Because the engine package is so new, there areno on-track results to report. The only question looming for tracks toallow the engine is the cylinder head. Many rule books require "stock"heads with minor porting work. Esslinger Engineering's aluminum headobviously isn't stock, but in the long run Dan Esslinger believes it isthe best (and cheaper) option.

"In a couple of years, there simplyaren't going to be any more cylinder heads left," he explains. "Rightnow, if we get in 10 cylinder heads, we are lucky if we find three thatwe can use.

"Ford made millions of these engines, and the blocks haveheld up well. But the cylinder heads tend to overheat and crack. Not tomention that these engines came in the cheaper vehicles--Pintos,Mustangs, Rangers, things like that. Parents handed them down to theirchildren to drive, and they just drove them into the ground. They wereessentially treated as throwaway cars. That's why the heads are gettingso hard to find; [we] felt that producing our own head was the best wayto go."

Esslinger Engineering's cylinder head is designed around Ford'sfamous D-port cylinder head for the 2.3-liter engine. All the bolt holesmatch the stock unit, so everything designed for the 2.3- or 2.5-literengines--from intakes to exhaust headers, water necks--will work withit. The combustion chambers are different, however. They mimic newerFord SVO chambers to improve efficiency. The D-port design was chosenbecause the ports flow well and it matches up with the best intakemanifolds available for carburetors. Finally, the head is fully CNCmachined, and the ports are designed to be just a little bit better outof the box than a fully ported stock head.

"Stock Ford heads really getto flowing good about the same time you grind holes into the waterjackets," Esslinger says. "Ours flow just a little bit better than thatright off the CNC machine. That is going to save a guy a lot of time andexpense. Plus, there is not much reason to do additional porting becauseit isn't going to help much. Where it is worth it to spend all thatmoney on a stock head because you can find 30 horsepower, it isn't worthit on our CNC head because there is maybe only 10 hp at the most to begained."

One of the big reasons for waiting to get the crate motor outwas Esslinger Engineering wanted to make sure the package was as good aspossible before marketing it. The idea was not only to offer a crateengine, but one that was stable. In other words, Esslinger plans to beable to put this same package of parts together next season and the nextso that there won't be different versions on the market. If this enginegains acceptance, there is hope it will be used as a spec engine forracers who enjoy racing more than they do wrenching. "Sealing an engineis the easy part," Esslinger says. "Right now, we are just working on anengine that our customers can afford and win some races with."

Esslinger Engineering
1432 Potrero Ave.
South El Monte
CA  91733