Gearhead News

July 8, 2021
Whipple-Blown 7.3L Ford V8 Roars Past 1,650 HP

While Ford fervently develops its Megazilla crate engine, independent shops keep tweaking the already available 7.3-liter pushrod lump to produce wicked power numbers. Brian Wolfe and everyone else at Willis Performance Enterprises have toyed with all sorts of hardware and tuning, pushing their Fox Body Mustang project to a whopping 1,485 horsepower at the wheels with a 9,000-rpm pull on the hub dyno. Both of those numbers are pretty wicked, I’d say.

The last we saw of Wolfe’s Godzilla project, it was making 1,450 horsepower at the crank with a 3.0-liter Whipple supercharger mounted on top. That forced induction unit is still there, though they’ve swapped in a GripTec 2.65-inch pulley to gain more blower speed and, in turn, more boost. That’s essentially all that’s changed, along with a nine-inch crankshaft damper made by Innovators West. With the modest upgrades in play and 21 pounds of boost on tap, they gained roughly 200 hp—all while retaining the stock block.

Brian Wolfe
   

It also used its stock crank, cam drive, head gaskets, and valve covers for the run. That list is a bit shorter than when we first picked up on the build last February, as it now runs forged pistons and connecting rods, a totally new valvetrain, a killer camshaft, and plenty more. Wolfe explained to me over the phone that aside from the parts listed above, there aren’t many factory parts left.

During the 1,450-hp engine dyno run from earlier this year, the boost was capped at 16.6 psi. The uptick in power this go-around can be credited to the jump to 21 psi, helping it measure around 1,650 hp at the crank.

When I asked Wolfe if the engine still has more to give, he noted that the lone failure from this 9,000-rpm pull was the aforementioned cam drive. In addition to that, he said, “I don’t think we can spin that 3.0-liter blower any harder than we did.” It’s not often that you’re limited by a supercharger with more displacement than a Ford Bronco engine, but these are the big leagues of drag racing.

Brian Wolfe
Some stock parts don’t like it when you add 1,300 hp, apparently.

The car itself is yet to make a pass in the quarter-mile, though it’s getting close. They’re refining the setup and waiting on a replacement cam drive at the moment, so it should be running again in the next few weeks.

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