40 years since Ford won LeMans with the 427 (and Chris Craft began installing them)

40 years since Ford won LeMans with the 427 (and Chris Craft began installing them)

Paul
Paul

June 13th, 2006, 3:43 am #1

In 1963, 1964, and 1965 FoMoCo won 101 NASCAR races with their big block racing motors, against nine (9) by GM. The 427 was an awesome weapon on the tracks. It was lightweight, powerful, and reliable.

NASCAR wasn't the only place where Henry Ford II, "The Duce", intended to assert the power of American manufacturing. He wanted to embarass Enzo Ferrari and the 427 did the job two years in a row at LeMans (and then it was outlawed from further competition).

Dearborn developed a dyno that would run the engine and transmission to simulate the LeMans race course, and they ran test mules for the full 24 hours. You could hear the motor down-shift, accelerate, and run full throttle during the test periods. It must have been awesome, and it must have cost a fortune too.


Chassis no. 1046, the Amon/McLaren 1966 Le Mans winner


Chassis no. 1046, the Amon/McLaren 1966 Le Mans winner






In 1966 it was Shelby versus Holman Moody, and those two teams wanted to beat each other worse than they wanted to beat Ferrari. Another team was fielded by Alan Mann, of UK. The teams finished in a 1, 2, 3 sweep as the big American NASCAR motor, detuned to 499 hp, ran the course without hardly breaking into a sweat.

Then in 1967 The Duce wasn't going to take any chances that Ferrari would catch up, and developed an "all new" car, the MK-4, improved in every way, but using the same big block 427. It ran 15-MPH faster than the car that won the year before.

Dan Gurney said, "if you took off in first gear and ran it up to 6200 rpm, it would be going 90-mph". That year Ford went to dominate again, but they almost took themselves out. With 4 Fords running at the front of the race, Mario Andretti had brake problems and came into the pits. The crew installed new brakes and the faulty installation caused Mario to crash the car. Two following Fords also crashed trying to avoid Andretti. That left only the car driven by Gurney and AJ Foyt.

Not commonly known, but true, Ferrari then tried to make the last Ford break, in order for them to win. Their factory driver ran the Ferrari up behind Gurney, and flashed the headlights for four laps. The Ferrari never tried to pass. The tactic was working on Gurney, and he got so mad he actually pulled the car off the track and sat there "oh, for about 10 seconds". "The Ferrari pulled off behind me and we just sat there staring at each other". Finally the Ferrari got back on the course and took off, Gurney followed, drove cautiously to protect the last Ford on the track. That's the last time he saw the Ferrari, and the rest is history.

That win saw something the French had not seen before, didn't seem to understand, or appreciate. Dan Gurney stood there with a magnum of champagne and instead of taking a polite swig and posing for the cameras, he shook the bottle and sprayed everyone including The Duce and his new wife, the press, the officials, and all the expensive cameras. Those uncivilized American upstarts, ha.

It is very interesting and historically significant that Chris Craft during the height of the Ford racing program, began installing the 427 engine in their Chris Craft Commanders. My 1966 boat is one of the very first to accept 427 power. At FXA 38 3004 R, you won't find too many out there that preceded mine, since 1966 was the first year Chris Craft used the 427 in the Commander. Previous years used the big Lincoln, a good motor, but not in the same league as the then fully developed king of NASCAR and LeMans.

When you hear someone say "they don't build them like they used to", they're right! It's been 40 years since Ford won LeMans, and many of us are still running the motor that won in our boats. Of course, we're running iron heads and intakes, they ran aluminum. Our compression and cam profiles are much less radical, and I don't think you would find a Carter AFB on the LeMans car, ha ha. The blocks are essentially the same. It's a brilliant design, and one heck of a boat motor!

In 1966 I was still in high school, and now I'm proud to own a piece of history, a Chris Craft Commander milestone marine design with two of those big dogs! My Grandfather would be proud, after all, he's the one who owned the small town Ford dealership where I got to get a peek at all those new cars during the late 50's and all through the 1960s.



Here's one of the nicest marine 427 engines I've seen, belonging to Tim Toth, and it's an "original" never having been overhauled. The automotive racing versions look good, but I think the marine versions look pretty darn good too, 80-pound cast iron lowrise intakes and all!




