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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

Intended use: touring / back-country twisties. No track. I like spirited riding as much as the next guy, but find no interest in drag racing.

I know there's a "more power is always better" school of thought, but I am aware that the FFR Roadster will not have modern traction control, ABS etc. I also know that it's very light, so I am not trying to overwhelm the car and plan to build something that's fun but not unnecessary for my use.

I am struggling between two options for the 302 engine:


stage-1 (red-line: 5600)

Colorfulness Slope Font Line Parallel


Stage 2 (Canadian $2k more, redline: 6000) :-

Colorfulness Azure Slope Font Line



I do plan to get the best brakes I can + power steering for low-speed + other comfort upgrades + the stickiest summer tires I can find. The plan at the moment is to go with 3-link since it's "good enough" for my use, but I can be convinced to go IRS. But engine is one area where I am debating between these two options.
 

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I would go with the top one because the torque it almost the same. You dont really need more horsepower. Go IRS you wont regret it. Once you compare price between the 2 it makes sense. If you source the complete IRS from a Mustang, you can save a few bucks too and get the brakes.
Mike
 

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Do you have an engine builder picked out? Sourcing parts and/or crate motors can be a bit tricky in Canada, just not as many options as in the states. Maybe try and track down a couple of shops local to you. I would also keep an eye on Kijiji for either complete motors or parts you may need. Good Luck. Scott
 
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Official OLD GUY
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zee,
FWIW, I have been driving around in a basically stock block 302 ( 5.0 ) for 18 years without a single regret. I had the choice to go larger when the car was built, decided I wanted to do what you are talking about . . . had my fill of drag racing and tracking a car and wanted a more subdued experience as I was getting older ( I'm 73 now). Least I say more, I LOVE twisty roads . . . nothing like a spirited run up or down a mountain road with quick banked turns. Open road driving is the best, hands down.

That being said, a 302 can really come alive with the proper head / cam / intake system installed. All basically bolt on and not much needed in custom machine work. I ran aluminum heads, a factory FORD E-303 roller cam and a FORD "tubular" GT-40 intake with factory EFI . . . pulled 321 HP easily. Never had an issue with breaking the rear tires loose (315's) thru 3rd gear. And yet, the car was very comfortable to drive on long cruises, 500 miles in a day. Not "twitchy" like some over-powered cars can be. Quick acceleration, over-sized brakes made for the perfect car for "twisty roads".

And if you can budget for it, go independent in the rear and over-sized brakes. I did not require power brakes or steering on my car, but that's a personal choice . . .

Doc
 
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I would go with the Stage 1. The peak torque is about the same. But the torque comes on sooner, and is a bit flatter. Much more area under the curve. Exact shift points won't be critical, and it will be a hoot to drive.
 
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I'd choose #2. Zinging it to 6000 occasionally is a hoot.
 

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For touring and twisties as well good response in 5th on the interstate, I would go with stage 1. More instant fun under the curve.

Stage 3 looks interesting too but it's more than you need for touring and twisties. The car will be "scarier" when you get into it. MPG will suffer, if you care about that.
 

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All of them will work and will make for a fun car. I also do not track my Cobra and use it touring and twisties. I live on a twisty mountain road, so every drive is a good one. With that said, my car is most like Stage 1 you listed above. There are times that I want more power, but I have no plans to do anything about it. Mainly, because I just love driving the car so much. The difference between Stage II and Stage III is "Wow, this car can kill me", to "Wow, this car is actuality trying to kill me." :)
 

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Ford 5.0 302 one of the best Engines they EVER made ! Time tested,battle proven,Reliable,Dependable,always starts,Never overheats,and 200 pounds less than a 427.....A 2100 pound car doesn't need much to push it fast. 302/345 hp.
Car Hood Vehicle Motor vehicle Automotive design
 

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My car has a mostly stock 302, probably about 250hp, 2200lbs and it’s a blast to drive. Yes more power is almost always better but I can already lay rubber in 3rd gear so what’s the point.
If you want big horsepower it’s cheaper to do it the first time than to buy a second engine later on.
 
