Reason Me Into A 385 Series

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Reason Me Into A 385 Series

Post  427HISS on August 9th 2017, 8:03 pm

Hello, I asked questions about a new engine build on another related forum site, but a friend told me to come and ask this question,.. reason me into a 385 series, as their cheaper to build and dollar to dollar more HP & TQ vs the brother, FE series.

I built a 427 Shelby Cobra replica back in 2001, and also built a mild 428FE, then rebuilt it in 2004 after the rocker the shaft broke at #1 cylinder. 470 HP rwhp.
After winning my class 62' to 68' Ford Muscle I was approached by Car Craft and Kit Car Builder magazines to be featured. We raced 360/410 dirt winged sprints cars for 14 years. I've always wanted to have a 427 side oiler, since I got all the sponsors with racing, I was thinking of a sponsord paid engine build if I could get a builder interested in supplying the machining and building the motor for the advertising, and I did.

Problem, he went bankrupt and either kept all my sponsord parts, which included a Genesis aluminum side oiler block, my $800 camcorder, tripod and bag
to record the build. $10,000 loss to me and the manufactures. I also sent him $2,000.

Anyway, with my and my wifes serious health issues, shitty health insurance and extreme medication costs, we can't afford much anymore. During the engine build, I had to sell the 428FE and Tremec tranny to help with hospital bills. Our Cobra has been sitting for 9 years now. I think,....I've gotten my "spirit for life" back, so I need to build another engine and get driving her again !

Here's the deal. The cost of anything FE has increased so much, we may not be able to build not only a side oiler, but any FE.  Because,......I can't build a mild engine for a Cobra. To each it's own, but I can't have a pusy cat engine, quiet exhaust, high back Cadillac comfey seats, stereo, a/c heated 427 Cobra. And being a racer I need tons of low down torque and high HP. I'm shooting for over 600 flywheel HP/TQ. To get their with a FE is a ton of cash, but easy with a  460 bored to 514 (+). With the dyno sheets I've seen, the 460 puts out amazing,......specs, especilly down low. I won't be racing the car alot, mainly fun street and a few racing events per season.

A few issues with a 385 series.

Although I've seen some measurments of the hight, width and length between it and the FE, they are the same except the 460 is 2" longer, but don't think that's an issue. The height is as every Cobra manufacture is a little different. The Superformance have a lot of their Cobra's have 460's. With my age od 55 and my bad health, if my hood won't close, I don't know if I want to cut out the hood scoop, make a taller one and repaint the hood on top and undernieth etc for a 460 ???

So, the good news is, we have desided to build another engine !

Bad news, we need to wait for 2 more years to pay off my Medical Jet flight to the Mayo Clinic. But, I never do rush jobs, I always research most purchase's.
As of now, my wife would like to spend $10,000 but I beleive it will be $15,000. A built 550-600 HP side oiler is apx $18,000. With those numbers a 460 s from $9,000- $13,000. 700 HP $13,000 (+) depending on better more expensive parts.

Should a 460 not matter or stay with a FE engine only,..... in a Cobra. Years ago I'd never think of other than a FE, but my need for power and the cost is a major factor now.

So, give your reasoning on a FE vs 460.

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Re: Reason Me Into A 385 Series

Post  dfree383 on August 9th 2017, 10:06 pm

IMO Find a 5.0 and a T5 and go have fun on the cheap.

A budget running car is funner than watching one sit in the garage
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Re: Reason Me Into A 385 Series

Post  rmcomprandy on August 9th 2017, 11:02 pm

You can make almost as much horsepower with a small block.

HOWEVER...
You're always going to be working on it just to keep it alive.
With a big block you can leave the hood closed and simply run it.

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Re: Reason Me Into A 385 Series

Post  427HISS on August 9th 2017, 11:34 pm

I don't want a small block and they have to work harder for the same HP than a big block. I don't mind lashing valves, so a solid roller or solid flat tappet is ok.
The 351 with the Hemi Head and stacked injection,....would be great though.

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Re: Reason Me Into A 385 Series

Post  BBFTorino on August 10th 2017, 2:04 am

This is just my own opinion, but the whole "Cobra" thing has been watered down and systematically been made almost generic over the last 25-30 years.
There are lots of very lousy fitting and looking kit cars out there, and to add insult to injury, far too many of them are now Chevy powered...which only acts to tarnish the image.
Of course there are the very very nice ones too....money no object, nice fitment, nice workmanship, and a kick ass Ford engine!!

