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Pumping Out 1,200 Horsepower On A Vortech Huffing Ford Windsor

By: Jeff Huneycutt | 07/21/2021 < Back to Motor Life Home

There’s a simple rule of thumb that usually applies when it comes to building engines: The more power you make, the more issues that are likely to pop up.


And that’s exactly what happened when Prestige Motorsports out of Concord, NC, built this blown Ford Windsor pumping out over 1,200 horsepower. The idea for the build was to come up with the best power plant for a customer wanting to take his Fox body Mustang to the drag strip and hurt some feelings.


An efficient Vortech V7 YSI supercharger was chosen to provide plenty of boost, simply and reliably. Prestige worked with Concept One to come up with a custom pulley system that utilizes a cogged belt to spin up the blower while also tucking all the pulleys and belts behind it to spin up the engine accessories necessary to keep this engine happy.

The guys at Prestige knew that with boost the Windsor’s head studs would probably need a little help maintaining a good seal between the block and heads. The engine was already O-ringed. That worked well up until about 1,000 horsepower, but when they switched to the smallest blower pulley to bump the boost pressure up to around 16 pounds, they ran into problems.


On the dyno the engine seemed to pick up a miss in the upper rpm range. After a little research, they discovered that the 427 cubic inch Ford was still lifting the heads just enough to allow combustion gasses to sneak past the O-rings and into the atmosphere.


So instead of simply calling this a thousand-horsepower motor and warning the customer not to push it beyond that, the guys at Prestige tore the Ford all the way back down to the bare block to make an improvement. This time they ditched the O-rings for a set of Top Fuel hoops.

The hoops are machined steel rings that stand 0.080in tall -- much larger than the approximately 0.030in thick steel wire used to make the O-rings. This also required regrooving the heads to accept the larger hoops. Now the hoops sit 0.060in deep into the groove in the cylinder head with 0.020in left over to mash the copper head gasket into the receiver groove in the block.


And the change definitely worked. Once the engine was reassembled and returned to the dyno, it accepted 16 pounds of boost without breaking a sweat and pounded out an amazing 1,227.8 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and a tire-shredding 1,051.6 foot/pounds of torque at 6,000.


This Windsor should be an attention getter wherever it goes!

Prestige Windsor bottom end

To handle tons of power, Prestige Motorsports had to put together a solid bottom end. This is a Dart SHP iron block fitted up with billet main caps. It is filled with a forged Eagle crank, Callies Compstar connecting rods and DSS Racing pistons. Final displacement will be 427 cubic inches.


Prestige Windsor crank snout

To avoid problems, both the snout of the crank and the lower blower pulley were cut with double keyways.


Prestige Windsor heads

Prestige used a set of ported Edelbrock Victor cylinder heads. Here, they confirm the port flow on the flow bench to make sure the heads meet their expectations for performance.


Prestige Windsor hoops1

Cody McCleary cuts the receiver grooves for the large Top Fuel hoops by hand.


Prestige Victor hoops2

Unlike O-rings which are essentially hardened steel wire that’s rolled out and pressed into place, Top Fuel hoops are machined steel rings cut exactly to size without a break. They stand 0.080 tall, which is about 0.050 more than a standard O-ring.


Prestige Windsor hoops3

Here, you can see the hoops installed into one of the cylinder heads.


Prestige Windsor intake spacer

Because of the raised intake port on the Victor heads, they will leave a large gap between the intake manifold and the block’s china rails. Prestige fixes this by cutting spacers from a thick piece of aluminum plate.


Prestige Windsor intake mockup

Here, you can see how the cylinder heads, spacers and single-plane intake manifold all work together when we mocked it all up.


Prestige Windsor Dual Sync and MSD cap

Prestige will be running port fuel injection on this engine, which means they will need to monitor both crank and cam position. To achieve this, they’re using a Holley Dual Sync distributor. But they are also running a trick MSD individual coil setup, so the distributor hat won’t be necessary. This trick billet aluminum cap blank keeps the distributor setup nice and clean without any wires.


Prestige Windsor drive system

The custom drive setup allows all the standard engine accessories to remain on the engine and the blower pulley to be spun by a big cogged belt to eliminate slippage when the boost gets turned up.


Prestige Windsor Terminator X

All engine controls are handled by the same Holley Terminator X ECU that will find its way into the car.


Prestige Windsor Holley Throttle Body

Throttle duties are handled by a Holley 1,000 cfm billet throttle body that can handle tons of air. On the dyno, the boosted air will be fed through an air-to-water intercooler before being fed to the engine.


Prestige Windsor Dyno Cell

The engine is set up so that the owner can use a larger upper blower pulley to limit boost and run pump gas, then when he really wants to hurt some feelings at the drag strip he can swap out a smaller pulley to bump up the boost, add some race gas and make some passes. The Terminator X ECU makes changes like this a snap from the laptop.


Prestige Windsor dyno figures

Our final power numbers show this engine is an absolute beast.


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