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well having had the mk1 for 16 years. the injected 302 is warmed a little throttle body upper intake and maf . is ok but im looking into the blue print 370HP 302 they start around 5100.00 us have a warranty and be just a little short of the horsepower ratings of the smallblock cars . these cars dont need a lot of horse power to make the pucker factor multiply . just remember you want it to hook up not blow the tires off from it , unless your into that lol
 

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Since the lock down, there have not been many car shows, so we have been organizing drives. We will get a group of 10-30 cars and pick out a route and go. My MKII is usually the lowest HP car there by at lease 50%(not including the Miatas) The number of 500+hp vehicles that can be had by anyone is kind of out of control. What we have found after 8+ trips is that the people with the Miatas and my Cobra have the most fun on the drives. A handful of my friends picked up some really nice cars like Porsche Cayman S, 911s, AMGs, Audi R8s etc only to sell them in a year or two. Mainly because it is more fun to drive a slow car fast vs a fast car slow. And the used market is crazy, so they broke even or made money. With the Cobra, every drive is an experience. Even when we would get stuck on a mountain road construction or one way light, the roadsters are just more fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Since the lock down, there have not been many car shows, so we have been organizing drives. We will get a group of 10-30 cars and pick out a route and go. My MKII is usually the lowest HP car there by at lease 50%(not including the Miatas) The number of 500+hp vehicles that can be had by anyone is kind of out of control. What we have found after 8+ trips is that the people with the Miatas and my Cobra have the most fun on the drives. A handful of my friends picked up some really nice cars like Porsche Cayman S, 911s, AMGs, Audi R8s etc only to sell them in a year or two. Mainly because it is more fun to drive a slow car fast vs a fast car slow. And the used market is crazy, so they broke even or made money. With the Cobra, every drive is an experience. Even when we would get stuck on a mountain road construction or one way light, the roadsters are just more fun.
True that. I tried to convince myself to just make my life easy and get a Miata instead of cobra but the itch to build won’t go away.
 

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zee,
FWIW, I have been driving around in a basically stock block 302 ( 5.0 ) for 18 years without a single regret. I had the choice to go larger when the car was built, decided I wanted to do what you are talking about . . . had my fill of drag racing and tracking a car and wanted a more subdued experience as I was getting older ( I'm 73 now). Least I say more, I LOVE twisty roads . . . nothing like a spirited run up or down a mountain road with quick banked turns. Open road driving is the best, hands down.

That being said, a 302 can really come alive with the proper head / cam / intake system installed. All basically bolt on and not much needed in custom machine work. I ran aluminum heads, a factory FORD E-303 roller cam and a FORD "tubular" GT-40 intake with factory EFI . . . pulled 321 HP easily. Never had an issue with breaking the rear tires loose (315's) thru 3rd gear. And yet, the car was very comfortable to drive on long cruises, 500 miles in a day. Not "twitchy" like some over-powered cars can be. Quick acceleration, over-sized brakes made for the perfect car for "twisty roads".

And if you can budget for it, go independent in the rear and over-sized brakes. I did not require power brakes or steering on my car, but that's a personal choice . . .

Doc
Ditto! I have a 65' Coupe with a carburated 302 with a cam'ed engine. No regrets!. The car is stick shift - so you're not going to get the same romp & stomp as an automatic. [I have an 2019 BMW M5 Competition].
The car is light - it pulls great off the line. The manual. brakes and steering are great.

The car is entirely its own experience...and a very authentic one. The car requires your engagement - in a very fulliing way. Again I have 600HP M5 and I don't for one second compare these cars. They are a totally unique experience.
That said, I'm older 50+ had lots of cars...so I don't want my coupe to be my 'everything' car.
 

