With the "Ford v Ferrari" movie opening in theaters this weekend, it might help to review some of the details which delivered victory for Ford at LeMans in 1966. There's the GT40 itself, of course, the will of Henry Ford II and his need to crush Ferrari, massive engineering and financial resources of Ford, renegade race car drivers, California hot-rodders, Carroll Shelby, and last but certainly not least the venerable Ford 427 FE Sideoiler engine. The motor that started it all.
The Ford 427 Sideoiler is a member of the FE-series of engines replacing the outgoing and short-lived Y-motor, which itself took the place of the flathead V-8. The FE-family was produced from 1958 to 1976 and was offered in displacements from 330 cubic inches on up to 428. It was available in a range of Ford cars from standard grocery hauling station wagons all the way to LeMans winning race cars. Talk about range!
Unlike other displacements in the FE-series, the 427 version - which was actually a 426, take that Chrysler! - was the only race engine in the lot; and there are many features which distinguish it from other variants. The sideoiler had a dedicated oiling system to the crank, higher nickle content in the block, shorter stroke, beefier cranks, reinforced webbing on the bottom end, splayed cross-bolts, and a solid lifter cam. All these factors ensured consistent and long-term durability of the engine on high banked NASCAR ovals and going all-out down the Mulsanne straight.
With current blocks getting scarce, and given the popularity of Cobra and GT40 kitcars and restomods, Shelby Engines offers new build 427 FE Sideoiler motors in all-aluminum from 468 cubic inches generating 550 hp all the way to 526 cubic inches and 750 hp. The motors can be configured with carburetors or fuel injection, dual points or electronic ignition, flashy or subtle dress-up kits, and to run on pump gas or racing fuel. There's something for everyone so long as you're willing to fork over anywhere between $26,299.99 and $37,299.99
The video below is of a 427 FE with a Shelby block during a few runs on a dyno, and my oh my does it sounds sweet. Buckle up.