Regards,
Paul

FXA 38 3004 R
1966 38 Commander Express
Original 427 power
Last edited by FEfinaticP on June 13th, 2006, 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: July 15th, 2005, 8:09 pm

June 13th, 2006, 4:00 am #2

Sheesh, those were the days. Back then I was on a high school student's budget, but someone out there sure was having fun!



For you Ford fans, here's some more 427 racing history.
http://www.network54.com/Forum/424840/m ... 1142739601

Those were the days!

Paul
Last edited by FEfinaticP on June 13th, 2006, 4:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Andrew Middleton
Andrew Middleton

February 22nd, 2007, 3:53 pm #3

In 1963, 1964, and 1965 FoMoCo won 101 NASCAR races with their big block racing motors, against nine (9) by GM. The 427 was an awesome weapon on the tracks. It was lightweight, powerful, and reliable.

NASCAR wasn't the only place where Henry Ford II, "The Duce", intended to assert the power of American manufacturing. He wanted to embarass Enzo Ferrari and the 427 did the job two years in a row at LeMans (and then it was outlawed from further competition).

Dearborn developed a dyno that would run the engine and transmission to simulate the LeMans race course, and they ran test mules for the full 24 hours. You could hear the motor down-shift, accelerate, and run full throttle during the test periods. It must have been awesome, and it must have cost a fortune too.


Chassis no. 1046, the Amon/McLaren 1966 Le Mans winner


Chassis no. 1046, the Amon/McLaren 1966 Le Mans winner






In 1966 it was Shelby versus Holman Moody, and those two teams wanted to beat each other worse than they wanted to beat Ferrari. Another team was fielded by Alan Mann, of UK. The teams finished in a 1, 2, 3 sweep as the big American NASCAR motor, detuned to 499 hp, ran the course without hardly breaking into a sweat.

Then in 1967 The Duce wasn't going to take any chances that Ferrari would catch up, and developed an "all new" car, the MK-4, improved in every way, but using the same big block 427. It ran 15-MPH faster than the car that won the year before.

Dan Gurney said, "if you took off in first gear and ran it up to 6200 rpm, it would be going 90-mph". That year Ford went to dominate again, but they almost took themselves out. With 4 Fords running at the front of the race, Mario Andretti had brake problems and came into the pits. The crew installed new brakes and the faulty installation caused Mario to crash the car. Two following Fords also crashed trying to avoid Andretti. That left only the car driven by Gurney and AJ Foyt.

Not commonly known, but true, Ferrari then tried to make the last Ford break, in order for them to win. Their factory driver ran the Ferrari up behind Gurney, and flashed the headlights for four laps. The Ferrari never tried to pass. The tactic was working on Gurney, and he got so mad he actually pulled the car off the track and sat there "oh, for about 10 seconds". "The Ferrari pulled off behind me and we just sat there staring at each other". Finally the Ferrari got back on the course and took off, Gurney followed, drove cautiously to protect the last Ford on the track. That's the last time he saw the Ferrari, and the rest is history.

That win saw something the French had not seen before, didn't seem to understand, or appreciate. Dan Gurney stood there with a magnum of champagne and instead of taking a polite swig and posing for the cameras, he shook the bottle and sprayed everyone including The Duce and his new wife, the press, the officials, and all the expensive cameras. Those uncivilized American upstarts, ha.

It is very interesting and historically significant that Chris Craft during the height of the Ford racing program, began installing the 427 engine in their Chris Craft Commanders. My 1966 boat is one of the very first to accept 427 power. At FXA 38 3004 R, you won't find too many out there that preceded mine, since 1966 was the first year Chris Craft used the 427 in the Commander. Previous years used the big Lincoln, a good motor, but not in the same league as the then fully developed king of NASCAR and LeMans.

When you hear someone say "they don't build them like they used to", they're right! It's been 40 years since Ford won LeMans, and many of us are still running the motor that won in our boats. Of course, we're running iron heads and intakes, they ran aluminum. Our compression and cam profiles are much less radical, and I don't think you would find a Carter AFB on the LeMans car, ha ha. The blocks are essentially the same. It's a brilliant design, and one heck of a boat motor!