A 500+ inch 385 series is a no brainer!! The cost difference and power per dollar easily tips the scales in the 385's favor.
Parts availability does also.
The 460 is a tad bit heavier than a FE....which is where a big inch small block would shine!!

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Re: Reason Me Into A 385 Series

Post  manofmerc on August 10th 2017, 6:14 am

Hiss I have been following your thread on Jays forum .I have a fe in my 66 comet and a 460 in my comet drag car.So I am familiar with both .It is easier to build power and torque with a 460 based engine a bit cheaper also.But somehow in your case I feel you really need a fe engine .The problem is you want 600 hp.If this is to be a street car do you really need 600 hp? Jay built a 390 based stroker with big valve ported edelbrock heads 11.1 compression and made 550 hp.I believe it had a performer rpm intake .Since your car is light and you have a manual trans you could use a victor intake for maybe 25 more hp.You are right at your 600 mark .What is hurting you with the fe build is the need for an expensive 427 block .I were you I would pull back my hp needs a bit and find a sonic checked 390-428 block and go with that add survival or bbm heads and be happy.I know you want to say you have a side oiler 427 in that car .But really do you need it?I have a 427 with 428 crank in my comet street car it is a blast to drive every body loves it!With my mild solid cam shaft it probably puts out 450hp .And really I could get by with a 390 or 428 .the back tires wouldn't know the difference .And one day I might put a milder engine in there .My 427 is a center oiler nothing wrong with a center oiler either .460s are taller if you went with a 460 based engine most intakes would require a hood modification.And being longer sometimes in a tight engine bay radiator to fan clearance is difficult .And that includes electric fan too .My 460 bracket engines have been trouble free for 20 years .I have had one rod failure and a spun #7 rod bearing .Put a big pan on it and forget it .My best time has been 10.72 at 124 mph in a 3400 lb car with edelbrock heads. I am putting together an AFR headed engine That should be a bit quicker though .Good luck to you Hiss what ever you decide but mainly get your car up and running time is running out for most of us enjoy your car that is what life is all about .Doug

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Re: Reason Me Into A 385 Series

Post  rmcomprandy on August 10th 2017, 9:51 am

IF you just mentally NEED to have an FE then a 445 cubic inch stroker 390 using "Survival" heads with other correct components will get to around 600 horsepower and be "driver" street-able. Especially with dual quads using a ported Blue Thunder 427 intake manifold.

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Re: Reason Me Into A 385 Series

Post  68galaxie on August 10th 2017, 10:13 am

Agree with Randy,

A 445 FE would be a decent choice.
The Survival heads or BBM versions can make very decent power.
Pro port cnc FE heads can be tailored to the smaller 445 engine as well making them perform
very well.

Cheers
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Re: Reason Me Into A 385 Series

Post  Paul Kane on August 10th 2017, 12:59 pm

427HISS wrote:Hello... reason me into a 385 series, as their cheaper to build and dollar to dollar more HP & TQ vs the brother, FE series...So, give your reasoning on a FE vs 460.

  • The FE engine is based on 1950s technology, while the 385 Series engine is based on 1960s technology; there is a big leap in technological advancements from the 50s to the 60s.
  • The 385 Series engine has a simplified (and thereby improved) oiling system with a better history of oiling system "reliability"
  • The 385 Series has a taller deck, wider bore spacing, and also improvements in block design which keep its weight down while having such attributes
  • Factory cylinder head designs are better almost all the way around--chamber shape, plug location, intake port architecture, etc.  This laterals over to the aftermarket heads (although the FE gains ground with it's own aftermarket head offerings)
  • The horsepower-to-dollars ratio wins against the FE, hands down
That's hastily off the top of my head; there are plenty of other reasons...one's personal preferences aside, or course.

P.S.: I've always thought if I were to build a 385 Series powered Cobra for myself it would be with a 10.200" deck block in the interest of F/R weight distribution and engine bay fitment...and for uniqueness.  To do this just use a 6.8 rodded stroker kit but with a 6.7 rod; intake manifold fitment will be a negligible issue given most manifold options for such a build.
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Re: Reason Me Into A 385 Series

Post  68galaxie on August 10th 2017, 2:33 pm

Sure 385 series is 15 year newer technology - that being said how many 24 hrs of le mans did a 385 series win?
The FE has a far greater racing heritage than does the 385 series.

