In Celebration of the Ford 427 SOHC

Mustang 360 has an excellent article out on the legendary big-block Ford engine that would become synonymous with raw power on the track and on the streets. Excerpted:

When the 426 Hemi left its mark on 1964 Daytona 500, Ford knew it needed to up the ante with its successful 427ci side-oiler FE block. Ford submitted its SOHC (pronounced “sock”) engine design to NASCAR for competition approval. The edict came down quick and harsh: No SOHCs in competition. Some say Bill France felt the design too exotic for a stock car, others point out that Ford developed the engine with seemingly little plan for a street car. Other’s say that Dodge threatened to build a dual-overhead-cam (DOHC) 426 “Doomsday Hemi” if NASCAR approved Ford’s SOHC. Despite the pure-race nature of the 426 Hemi, Chrysler did stuff it into anything it could to get the homologation – Ford would sell the SOHC engine only as a part number.

However, that’s not where the story ends. Ford earned the “90-Day Wonder” title after it blatantly ignored France’s rejection, and developed the SOHC in short order. By May of 1964, just a few months after Chrysler’s 1-2-3 finish at Daytona, Ford had its answer to the 426 Hemi. Sadly, it wasn’t destined to do battle with the Hemi on a NASCAR oval, as the SOHC was again banned for the 1965 competition season. Instead, Ford took the SOHC drag racing. With buckets of 1960s Detroit development dollars into the engine, and parts on the shelf, Ford had to get this engine racing. It sent engines to Pete Robinson (Atlanta), Kenz and Leslie (Colorado), Connie Kalitta (Michigan), Tom Hoover (Minnesota), and Lou Baney (California). But not long after it was clear that the SOHC program was losing corporate Ford’s support, and the drag racers were left to develop this new mystery engine themselves.

Click here to read the article at Mustang 360.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *