Ford’s Windsor series of V8 motors were fitted to cars from 1962 right through to about 2001. They were built in Cleveland, Ohio and Windsor, Ontario where they got their name from.
The engines were 90° small block V8’s with overhead valves – 2 per cylinder. The term small block refers to engines less than 6 litres. The Windsor replaced the Ford Y-Block V8 that was developed during the early 1950s and was a hugely successful motor.
The first version in 1962 was the 221, a 3.6 litre with a cast iron block. It was an option on the US Ford Fairlane, which had a 6 cylinder as standard. This car was a mid-sized car after being a full-sized model during the 1950s. The V8 was used in the performance version and put out about 145 hp. The 221 lasted just 2 years.
The next version was the 260, or 4.3 litres, which came out quite quickly after the 221. The motor put out 164 hp in standard form and this motor was not only fitted to Ford’s full sized models in the US but also ended up in some Mustangs, the US version of the Falcon and its sister the Mercury Comet. It also went into early Sunbeam Tigers and AC Cobras thanks to Carroll Shelby. The European cars had a tuned version that increased the power output to 260 hp. Not a bad increase really. Like the 221, the 260 didn’t last long either – under two years.
Next up was the 289 or 4.7 litres and it was introduced in parallel with the 260. It came in two forms, one with a twin barrel carb that gave 195 hp and the quad barrel carb that provided a little more power at 210 hp. The twin-barrelled version replaced the 260 in most models and was updated in 1965 with 200 hp for the base and 225 for the quad barrelled version. This motor was also fitted to later Sunbeam Tigers and also to the early Australian Falcon GT – the XR.
Ford produced a high performance version of the 289 known as the K-Code engine. This was an option on Falcon, Comet and Mustangs. It was designed to withstand higher revs and had higher lift cams plus other performance parts raising power to 270 horses. Shelby took this motor and tweaked it further for his GT350 Mustang, getting 300 odd horses. They also added a supercharger to get the power up to 390 horses.
In 1968, Ford produced a 302 version of the Windsor, about 4.9 litres and this replaced the 289. Essentially the 302 was the same as the 289 but with shorter conrods. Like earlier versions it came in two forms: a two barrelled carb version at 220 hp and a quad barrelled version at 250 hp. Shelby produced a version with power up to 315 hp that used a special lighter block manufactured in Mexico. The block was used without the performance goodies on quite a few US Ford models.
The Boss 302 Mustang of the early 1970s used another variant with power upped to 290. It used race-tuned components and heads from another V8 – basically it was a mixed up motor that lasted in production for 2 years. Alongside the base 302 and the Boss 302, Ford also offered a 351W variant in the Mustang – a 5.8 litre monster producing 250 or 290 horses based on configuration.
The 302 was the mainstay of the Ford small block V8s through the 1970s and was restricted badly by new emission control laws and the power was reduced down below 200 horses. Power started to increase in the 1980s when fuel injection was added to the engine firstly in Lincoln models and then it spread throughout the range. The 302 also went down to Australia for the local Falcon and Fairlane models and they even built some 5.6 litre versions. In fact the very last batch of 302s were shipped to Australia whilst the US cars received the new Modular V8.
The 302 finished its main life around 2001 after being slotted into many US and Australian Ford models including commercial vehicles like small trucks and utes, however you can still buy one as a crate engine for motorsports use.