Sure a 385 is cheaper than an FE - so is a small block chevy or BBC.
Seeing a cobra with a 351 cleveland, 460 , or a SBC makes me walk right on by.
That is just me - I like period correct power under the hood.

I would prefer an FE in my galaxie too, but don't have the funds to finance a 750 hp FE. (and at 4100+ lbs it needs alot of hp)

But in a Cobra with 2500 lb of "heaviness" 600 HP is a low 9 second ride (if one can put the power down to the ground)
Hell, a real 400 HP in a 2500 lb car is scary fast (and likely difficult to hook up on the limited traction streets.)

Again what do I know?

Cheers - sounds like a fun project!
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Re: Reason Me Into A 385 Series

Post  427HISS on August 10th 2017, 6:30 pm

BBFTorino wrote:This is just my own opinion, but the whole "Cobra" thing has been watered down and systematically been made almost generic over the last 25-30 years.
There are lots of very lousy fitting and looking kit cars out there, and to add insult to injury, far too many of them are now Chevy powered...which only acts to tarnish the image.
Of course there are the very very nice ones too....money no object, nice fitment, nice workmanship, and a kick ass Ford engine!!

A 500+ inch 385 series is a no brainer!! The cost difference and power per dollar easily tips the scales in the 385's favor.
Parts availability does also.
The 460 is a tad bit heavier than a FE....which is where a big inch small block would shine!!

I agree. Company's started out in the 70's with a big heart, wanting to recreate a cost effective Cobra, but fell short in quality. The late 80's were better, but high quality started to happen in the90's, starting with the ERA. Most of the top 5 were/are very good cars, seeing almost identical to the origionals. The Kirkhams are not only correct in every aspect, but you can order on that Carroll could only dream about, but, at a high cost. Shelby Interprises also have replicas in fiberglass or metal. Today, the top 5 or so can be built from $35,000 to over $60,000, just watch out for the lower cost replicas, as their junk.

manofmerc wrote:Hiss I have been following your thread on Jays forum .I have a fe in my 66 comet and a 460 in my comet drag car.So I am familiar with both .It is easier to build power and torque with a 460 based engine a bit cheaper also.But somehow in your case I feel you really need a fe engine .The problem is you want 600 hp.If this is to be a street car do you really need 600 hp? Jay built a 390 based stroker with big valve ported edelbrock heads 11.1 compression and made 550 hp.I believe it had a performer rpm intake .Since your car is light and you have a manual trans you could use a victor intake for maybe 25 more hp.You are right at your 600 mark .What is hurting you with the fe build is the need for an expensive 427 block .I were you I would pull back my hp needs a bit and find a sonic checked 390-428 block and go with that add survival or bbm heads and be happy.I know you want to say you have a side oiler 427 in that car .But really do you need it?I have a 427 with 428 crank in my comet street car it is a blast to drive every body loves it!With my mild solid cam shaft it probably puts out 450hp .And really I could get by with a 390 or 428 .the back tires wouldn't know the difference .And one day I might put a milder engine in there .My 427 is a center oiler nothing wrong with a center oiler either .460s are taller if you went with a 460 based engine most intakes would require a hood modification.And being longer sometimes in a tight engine bay radiator to fan clearance is difficult .And that includes electric fan too .My 460 bracket engines have been trouble free for 20 years .I have had one rod failure and a spun #7 rod bearing .Put a big pan on it and forget it .My best time has been 10.72 at 124 mph in a 3400 lb car with edelbrock heads. I am putting together an AFR headed engine That should be a bit quicker though .Good luck to you Hiss what ever you decide but mainly get your car up and running time is running out for most of us enjoy your car that is what life is all about .Doug

