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Bullitt 390 FE

April 24 2010 at 2:12 PM
OzTbird  (Login OzTbird)
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Can anyone here please explain the facts concerning the mods made to the cars in Bullitt ('68 Mustang and '68 Charger). I'm wearing very thin with my Chrysler mates and other sources, who are persistant to the 'facts' that the Mustang was so heavily modified to 'keep up' with the Charger, with it's 'pathetic 390'. My '62 T-Bird has a 390 FE, which i am very happy with, reliability, fuel economy, power to move a very heavy car. With all due respect to the Chargers of the era, i'm sure a Mustang with a very mild 390, wouldn't have too much trouble keeping pace with a bigger car, such as a Charger around the streets of San Francisco. I'm just sick of the total disrespect shown to the Mustang in this great movie! Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

 
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Craig
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390 mustang

April 24 2010, 2:47 PM 

Here's a link to some info that may help. http://auto.howstuffworks.com/mustang-bullitt.htm



63.5 427 8V Galaxie
64 289 Galaxie convertable
63 Mercury Marauder 4V 390
XY GT clone 390
XR GT 1 of 596
35 ford 3 window coupe

 
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OzTbird
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Thanks Craig

April 24 2010, 3:00 PM 


 
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ford-boy
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Road tests of the day......

April 24 2010, 3:23 PM 

probably would have shown that the 440 was indeed a faster car but not THAT much faster. I've seen numerous tests of the 390 GT and all were C-6 with dead gears and still managed 15.0's. CARS had a whole series on a '67 and eventually it went 13.24 at 103 or so. Again with C-6. I think it baselined at a low to mid 14 with 3.25 gears. 440's would have done a high 13. Not generally known, but a '67 390 held the B/SA record at 12.79 so when prepared they were OK. At a '66 NHRA biggy, a 390 Comet held the low et for qualifying at 12.90's. That car beat an awful lot of 442's, Chevelles, and MOPARS at that meet. Don't forget, the 440 was rated at 375 HP and the '67 390 Stang at 320 HP. I feel safe in saying that they would have run in diffenent stock classes.

 
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john lloyd
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Bullit.

April 24 2010, 6:43 PM 

That Mustang had lots of suspension mods to take the beating on those hill jumps. Don't remember much about engine mods. Not many if any. The Dodge had a very tough front end. I had a '69 that I put through h*ll with no trouble!

 
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qikBBstang
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The 390GT Engine is tied for one of the most underated engines ever built by FoMoCo

April 24 2010, 6:54 PM 

The 390GT Mustangs sick reputation was largely the Magazines and FoMoCos fault for giving them optioned out pigs. In 66/67 in every major car magazine tested 390GT Mustangs that were all loaded to the gills optioned to the hilt pork-barrels w/ C6s worse yet they were equiped with the lesser of the two rear ends 3.00:1 open vs 3.25:1 Equalock. Even Hot Rod with Paula Murphy's 66 Mustang Funny Car on the cover stated accross the top WE TEST THE 67 390 4SPD MUSTANG...yet inside was another loaded C-6'd tub being tested. The C6 /open rear was like launching on goose-grease. The 390GT came with Holley, Camshaft/Lifters/Retainers/ Springs that were later pirated for the CJ/SCJ and the 390GTs 4spds were unique in getting something all beefy 427/428/429s did not and that was a wide ratio 4spd. In stock trim on the whimpy tires the 390 were very easy to feather out of the hole vs the close ratios that were like starting in second for a smoke show.
The Bullet Mustang was supposed to be a mill'ed head 390GT which I can't believe ANYONE would waste time doing for what 10HP?...Anyone that knows the movie will note the serious reverse to forward burnout indicated the Bullitt car had a 3:00 open rear. I don't care who says what there is no essentially stock 440 Charger that could get near an equally essentially stock 390GT Mustang if it had a locking rear. I know the Bullitt car had a 4spd but kind of think the Charger had an Auto. Very simply the shear weight difference in a Mustang vs Charger is like loading three buddies in the car. In the days of Poly-Glass tires it was simply trying to get em to hook and every pound made it worse