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Hi zee,
It’s kind of refreshing to see someone with a more practical approach to this rather impractical project. There is a strong tendency to go over the top on almost all aspects. After all, it is a Cobra! I still have a 302 with app 340 hp at the crank. I’m on my 3rd induction system (long, medium, and short intake runners). Each give you a different driving experience. Also, not mentioned much, is that a Cobra with 90 inch wheel base, is more like a cart than a car, especially the muscle cars that most of us cut our teeth on. So expect snap spins if not driven correctly through the turns. The 3 link will probably be enough but the properly setup IRS might give better overall handling. I have a 3 link with a watt’s link setup (5 link???). Anyway: if you get power steering, install a Heitz (sp) valve. It will allow you to adjust the feel on the steering wheel. Doesn’t change the ratio but can make a difference in road feel esp. in different conditions like AX or tight curves. I was over correcting when full power from the pump was used So dumbed it down a couple of turns.
I think the stage two would be better personally. But either would work. Gear it at 3.55 or 3.70. That seems to be the sweet spot for the diff on these cars. You will love it. It is really hard not to enjoy driving a Cobra.
BTW: at some point you may decide to go bigger. After almost 10 yrs I will be switching the 302 to a Windsor based 402 with an aluminum block. I think it’s time and I deserve 100+ hp and almost 150 lb. diet on the engine. Won’t hurt the handling and will make me be a little more scared!

Good luck with your build,

WEK
 

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Just an FYI since engine weights have been brought up.

When I purchased my Challenge Car it came with a race spec 302, TrickFlow intake, heads and throttle body. At the same time I had my aluminum 427 Windsor, (RDI block, the predecessor to the Ford Z351 block and a bit heavier). I weighed both engines using one pad of a corner scale set checked with known weights. Then I equalized weights of accessories to be a reasonably close, apples to apples measurement.

The iron 5.0/302 weighed 388.5 and was supposed to have about 375hp. The aluminum 427w weighed 399.5 and had 535hp when new, probably about 560 now with upgrades. I'll take the 10 pound weight penalty for the bump in HP.

A Ford Boss 351 iron block is 205# shipping weight, probably 195# uncrated. The Z351 aluminum block shows a shipping weight of 118#. I think my spare block weighs 108#. The DART aluminum Windsor blocks are a bit lighter.

Jim
 

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FWIW, My Build Plan is intended to replicate an AC Cars AC 289 Sport Mk III, using Ned Scudder's COX 6111 for inspiration. I think it is a perfect car for exactly what you want because, as a "Mk III", it has the same appearance, chassis and coil spring suspension as a 427 Cobra, but, as a "289 Sports", it retains the same 271hp 289 as the Mk II/289 Cobra. My intention is to use BluePrint Engines 302ci/300hp crate motor. The 10% boost in power will be nice, but more than that is not really needed. The 302ci/370hp is not a bad option either, but it would add a couple grand to the cost because it doesn't come as cheap or as complete as the 300hp. And, I'd rather use that money for cruising!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
FWIW, My Build Plan is intended to replicate an AC Cars AC 289 Sport Mk III, using Ned Scudder's COX 6111 for inspiration. I think it is a perfect car for exactly what you want because, as a "Mk III", it has the same appearance, chassis and coil spring suspension as a 427 Cobra, but, as a "289 Sports", it retains the same 271hp 289 as the Mk II/289 Cobra. My intention is to use BluePrint Engines 302ci/300hp crate motor. The 10% boost in power will be nice, but more than that is not really needed. The 302ci/370hp is not a bad option either, but it would add a couple grand to the cost because it doesn't come as cheap or as complete as the 300hp. And, I'd rather use that money for cruising!
That will look awesome!

I've narrowed down my options to either 302 with T5, carb - 235 HP / 317 torque ... or the other extreme: 347 with TKX, FI - 410hp / 405 torque. I know I want a 302 based engine. I also don't want to do Coyote.

My kit won't arrive until late September, so I still have some time to decide. Should I need to sell the car, 347 with 400+ hp might sell quicker. Or am I overthinking it?
 
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