Hi Doug, do you have a drag race video of your Comet on youtube ? Is so, I think I've watched it. Send link.
If I were talking engines back before 2004, building a $17,000 (+) 427 side oiler or even a sprint car motor, money and this thread wouldn't be an issue,but the good O'l days of good money, good health and insurance are over. So, I need to be realistic and build as close to what I need and want, as I don't have the funds and health to change things around a second time after this engine. I need people to know how important show and go means to me. On the go, it's got to be over kill, meaning way more power than is needed. I wish you guys could drive a 360 or 410ci sprint car just once,.....to feel the power of 750 to almost 1,000 HP weighing 1,750lbs. Then get back in your car. What a frickin feel it is !
I would hate to get a engine then have a pain in the stomach thinking damn, if I had only spent a thousand bucks more ! scratch

One note. I also don't want a engine that needs to be refuled every 50 miles. lol (wife poked me on this) pale
I built a Pro-Street Camaro many,...years ago. 468 Ratt. Muncie, 9" etc I used ave gas, and on cruise nights it would get hot and out of fuel in just a few laps.

rmcomprandy wrote:IF you just mentally NEED to have an FE then a 445 cubic inch stroker 390 using "Survival" heads with other correct components will get to around 600 horsepower and be "driver" street-able. Especially with dual quads using a ported Blue Thunder 427 intake manifold.

68galaxie wrote:Agree with Randy,

A 445 FE would be a decent choice.
The Survival heads or BBM versions can make very decent power.
Pro port cnc FE heads can be tailored to the smaller 445 engine as well making them perform
very well.

Cheers

I have thought about the 445FE that Barry and others promote. If I remember,the 390 is thicker/stronger than the 428.
Barrys own head and the BBM are a fantastic performer !

Paul Kane wrote:
427HISS wrote:Hello... reason me into a 385 series, as their cheaper to build and dollar to dollar more HP & TQ vs the brother, FE series...So, give your reasoning on a FE vs 460.

  • The FE engine is based on 1950s technology, while the 385 Series engine is based on 1960s technology; there is a big leap in technological advancements from the 50s to the 60s.
  • The 385 Series engine has a simplified (and thereby improved) oiling system with a better history of oiling system "reliability"
  • The 385 Series has a taller deck, wider bore spacing, and also improvements in block design which keep its weight down while having such attributes
  • Factory cylinder head designs are better almost all the way around--chamber shape, plug location, intake port architecture, etc.  This laterals over to the aftermarket heads (although the FE gains ground with it's own aftermarket head offerings)
  • The horsepower-to-dollars ratio wins against the FE, hands down

That's hastily off the top of my head; there are plenty of other reasons...one's personal preferences aside, or course.

P.S.: I've always thought if I were to build a 385 Series powered Cobra for myself it would be with a 10.200" deck block in the interest of F/R weight distribution and engine bay fitment...and for uniqueness.  To do this just use a 6.8 rodded stroker kit but with a 6.7 rod; intake manifold fitment will be a negligible issue given most manifold options for such a build.

Why do you prefer the 10.200 deck ?

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Re: Reason Me Into A 385 Series

Post  427HISS on August 10th 2017, 10:59 pm

My picks are too large, so trying something.

http://www.429-460.com/t26311-reason-me-into-a-385-series#298830

Didn't work.

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Re: Reason Me Into A 385 Series

Post  427HISS on August 10th 2017, 11:16 pm

I don't know this builder, but here's an example of a 385 series, the price and power vs a FE. Can't compete. $9,400.
Do the spec numbers add up to the posted HP/TQ ?

F-P-S  Racing

COMPLETE MOTOR
630 HP / 675 TQ
4.300 stroke 6.300 rods 4.44 bore

Cast Nodular stroker Crank
4340 Full floating Forged H Beam Rods w/ ARP bolts
4032 Alloy Forged Pistons
10.5:1 compression
Promoly ring set, with special low tension rings
CL-77 Rod and Main Bearings
Aluminum Alloy Avenger - TFS-SCJ CNC Ported Cylinder Heads
Pacific Aluminum Roller Rocker Arms
Manley Chromoly Pushrods
Pacific Custom Solid ft Lifter Camshaft
Speed Pro ft Lifters
Fel Pro Gaskets
Stainless Bolt kit
7qt Oil Pan, pick up and dipstick
Tru Roller Timing Set
Melling Oil Pump
Moly Oil Pump Drive
Main Studs
Pacific Main Support w/studs
Moly head bolts
Timing Cover
Victor Intake
Aftermarket SFI Balancer
ProComp Billet Distributor
Polished Aluminum Valve Covers
OE Early Model Block
Balanced
Completely Assembled

