V-6 was a knife to the heart of Mach 1 enthusiasts, and the abominable '75 Cobra II with a weezy 2.3 litre 4-cyl as standard equipment was the death-punch to Shelby fans.
The faux-awesome "King Cobra" with its ground-pounding 130 horsepower 302 2V was the ultimate slap in the face to the faithful Ford fans of only a few years before.

The "Cleveland" motors are all legendary, as are all the variations of BB Cobra Jets.

Sometimes it is better when something awesome goes away quickly...it cements the legend.
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