Last month we outlined our plan to build a NASCAR Late Model Stock-legal Ford engine utilizing the Blue Oval's new Boss 351 block and N351 cylinder heads. If you remember, the block is an all-new design intended to replace several different blocks in the Ford Racing Performance Parts inventory. The Boss 351 block wasn't designed expressly for NASCAR Late Model Stock racing, but it likely will be the best option for the racing class moving forward.
On the other hand, the N351 cast-iron cylinder heads aren't technically new, but they are a new casting that replaces the old, worn-out tooling. And they are produced specifically for this class of racing. NASCAR has approved the new casting because Ford has proven that it doesn't offer a power advantage over the older head, but there are changes intended to make the new casting better in terms of consistency, improving durability, and reducing the steps necessary between taking the heads out of the box and bolting them up. In theory, these new heads should make the engine builder's life a little easier than before.
Our plan is to put that theory to the test by actually building a race engine to see if the new components will contribute in a meaningful way toward winning races. To add legitimacy to this plan, brothers Charlie and Robert Long of Charlie's Automotive will be handling the build. Charlie's Automotive is one of the premiere engine builders in NASCAR Late Model Stock racing and has a very competitive Ford package. For this build we went with Charlie's preferred recipe for cooking up some Blue Oval horsepower, and the guys even shared a few of their tricks for eeking out power on these engines.
In the first installment of this series we took an in-depth look at the new block and heads. This month we start screwing parts together and complete the short-block. Stay tuned as we complete the long-block next month and (hopefully) bolt up the accessories.