    
This message has been edited by qikbbstang on Apr 24, 2010 7:02 PM


 
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Bob Hasty
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Re: The 390GT Engine is tied for one of the most underated engines ever built by FoMoCo

April 24 2010, 7:22 PM 

well lets face it a Charger with a 440 is going to pull out front on the top end but I'm sure the Mustang 390GT with a 4 speed did not need but only basic mods ( headers, PI intake, gear, and 750 carb) to run it down on the hills and turns. If the Charger had a 383 it would have had to slow down to keep from rear ending it. I ran a 70 Chager 383 and a 69 Super Bee 383 4 speed with my stock 390 GT 4 Cyclone speed back in the mid 70s. No problems at all.

 
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Mike S
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Re: The 390GT Engine is tied for one of the most underated engines ever built by FoMoCo

April 25 2010, 11:19 AM 

Had similar results as Bob H. as my Dad had a 66 Cyclone GT 4 spd. w 3.25 open rear end. Never lost a street race to a 440/383 Mopar, beat several 360 HP Chevelles , 350 hp 442's,and 360 hp GTO's (The GTO was the most over-rated car of the '60's), the only loses were to a 396/375 hp Chevelle and 2 Pontiacs (A Goat and a 428 big ponch.) both had non stock engines and slicks. The Mustangs (390) weren't as quick as the Fairlane/Comet for street racing. The rear suspension was too soft, the lower weight(than Fairlane/Comet) was all off the rear end, the early Ford posi was a joke and the staggered rear shocks/traction-loc came out about the same time as the 428. There was 1 local '68 390 Mustang that ran a bigger hydraulic cam and 3.89 gears that ran 14.0's. However in my mind the Charger would easily out handle a stock Mustang and from a roll all that extra torque the 440's have would win.

 
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qikBBstang
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Here's actual 1969 article on making Bullitt (less chance of BS rising)

April 24 2010, 8:18 PM 

Unfortunately looks like they left out the picture of the Can Am chassis'd TV chase car w/ BB Rat and Ram Tubes..
Yanking off heads off a 390 Mustang to mill em, has to be the worlds biggest waste of time and effort and because of that I don't believe it as the other articles saying they put in a cam..yeah with 390GT Manifolds that ought to have worked great LOL


http://www.ponysite.de/carlife.htm

 
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Bill Ballinger
(Login 65F2504X4)

Bill Hickman, the guy in the horn rims driving the Charger

April 24 2010, 9:22 PM 

said the Charger could run off and hide from the Mustang. They kept putting skinnier tires on it to slow it down in the corners so the Mustang could keep up. Bill Hickman was one of the best stunt drivers and coordinators in the business, I think his word can be trusted. The Charger was stock, the Mustang was modified and it still couldn't keep up. That was the uncolored truth. Ford provided a lot of vehicles for the movie, so there wasn't a lot of bad-mouthing. But the Mustang had a lot of work done to even stay in frame. I don't really think they put headers on it, it sounds like GT manifolds and some shitty glass packs with 2" exhaust to me. It couldn't have been much of a cam if they did change it, it sounded like a pickup truck. It sounds really bottled up between the S intake and the exhaust. It sounds strangled really. The 440 on the other hand was breathing deep and wide, with the upswept manifolds and Hemi Turbos with 2.5" pipes and a good intake manifold with the much bigger Holley. The cam in a 440 of that era is a lot bigger too and with the bigger lifters it would still be street able and smooth.

Of course Hickman's driving was pretty good too. They had to dose the hit man with valium to get him to ride in the chase scenes. happy.gif


    
This message has been edited by 65F2504X4 on Apr 24, 2010 9:27 PM


 
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qikBBstang
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Sorry Bill but no full size such as a Charger esp with passenger can match

April 25 2010, 6:21 AM 

a pony car such as a Mustang. The weight differential is easly over 500 lbs. (Mustang 1 person Charger 2 Persons) Braking, Accelerating all take big hits. Anyone that ever loaded a couple buddies in a car and ran it will tell you it's slow motion just like a suddenly sick motor.
But we know the Mustang was a Peg Leg (laughable to imagine any moron souping up a peg leg) If the Charger was a Posi all bets are off. Could the crew have been that fucking stupid to yank the Mustangs heads, work the carb and ignition while still peddling on one wheel?

 
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Bill Ballinger
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A 440 Magnum Charger would beat a 390GT Mustang

April 25 2010, 8:34 AM 

I have seen it many times with the Charger, GTX, Roadrunner, and Superbee. Street racing back in the day, Mustangs were meat on the hoof unless they had been modified, had a 428CJ, or a 427 transplant. I don't recall a stock 390GT Mustang beating anyone in the mid-70's. Now there were things you could do, the most important was to put headers on it, and put a better intake on it. The S intake was a turd, as were those GT manifolds, I think they were probably worse than the logs. Most were peglegs. Ford really dropped the ball on that one, it should have been a lot faster, and Henry II was really pissed at his engineers that it wasn't. The mindset back then was to make it a sporty poser, but keep the power down for liability reasons. Iacocca didn't believe that kids needed that kind of power, and "his" ponycar was good enough just on its style. Big mistake. Its a good reason why he lost his job and Bunkie Knudson came over. Modified correctly they didn't do too bad, but you had to build it to hold together, enlarge the main oil passage to 427 size, and back then you really needed a solid cam, they didn't have hydraulics aggressive enough back then. The valve springs sucked. The heads flowed good though if you put a good manifold to them. Either style late or early were in the pack with other muscle cars, they just had those damn shock towers that the engineers compromised the exhaust design on.

Mopar has their own under achiever. A 383 Dart is slower than a 340 one because of the exhaust they had to do to make it fit. People that shoehorned a 440 in one were even more disappointed, the headers even were awful and it was stuck in the 14.00's. A 440 Magnum Charger would walk all over them too, despite the weight.

We cant re-write history no matter how much we wish it so. The 390GT was a fun car, but it was out muscled by the other makes. The CJ came to the rescue, and backyard guys figured out you could build a 390 with CJ and 427 parts and it was stout. But off the showroom floor, it was a debacle. I saw it play out every weekend in the mid '70's. A stock 390GT just didn't have the goods. But a few modifications, that were not done on the Bullitt Mustang, could make them a contender.


    
This message has been edited by 65F2504X4 on Apr 25, 2010 8:46 AM


 
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KenS
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Here in the Detroit area....

April 25 2010, 10:52 AM 

I believe we had more of the serious sort of vehicle, percentage-wise, than anywhere in the country, With that said, running his '67 Mustang in stock class---but with a 4.44 DL rear and a few other basic mods, Brother Lon held the class record at Milan for most of the maiden season.

After flipping it in the rain, the car was put back together without any deadener or other weighty additions. We then street-raced it without being beat, for several months. A rat-motored Chevelle finally won---twice---and pissed Lon off so bad that he went and bought a 427 short block. We also arranged to get, 'through channels', a set of take-off TP heads and intake that came out of the LeMans program. I tried to arrange a re-match with the Chevelle but he refused. In that configuration, I beat Wangers national record holder poncho at Milan. But the biggest deal that summer was the run against the '56 Chev with a flip front end, gutted, and running a Thomas 444 rat kit. We had to beat him twice, out on 696, before he'd give up the money. The entire story has been told, in print, before.
KS

 
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Bill Ballinger
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I respect your words also, but Lon's car is a different animal

April 25 2010, 9:18 PM 

4.44 DLs were not common showroom pieces. And, I am talking only about what the average Joe went into the showroom and bought. In modified form, you only had to look at the truly awesome catalog of racing parts available over the counter at Ford. I don't really think there was much better factory racing support. The Hemis got a lot of ink, and they did put them in production cars in quantity, Ford's approach was totally different. I wish the Cammer had gotten out there and more 427 HRs no 427 ever was built by the factory for retail releasein a Mustang. The Boss9, even the 385 series in general never got a chance to show its King Kong ability. The time had passed it by.