Price $9,399.99

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Re: Reason Me Into A 385 Series

Post  manofmerc on August 11th 2017, 4:53 am

Hiss a friend of mine posted a video of my comet several years ago on you tube .If was at silver dollar raceway Reynolds ga. my car is white . This 460 based engine you posted sounds good but sometimes cheap is well cheap .The crank and rods sound suspect to me .A pro comp distributor ?? Come on now aren't you aware of their issues ?A junkyard duraspark is better than that. If you want a 460 stroker go with proven scat components .Cheap and reliable .As far as the fe oiling goes no worries proper clearances restrict the valve train and the correct oil pan and pump it is all good .I cant help but think you still would be fine with a 390 based stroker with really good heads .But it seems you want to use a new 427 block. If that's the case save your $$$$ get one and go to work .Didn't you see John V. on the fe forum had a NOS 427 shortblock for sale ? It was about $7000 quite a bargain if you ask me .Maybe it is still available he posts often so getting in contact with him shouldn't be hard .Hiss the worst thing you could do would be purchasing a 460 with suspect internals .I see a lot of those available .The builders on this forum would set you in the right direction think about that .Doug afro

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Re: Reason Me Into A 385 Series

Post  D. Sea on August 11th 2017, 8:37 am

Love both engine families and in fact I used to run 428s and 427 in my current race car but now run 385 series engines. That being said...

If/When I ever build or buy a Cobra Replica it will be FE powered...

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Re: Reason Me Into A 385 Series

Post  dfree383 on August 11th 2017, 10:23 am

427HISS wrote:I don't want a small block and they have to work harder for the same HP than a big block. I don't mind lashing valves, so a solid roller or solid flat tappet is ok.
The 351 with the Hemi Head and stacked injection,....would be great though.

You said you don't have the $$, the you say you want a $30,000 small block.

Get an inexpensive engine and go have fun and save your money you don't have to burn.

The value of you car will change very little having either a fun little cheap small block or a big time big block
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Re: Reason Me Into A 385 Series

Post  427HISS on August 11th 2017, 11:51 am

That is just an example,..of the power and price vs the FE, not that I would buy it. Cheap is cheap, and most of the time you get what you pay for.
 There are a lot of builders that offer all the well built, well known brands of parts, with almost the same price as this builder. $9,000 to $14,000, 600HP700HP for a 460 stroker.

Barry and Craft and several others, have real nice 460 strokers for around those prices, with great well known products.

I'll do some checking with John V.

I did not say the Hemi headed 351 is an option, just that it would be nice if I went with a small block. That ain't gonna happen.
Heck, a 427 side oiler with twin Paxton blowers would also be nice. That ain't gonna happen either.

Examples-

Craft Racing Engines (easy to paste off his website. (Barry and many others have great engines)

Ford FE Crate Engines

Ford FE

390 FE 416-445 Budget Blueprint Crate Engine
390 FE 416-445 Budget Blueprinted

Our Price: $10,995.00
390 FE 416-445 Street Crate
416-454ci Crate Engine

Our Price: $13,895.00
428 FE 428-463 Street Crate
428-463 Crate Engine

Our Price: $14,895.00
482/496 FE Pond Aluminum Street Crate
482/496 FE Pond Aluminum Street Crate
482/496 Pond Crate

Our Price: $19,695.00
482/496 FE Shelby Street Crate
482/496 FE Shelby Street Crate
482/496 Shelby Crate

Our Price: $23,595.00
527 FE Shelby Street/Performance Crate
527 FE Shelby Street/Performance Crate
482/496 Shelby Crate

Our Price: $25,995.00
482/496 FE SOHC Cammer Crate
482/496 FE SOHC Cammer Crate
482/496 SOHC Crate

Our Price: $45,995.00
482 FE Blower Crate Engine
482 FE Blower Crate Engine
482 Blower Crate Engine

Our Price: $38,995.00
---------------------------------------

Ford Big Block 460

Ford Big Block Crate Engines

Ford Big Block 460

466 BBF Budget Blueprinted
466 Budget Blueprint Keith Craft Crate Engine

Our Price: $9,895.00
514 BBF Street Crate
514 Crate Engine

Our Price: $12,595.00
572 BBF Street/Performance Crate
572 Crate Engine

Our Price: $13,699.00
600 Pro Series Crate
600 Pro Series Crate
600 Crate Engine

Our Price: $29,995.00





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Re: Reason Me Into A 385 Series

Post  dfree383 on August 11th 2017, 1:39 pm

And for less than $4000 you could do a 400hp 5.0 that's still a barrel of monkeys in a 2400lb cobra.

