they are "TIRE SMOKERS". If you want to call good low end torque bad performing...thats your choice,if you want to call it impressive thats your choice too.I agree on the aluminum intake,less weight = better balance and handling - and aluminum heads even better but not required.
most magazine reviews of the day were disappointed with the 390 in the Mustang, especially the automatic. Most could only muster 15+ second timeslips at the drag strip. Guess that's why Henry decided to introduce the 428 CJ the following year..... ::
In my 67 GTA, 390, CV with a minor shift in the C6, I could chirp the tires at all shift points. It would get up and scoot. It had the standard carb, 3:25 TracLok and bored 30 over, original intake and heads.
I have an opposing view.......just stating ideas, so bear with me.
The 390 and the 428CJ are almost apples and oranges...
A 390 equipped mustang would have to be babied off the line unless traction was optimized.......and then because it was babied thru the rpms it performs best at, of course it wouldnt shine like a CJ......but put a little more cam in a 390GT, and maybe slap a set of caltarcs and big tires on......it wouldnt match the CJ with the same traction, but it would definitely slay some competition!!
I'm not gonna get dragged into this AGAIN like I was a few months (or was it several months back, I forget) when I made the infamous "390 is a boat anchor" comment....
Plain FACT of the matter is that the 390 had a near IMPOSSIBLE time of keeping up with Chevy's 396 (I was there). The 390 is a GREAT motor, but for the peformance freaks out there, most if not all would be very disappointed. That's not to say the 390 can't be made to perform - they have proven that many times in endless magazine projects along with Laurie's OUSTANDING upgrade of the 390 in Trouble. The point of the matter is the 428 WAS INTRODUCED to counter Chevy AND Pontiac's domination on the street with THEIR big blocks. Comparing a 390 to a 428 IS NOT apples and oranges - they both come from the FE family and in fact, the 428CJ uses the SAME camshaft that came in the 390GT motor. In this day and age of trying to squeeze the maximum amount of horsepower and torque at the rear wheels, unfortunately it takes a lot more $$$$$$ to achieve with a 390 what you can with several other offerings in the Ford family of engines. NO APPLES AND ORANGES HERE - REMEMBER, WE ARE STILL TALKING ABOUT FORDS....
I agree with bosscars re: the history of the 390 and 428. Ford was taking a beating in the street wars in 1967 from the Chevy 396, the Mopar 383, and the Pontiac 389 tri-power, in particular. That's what prompted Bob Tasca to develop the engine that became the 428CJ and it's the reason Ford adopted it so quickly when it proved a winner at the dragstrip.
I loved my 390, but I knew it wasn't built to go up against the competition of the day. I mostly had fun spanking small-block pony cars (Mustangs included) whose owners assumed that anything that looked like Mom's sedan couldn't possibly be high-performance. They were wrong. And I avoided Boss 302's and Camaro Z/28's. ::