390 or 429 in a 67?

This is a question that has probably been asked a million times, I have a stock 67 cougar, 289 2v, automatic. My friend has a 390 and a 429 for sale (blocks only) for less than a core. I plan on dropping in a Summit C4, 308 rear with a locker, disc brakes. We don’t know what the 390 came out of and I was told only a 390 gt will fit in the 67-68s due to the exhaust clearance. Which would you guys go with? I want some hp but I don’t want 5mpgs, that’s why I’m only gonna run a 3.08 rear gear. Thanks.

You could stroke the 390 with a 428 crank @3.98 or the aftermarket ones are like 4.150 I think.

Here is everything you need to know about a 429/460 swap into a 67-70 Cougar.

A good read, and that 460 looks sweet. I just sold a 460 out of my old 72 Lincoln Continental. Gonna have to do some thinking. Leaning towards the 390.

Personally, I’d go with the 390. Nothing against the newer engines, and a 429/460 is certainly the way to go if you’re after maximum straight line performance for the fewest dollars. But there is something inherently cool about the old FE series engines. They just look “right” under the hood of a vintage Cougar. Plus, they’re lighter than a 429/460, and mount lower, so handling will not be compromised as much.
Any 390 will fit, but only 390GT heads have the correct bolt pattern for factory Mustang/Cougar exhaust manifolds. (Although most 390 heads can be drilled and tapped for the GT style manifolds.) If you’re planning on aftermarket headers, it doesn’t matter which heads you use. Or, if your budget permits, you can use 428CJ heads and manifolds, which are freer-flowing than the 390GT pieces. Aftermarket heads, such as Edelbrocks, provide another set of options, pretty much only limited by your budget.

Unless Summit has something special I am not aware of any C4 that will bolt up to either a 390 or a 429. And a trans that will bolt to the 390 will not bolt to the 429, they have different bellhousing bolt patterns.

Randy Goodling
CCOA #95

FE to C4 is possible. Just not with stock parts. Bellhousings

If I were contemplating the trouble and expense of an engine/transmission swap, I’d be looking at a newer overdrive transmission and at least a 3.50:1 axle ratio, rather than a C4 and highway gears. But to each his own.

Right now I’m not 100% on what I’m doing. Weighing a lot of options. The Summit C4 doesn’t come with a bell housing so you have to pick the one you want. An for $1,200 it’s pretty stout, it costs that just to rebuild mine in this area. And that’s going all stock. Thanks for the input, I’ll let y’all know what I’m up to soon.

And, thanks fir the info on the GT heads. I was looking at going aftermarket headers, so an aluminum set of heads will work although they aren’t GTs. There’s only 1 Cougar on the road in my county and he’s not a mechanic. I haven’t done much Ford work, mostly GM, Dodge and Harley. So I’m starting new on Fords. Thanks.

Check the Edelbrock heads for the supported exhaust configurations. My set will not accept the 390GT exhaust, and I am looking for headers which will fit the heads and the Cougar’s engine bay. If you come up with something, I love to hear, as mine is still a few months away from install.

Also be sure to watch WCCC’s suspension reinforcement video for big block support upgrades. I got the lower cross member gussets, shock tower supports, and of course, the export brace. Don pretty much insisted :biggrin2:

I will be adding the plate behind the rear seat as well.

The 428CJ manifolds are an excellent choice. They require one additional hole compared to the GT configuration. Really not that hard to make the mod when you have the heads off the car.

Thanks for the education. I was not aware of these being made. I suppose that they are made mostly for the racing crew.

Randy Goodling
CCOA #95

I know I’m answering a question you didn’t ask, but if you aren’t absolutely married to the idea of a big block, consider a 351W. Granted, there’s a certain sex-appeal associated with having a big block underhood that’s hard to put a price on. But as a practical matter, a 351 with modern aluminum heads and complimentary cam, induction and exhaust will make plenty of power for a street car. It can even be bored and stroked to big-block cubic inches, and with an aluminum intake and heads, won’t weigh any more than a stock 289/302. A 351 saves the hassle/expense of new engine mounts, shock tower reinforcement, heavier duty front springs, sway bar re-location and etc. required for a proper big-block swap. And the bellhousing pattern is the same as any other smallblock Ford, so a C4 bolts right up.
Just something else to think about.

You can also buy stroker kits pretty resonable now as well to add some more power. This is the route I would go.

A 351 saves the hassle/expense of new engine mounts, shock tower reinforcement,

The shock towers are a problem even on 289 cars, as Don points out in the video. Many of the other reinforcements are for the Power/Torque the engine generates more than it’s actual weight.

No argument that the un-reinforced shock towers are a weak point, and reinforcements are a good idea on any Cougar that didn’t get them from the factory, particularly considering they’re all 40-odd years old.
Still, I have a hard time picturing engine torque being that much of a factor on the shock towers, given that the engine connects to the chassis at a point lower than where the cracking typically occurs. On the other hand, force is transmitted through the shock towers every time the suspension moves. The greater the weight of the engine, the greater the force and stress on the suspension, and the components they’re attached to.

Thanks, I am gonna tear everything out as soon as I get a few othe projects done. There’s a lot of sheet metal work to be done. By then I’ll have made an engine choice. My wife wants a 65-66 Stang and they are high around here, unless it’s a 6 cylinder or engineless. So I’ll give her my 289. I’m doing a resto-mod so the engine is up in the air for now.

Thanks for the 351 info. I hadn’t considered it much. (Had a Maverick once with a 351, threw a rod 100 miles from home at 1:00 am) Checked Craigslist for prices and if I go 351, it’ll be a crate. Bare blocks are running $1,000-$1,500 no crank no pistons. Full blocks without an intake, flywheel or brackets are around $7,000. The 390 and 429 are $250 apiece.

I wouldn’t pay much attention to those prices you’re quoting. You can buy a 351W for a lot less than that.

I agree with AL. You can get a 351 for the same price as the 390/460 you’re looking at, and parts are more available and cheaper to build a 351. The 351/5.8L was produced from 1969 to 1997, so their are a lot of them around. You can build a pretty stout 351 (383,393,408) for around $6,000. I’m in no way putting down a nice built FE 390 motor as they produce a lot of torque, but if you’re doing it on a budget the 351 would be a better route.

Here are a couple: http://grandrapids.craigslist.org/pts/3998039729.html