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One of the certainties of an LS Fest event is that you will see plenty of non-GM vehicles that have been swapped for a multitude of reasons. Pretty much every reason has been given throughout the years. The simplicity and the ease of power that the LS platform provides is usually the go-to answer. Some aren't fans of the original brand's engine, or they want to have an engine family that has a huge amount of aftermarket support. For Jack Crawford, swapping a 6.0L engine into the Light Blue 1972 Ford LTD sedan was simply a case of replacing a 400ci Ford that split down the middle.
"My great-grandparents bought it new in 1971, and then my grandparents got it when they passed away. My grandpa and I talked about fixing it up, and then he passed away and my mom got it from my grandmother," Crawford says. After he bought the LTD from his mom, Crawford went through the car from front to rear, tending to the suspension and brakes, and had intended to build the stock 400 V8 into a 408ci unit. Unfortunately, things happened while the block was at the machine shop and after blowing several intake gaskets, the block cracked through at a water jacket and he was left with a dead engine filled with the worst milkshake ever. And in that moment, when the original engine was surely dead, his brother-in-law Chris helped plant the seed of an LS swap. After doing some shopping, Jack located a 6.0L truck engine and 4L80E, complete with computer and cut-down harness for a very reasonable price. For the first few months, it was a pretty stock build. The LTD was driven around and with the 2.75 rear gears, the big Ford was a solid cruiser and returning 22 MPG on road trips.
Then Jack found more inspiration in the form of Sloppy Mechanics. "A cam was on sale...and a turbo was on sale...and it kind of snowballed from there," he laughed. In its current configuration, the 6.0L is sporting Summit rods and pistons, a VS Racing 85/102 turbocharger, Holley Terminator X management, and a single-disc Circle-D converter in a built-up 4L80E from his friend Carl Bright. With this combination, the LTD is one potent big-body barge. How about upper nines in the quarter at 4,600 plus pounds within a year and a half from the start of the build? While racing on LS Fest Texas's no-prep 1/8th mile surface, Crawford seemed to have zero trouble with traction and was walking machines that would have eaten this sedan's lunch on a standard dragstrip surface. Crawford clued us in: there was no boost at launch due to a part failure and he was relying on the Terminator X's launch retard feature to keep the LTD in line when the lights turned green.
What's the future for the Ford? Crawford would like to put air conditioning and carpet back into the car once the rollcage is brought up to 8.50-specifications and would like to continue to keep dialing the Ford's performance in. In the meantime, let us share a bit of advice with you: if it looks old enough to be a classic, worn enough to be a daily driver, and it sounds "just a bit healthy", don't test your luck. Nothing is worse than getting beat by somebody's great-grandpappy's daily driver that has serious motivation underneath all six feet worth of hood...