In 1966 I was still in high school, and now I'm proud to own a piece of history, a Chris Craft Commander milestone marine design with two of those big dogs! My Grandfather would be proud, after all, he's the one who owned the small town Ford dealership where I got to get a peek at all those new cars during the late 50's and all through the 1960s.



Here's one of the nicest marine 427 engines I've seen, belonging to Tim Toth, and it's an "original" never having been overhauled. The automotive racing versions look good, but I think the marine versions look pretty darn good too, 80-pound cast iron lowrise intakes and all!




Regards,
Paul

FXA 38 3004 R
1966 38 Commander Express
Original 427 power
Good morning - we have just acquired a Chris-craft Holiday with a 427 engine. It is not the original and likely came out of a CC cruiser. We thought it was a side oiler (Nascar)but it is a top oiler 427. I realize the side oiler is far rarer and has the potential for much more performance. Can this engine be changed to a side oiler? Cheers, Andrew
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Joined: July 15th, 2005, 8:09 pm

February 22nd, 2007, 5:34 pm #4

Hello, welcome, very cool boat ! Congratulatiions!


Don't even THINK about changing to a side-oiler. There is NO performance boost possible from doing this. It's only an oiling feature Ford devised to allow them to continue on for another lap or two if the motor blew up, as it gives direct oil to the bearings, rather than have the oil pass through other parts of the motor first. The side-oiler was developed in anticipation of the SOHC "Cammer" motor too, which eventually was outlawed from NASCAR competition.

There were plenty of top oiler NASCAR motors on the tracks, just like your boat motor. These ran in solid lifter hi-po 390 form, then they ran in 406 form, and also in 427 form as well. When the side-oil feature was added, the motor just continued winning races.

Side oiling features generally cost more during a rebuild, they take special cam bearings, special cams, and quite frankly, the only advantage is when you're at the bar telling your friends. There is no horsepower advantage.

Don't even think about changing the motor to a side oiler. It's a total waste of money, and you run the risk of ruining the block. It can be done, but you don't want to know the price.

That motor can easily produce 350, 375, or 400-hp and run happily all day long. Higgins offered a 400-hp version of the 390 in one of their speedboats many years ago, and the 427 is a LOT more motor, becuase it has all the internal cast iron web reinforcing and the cross-bolted main bearings Ford earned on the race tracks of the world. My advice is to run the boat, find out what you have now, and if you want to get more performance, try a simple swap to a double-plane intake that provides peak power as low on the rpm band as possible. Edelbrock makes a good one.

The marine motors are NOT high rpm motors, they're torque monsters. You will find the 300-hp motor you have, will produce 438 footpounds of torque at 2900 rpm, and that's 50 more footpounds than the fastest Mercedes being marketed today. They use a torque cam (a "RV" type cam) to do this, and you can more easily change out to a higher prop pitch to get more speed, than you can running the motor faster. The boat you have sounds great, send us some photos, let us help you with that motor too.

I trust you've already found our MASTER INDEX FILE here on the forum. If not, take a look, and you will find the 427 section. Happy reading!

This is a fiberglass Commander web site, but since the Commander owners of the world almost unanimously appreciate CC history and CC boats in general, I always welcome a guy with a wood boat to join us here, especially one as cool as yours! After all, you share the same power as many of our boats do, and we have a lot in common. Many of us also have wood boats too, and some of us will probabbly buy one this season. (Dave, this means you!)

Regards, Paul
forum moderator

Present owner of four 427 marine motors, two in the boat, two spares in the shop (not for sale) !

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Joined: December 21st, 2006, 1:10 am

February 23rd, 2007, 1:50 am #5

There's 2 complete 427's w/trannys for sale here in Stuart..complete w/all accessories. wafinfla@adelphia.net
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Roy
Roy

February 23rd, 2007, 3:38 pm #6

You know, how many hours, how much, closed or open cooling, what kind of reduction gears, condition, running or not, bored out in the past?

Roy
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Joined: December 21st, 2006, 1:10 am

February 25th, 2007, 1:50 pm #7

Showed under 1000 hrs. Engines are FWC, paragons of unknown ratio, all external accessories intact. Supposedly run ok. Located north of Palm Beach. They came out of 1970 31' sport express.
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