The roots of today’s pushrod engines stretch back to the post-war years.
Contemplating the advantages of the pushrod-actuated overhead valve engine design in what appears to be the twilight of internal combustion might sound as anachronistic as a quick look at the value of coal-fired steam locomotives.
But design advances in these engines, particularly the larger-displacement V8 variety beloved by American drivers and automakers alike, mean that these engines boast advantages that seem certain to keep them relevant until the very end of combustion power.
Let’s start with some definitions. Overhead valve pushrod engines marked an advance over their predecessors, the flathead engines whose valves are located in the engine block alongside the cylinder. The Ford flathead V8 and the classic Briggs & Stratton power equipment engine are well-known examples.
These engines are compact, inexpensive to manufacture, and woefully inefficient because of poor airflow, combustion, and thermal characteristics. Flathead engines’ combustion chamber is wide and flat, covering the piston top and the valves, making combustion very ineffective. Consider it the opposite of the concentrated, semi-circular combustion chamber shape of the Hemi engines we discussed previously.
Additionally, the airflow into and out of the combustion chamber is indirect, as the air must make hard 90-degree turns. And the intake and exhaust ports are located adjacently on the same side of the cylinder, transferring exhaust heat to the intake charge, reducing its density and resulting power.
For something with as simple a purpose as delivering the right amount of fuel to an internal combustion engine, electronic fuel injection remains a cultural flash point for quite a few people in the collector car hobby. To many, the transition from carburetor to EFI marks the transition from classic, DIYable cars to modern vehicles on which regular Joes can’t turn a wrench.
To others, though, EFI simply represents the best method for extracting greater efficiency from an engine.Whatever one’s preference, EFI became a mainstay of automotive engineering 40 years ago, long enough for an entire generation or two of EFI-equipped cars to pass into collectordom.
And as it turns out, many of the people who work on those cars of the Eighties and Nineties and beyond – not to mention restomodders who have taken to adapting EFI to older cars and engines – have found EFI capable of producing powerful engines that retain street manners and even return decent mileage.
Not all EFI systems are created the same, however, and the past few years have seen multiple advances in fuel delivery systems. Here’s what you need to tell the various options apart and to make the most of your particular EFI system.
One area where vintage Mustangs often require attention is the front suspension. Because Mustang inherited the Falcon/ Comet platform, it also received the Falcon’s rather pedestrian front suspension design. The Falcon’s unit-body platform aided its affordability, and the car’s suspension was designed for a practical commuter automobile—not performance driving
So, while the Falcon underpinnings allowed the Mustang to come to market at a relatively low price, all these years later, it’s not uncommon for those suspension components to need replacement.
We recently followed along with the work performed during a complete front suspension rebuild on a ’65 Mustang undergoing a major facelift at Mustangs, Etc. in Van Nuys, California. Because Southern California enjoys nice weather throughout the year, enthusiasts are able to drive and enjoy their classic Mustangs regularly, so worn suspension parts need to be addressed to ensure a safe driving experience. This is a budget-conscious suspension upgrade that most enthusiasts can afford.
We cannot stress the issue of safety enough. When starting on this type of project, always support your vehicle with heavy-duty 2-ton-capacity jack stands under both frame rails, confirming their stability before getting underneath the car. Coil springs pack a tremendous amount of energy while compressed, so make sure to use a high-quality coil-spring compressor designed for coilover upper-arm applications like Mustang, Falcon, Fairlane, Comet, Torino, and even 1962-’67 Chevy II. The coil springs we are installing pack 600 pounds of pressure just to compress the spring 1 inch. Never stand in the path of a compressed coil spring. Always lay them flat while compressed, and stand away from them during removal and installation