Those cars are nothing but tire burners with big engines anyway

But hey that's just my thoughts
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Re: Reason Me Into A 385 Series

Post  jasonf on August 11th 2017, 3:16 pm

I have a cobra with a 4.6 DOHC and I have a friend with a 460 cobra. It scares the bejezuz out of him and it has swapped directions on him in the past. My car is weak but a huge hspr engine can be a handful. You say that you used to race cars so that could make a big difference in driving experience over the average cobra owner. Laughing If I was starting with nothing I would build a big inch windsor. You will still be in the same price range of $10k and make in the 500+ hspr range and be lighter to handle better. I hate fe's, junky old, oil leaking, over priced crap IMO. It isn't an original cobra so who cares about an FE...

FWIW I originally was looking for a 460 powered cobra and lots of them had 4 speeds in them. Apparently everyone has money for a big block but can't afford overdrive. I wanted to actually drive my car. We've put almost 10k miles on it and it is alot of fun but not that comfortable. lol
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Re: Reason Me Into A 385 Series

Post  427HISS on August 11th 2017, 4:39 pm

"Apparently everyone has money for a big block but can't afford overdrive" lol.....

I would really have to have a cool & unigue small block to change my big block mind. (Would love stacked injection)

I never had any leak problems with my 428FE. It may be that any of the gaskets or silicone wasn't properly sealed, not the fault of the FE engine.
The chain cover can be a pain in the ass to get centered and seal right. Unlike other makes, the FE does not have nipples to anchor the cover.

Who are some of the engine builders here that you guys like and their websites ?

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Re: Reason Me Into A 385 Series

Post  427HISS on August 11th 2017, 4:54 pm

Jason, I was driving with a friend in the passenger seat, that has a beautiful 440 Cuda, exiting right onto a half circle off ramp.
So I hit the throttle, quick left jerk of the steering wheel, setting the car into a drift at maybe only 45 mph, and he was FREEKING......."stop, Kevin stop, you're scaring the shit out of me" !!!   Shocked

That was so funny !  cheers

PS- post pics of your Cobra.

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Re: Reason Me Into A 385 Series

Post  Mark Miller on August 11th 2017, 11:52 pm

jasonf wrote:I have a cobra with a 4.6 DOHC and I have a friend with a 460 cobra. It scares the bejezuz out of him and it has swapped directions on him in the past. My car is weak but a huge hspr engine can be a handful. You say that you used to race cars so that could make a big difference in driving experience over the average cobra owner. Laughing If I was starting with nothing I would build a big inch windsor. You will still be in the same price range of $10k and make in the 500+ hspr range and be lighter to handle better. I hate fe's, junky old, oil leaking, over priced crap IMO. It isn't an original cobra so who cares about an FE...

FWIW I originally was looking for a 460 powered cobra and lots of them had 4 speeds in them. Apparently everyone has money for a big block but can't afford overdrive. I wanted to actually drive my car. We've put almost 10k miles on it and it is alot of fun but not that comfortable. lol

Can you post any under hood pictures of the 4.6 DOHC in your Cobra?

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Re: Reason Me Into A 385 Series

Post  BOSS 429 on August 12th 2017, 8:32 am

granada TOP LOADER over drive, its a 4 speed.

or a toploader with a 3.70 gear
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Re: Reason Me Into A 385 Series

Post  jasonf on August 12th 2017, 12:46 pm

You will have to forgive my FE comments. In high school we did maintenance on the county trucks which were 70's F series trucks and FE motors. I hated those 100 lb intakes manifolds and never liked FE's again. lol.

Mark Miller wrote:

Can you post any under hood pictures of the 4.6 DOHC in your Cobra?







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Re: Reason Me Into A 385 Series

Post  jasonf on August 12th 2017, 1:03 pm

Here is my friends 460 powered Cobra. It originally had Webers on it but he kept having driving issues so he went to a single 4 bbl.





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