Simple mods to increase h.p. in a '76 351 windsor

I know the '74-'76 cougars and the respective 351 windsors of the same era are known for sluggish performance and low (150 h.p.) horsepower. Can anyone tell me some worthwhile upgrades that I could have my mechanic do to get more performance from this engine. Im thinking straightforward parts swap-outs such as carburetor upgrade. Im not expecting drastic results but the world of performance engine parts out there is confusing to a total novice such as I am. Any input appreciated

One thing that may help is to swap in a 199/70 Cam timing chain kit. A rebuild with a mild cam can help too.

The 72 and up manufactures used a deferent method of calculating horse power that gave lower numbers. But as emission’s regulations got stiffer the methods of making these engines run cleaner killed power. The cam timing was retarded, EGR systems lower compression and lean carburation all killed horse power.

If you have $400 to $500, and can do the work your self start with the cam chain, a used Edelbrock 351W performer and a new 4V carb of your choice. Stay around or just under 600CFM. New plugs and wires. If you have a Dura Spark ignition it is a decent system.

Others will have advice too. There are a lot of ways to go.


I think ill go with the carb swap. An edelbrock 600 cfm. The labor costs for the timing chain swap will be too high to justify from what I can tell. Im not going to do any of the work myself, my mechanic is very experienced with classic cars and is reasonable too. I think the previous owner put new plugs in and an upgraded air filter. Not sure if I have many more options for straightforward swap-outs.