Thundering. Mean. Desirable. These are a few of the adjectives we've heard that describe the big-blocks that Ford shoehorned into the Mustang from 1967 to 1971. From the humble beginnings of the FE 390 to the end of the line with the 385-series 429 Super Cobra Jet, Ford went out of its way to impress the buying public with its muscular mayhem makers. Sure, the late-models can now keep up and, in some cases, surpass the old-timers, but isn't that as it should be? After all, it's been 29 years since a big-block graced the engine bay of a stock Mustang. We would hope that by now Ford would have caught up to and even surpassed the vaulted big-inch cars with regard to power and performance.
Make no mistake, though. There's a mojo that makes the larger-cube engines more valuable and more desirable than their late-model and vintage small-block siblings. In some cases, the prices of these monster cars even eclipse the best new offerings from Ford and SVT (Special Vehicle Team). Where the heart and soul are concerned, it's best to keep logic out of the equation.
With a few exceptions--two being the Hi-Po 289 and small-block Boss cars--the 390, 427, 428, and 429 are by far some of the priciest Mustangs on the field. They are also some of the fastest and heaviest cars. Ergo, they are not known for anything more than having the ability for straight-line acceleration. Even so, that seems enough to keep the prices high.
Saturday night blooms full of promise. The burger stand is packed with cars--both new and old--and you're only three days out of high school and headed for college. For once, your dad handed you the keys to his '69 Mach 1. This came after two weeks of constant badgering and pleas. It's brand-new and fitted with the latest hardware in the battle for street supremacy. A Top Loader four-speed and 3.91 gears back the super-hot 428 Cobra Jet. You laugh as you remember him telling your mom that the gears helped with towing a boat, which he doesn't own. Your mom had brought up that fact, but your dad just smiled and winked. His words had simply been "You never know. We might get one soon."
Boats were the furthest thing from his mind as he signed the papers and shook hands with the salesman at the dealership. Three weeks later, here you are motoring into the lion's den. GTOs, Camaros, and cars that were--at some point in their lives--stock, now sat with their noses poked out and waiting. You're ready. Are they?