The FE legend is in that program. I also agree with TomP. The FE would have died off if the trickle down of the 5.0 interest had not come when it did. FE parts were getting expensive even in the early-mid '80's.

A stripped down 69 Mustang stock car like Dick Trickle ran with the 351 Cleveland was a go getter. They let that engine die on the vine too. A 351C 4V quench motor with a solid cam was force to be reckoned with.

I love my FEs and all Fords. I just like to try to keep my facts in context. A tri-power GTO with a 421 in place of the 389 was a big dishonest "ringer" Wangers pulled off, but the press bought it and so did people. The 389 was just enough to fool people, and more than some could handle. The rest is history.



    
This message has been edited by 65F2504X4 on Apr 25, 2010 10:52 PM


 
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Dave Eames
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bb, obviously you never driven a 440 with a 4-spd behind it.

April 25 2010, 7:13 PM 

My money's on the 440 4-spd combo over a 390 4-spd anytime. BTDB; been there, driven both.

 
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KenS
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Bill, you know....

April 25 2010, 11:02 AM 

I have high regard for your opinions, but don't depend too heavily on the movie sounds. The sound track is actually of a 427 GT40, matched to the actions of the Mustang. What we hear is coming from the 180 degree 'bundle of snakes'. happy.gif
KS

 
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Bill Ballinger
(Login 65F2504X4)

Why did they bother with glasspacks? That doesn't sound like a GT40

April 25 2010, 7:11 PM 

that I have heard. It sounds like a pickup truck, double clutching and all. Are you sure? It sounds awfully wheezy.

With all due respect, it sounds pretty crappy.



    
This message has been edited by 65F2504X4 on Apr 25, 2010 9:27 PM


 
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KenS
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Bill, I'd....

April 25 2010, 9:42 PM 

heard the story before, but was reminded by the stuff in one of the posts above. And I can remember going to Mosport, back in the late '60s and having an argument with my 'vette-driving friend regarding what engine the GT40s were running. We had to get through the paddock to where the Ford contingent was parked, and then close enough that I could point out the features that proved the engine to be an FE. His claim was that they didn't sound very big. ???
KS

 
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dave B
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390 Mustangs not Slugs?

April 25 2010, 8:40 AM 

I love fords We built and raced a 1968 Mustang that my buddy got fron Bruce Sizemore with a Tunnel Port with Cj Batten top end We raced a Maverick ex Rogers speed shop with that same tunnel port and later a hi port 351 C in local raceway Park Pro Stock but UNTIL THE 428 COBRA JET AND NOT COUNTING AC'S OR MY LATER PURCHASED GRIFFITH 400 THE FORD STREET CARS WERE DOGS IT ALL CHANGED WHEN THE bOPPERS CJ WAS PRODUCED AND FOMOCO STARTED BEING RESPONSIVE BUT WITH THE EXCEPTION OF DIE HARDS NO ONE RACED THESE FORDS EASILY OR SUCCESSFULLY IN NJ

They were Slugs Stock

Dave B

 
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Kam
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Ford Slugs of the 60's

April 25 2010, 9:32 AM 

I know this is blastphmy in the church of the blue oval but..... The stock 390 Fords would pump up the lifters so bad it took 5 minutes of idling before they stopped missing, 4 speeds with Bucrons hopped so bad the glove compartment would pop open. The only way to burn rubber with an automatic was to back up, rev it up in neutral and pull it in low, making J-hooks on the hyway. They were pitiful. these were the full sized Galaxies. Almost every young man bought a full size car with a bench seat, it had to double as tavern,bordello,hotel and transportation. If you owned a 390 Galaxie you were a spectator at the 2 lane blacktop competition. The 406/427 were a little better, no traction, no heavy duty posi. As soon as slicks were mounted, T-10s would shuck the teeth off second gear. It took alot of work and money to get them to run with the 409's and 421's. and nobody was even close to a 63 426 mopar right off the showroom floor. That's the unvarnished truth to it,I was there.

 
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