In factory form, a 'Yote is just flat out a better engine than a factory FE or Windsor in just about every regard except size. More power. It's true.I am a staunch die-hard lover of classic pushrod muscle. The huge majority of cars I've owned and the absolute majority I work on now are pushrod, carbureted, raw fuel swilling, classic engines with all of the unique character and excitement that so many of us love. But there is simply no denying the improvements that have been made in technology in the 50-60+ years since most of these old engines were designed. Comparing port flows does not begin to tell the story, of all the differences between a classic pushrod engine and a modern engine like a Coyote. You cannot begin to get the same level of refinement out of a carbureted 385 series or especially an FE as you can something modern Coyote. Effortless daily drivability and reliability in all conditions and temperatures, butter smooth and whisper quiet idle if that's what you're looking for, superior fuel mileage, and true daily drivable power levels that far exceed what you can do with any of these beloved old engines. No, they are NOT the same. Some people simply do not want that for their classic cars, and I understand that completely. I usually agree. But there is simply no denying that modern engine swaps like these provide a level of refinement and drivability that is simply not possible with a classic pushrod engine.
They aren't for everyone, nor are they for every car. I would never replace a 428CJ with a Coyote, for example. But I absolutely might replace a mundane 302 with a Coyote, if that's the direction I or the customer wanted to go with the car. They're two completely different directions for two completely different purposes. That's why I own a bunch of vehicles. No two of them are the same. I have newer cars, and I have older cars, and some way older cars. I have one older car with a complete modern chassis and drivetrain swapped in. It's not necessarily "better" than I could have built it had I kept the stock chassis and drivetrain, but it's very different, and the direction I wanted to go with it instead. It's a truly daily drivable car that I would not hesitate to take cross country and it can keep up with any modern traffic easily and comfortably. I don't think there's very many people here who would say the same about their mostly stock Mustangs, and even fewer who actually do it. So that's the difference. Most people who do modern drivetrain swaps are used to the ease and daily drivability of their modern cars, and want some of that for their classic car as well, while keeping the classic look and some of the classic character of their old car.
But it is quite false indeed to make comparisons between what you can do with a classic pushrod engine and a modern high tech engine with modern engine management, and what you can do with them.
But if you know what you're doing, and use decent parts to build an engine, with the development put into those '60s engines, it is absolutely possible to make something that can shame a Coyote in power and probably even economy. I'd be willing to bet it could be done with less money than you'd spend on a Coyote all by itself, much less the "I carved out my whole front end and redid it with less suspension travel" conversion.
It doesn't mean I'm holding up 60s tech as some pinnacle of greatness. The cheap stamped parts were as much to save money for Ford as they were to work well, and we all know it! But all that said, they did a good job on the basics, and it can sure be made good. Their "garbage 60s suspension" has the added advantage of transmitting kinetic energy to the body at multiple points - which makes sense given the relatively flimsy unibody structure on these cars.
My take is that someone with the smarts to do it can build a hot little 302, rework his suspension a bit, and come out the door a lot cheaper than a Coyote, while giving away NOTHING in terms of performance or economy.
The Coyote may be the spiritual successor to the 427 'Cammer in some regards, but its size and complexity don't add much value when you hold it up against a Windsor with good heads and a smart build, as far as I'm concerned. Still, I do get why so many millennials love 'em.