NOVEMBER 7, 2013 By Powertrain Pro
When it comes to Ford engines, there’s a tremendous amount of history covering almost a century of manufacturing, and hundreds of different engine sizes and configurations. Ford’s engines have run the gamut from the average daily driver (perhaps the largest, yet least spectacular category) to powerhouse engines designed for racing and performance. The company’s probably most famous for its V8 engines – they offer power, performance, customizability and more. Of course, there have been tons of different V8 engine models produced throughout the company’s long history, but there are some favorites out there.
HO (High Output) 5.0
While Ford has been using the liter designation on its engines since the late 1970s, the company went through several years of poor engine performance across the board before there was a recognizably decent one that could be called a “modern” engine. Ford had plenty of popular older engines, dating from the 60s back, but those are becoming harder and harder to find these days. For a current engine (loosely), the 5.0L HO would have to be the earliest contender. Dating from the days before fuel injection, it used either a 2 or 4-barrel carb, and offered 225 HP for most of its 7-year history (1986-1993). Of course, like any other engine, you have to add aftermarket performance gear to really get an adrenaline-push out of this engine.
Ford’s Modular Engine was used in a ton of different cars and trucks for a very long time. It also went through several different iterations, but the most popular of them all would probably be the 5.4L GT. With 550 HP and 32-valve performance, this engine offered a marked upgrade from what came before. It was also widely produced, with more than 4,000 different units eventually rolling off the assembly line. This is one of the few engines out there that performance great straight from the manufacturer with no tinkering necessary.
There’s a reason the 3-valve 4.6L has won consecutive Ward’s Top 10 best engine awards over the last few years, and that’s because it’s a great engine, hands down. While it might not have the big numbers that most hot-rod enthusiasts have come to association with great engines, it does have the performance. It offers 315 HP, but paired with the lighter bodies of today’s performance Mustangs, it’s all that you need to keep up with more powerful V8 engines on offer.