And as you’ve no doubt heard, the most important update of all is the crankshaft. Engineers eschewed a traditional cross-plane arrangement for one that’s flat. Rather than have the throws arranged at 90-degree intervals, the Shelby GT350’s are set 180-degrees. Flat-plane cranks are common in supercars like Ferraris. Where most performances are a top concern. But this is the first time Ford’s ever offered one and they’ve been mass-producing V8s for more than eight decades, ever since old Henry’s first flathead rolled out of the Rouge foundry in 1932. Ladner said, “Flat-plane cranks are in inherent lighter than their cross-plane counterparts.” This is because bulky counterweights are not required to balance them. But he also cautioned that crankshafts account for less than 15 percent of an engine’s rotating mass. So this is hardly their only benefit.
Beyond all of this, they “[allow] all the cylinders breathe the same,” said Christian. Which makes tuning the Ford 5.2 Voodoo Crate Engine much easier so they can run it closer to the ragged edge and get more power. Additionally, the Shelby GT350’s crank is made from forged steel for extra strength. It’s been “gun-drilled,” meaning holes have been punched through each of its throws to further cut mass. These openings also allow the adjacent bays inside the block to breathe together. So further reducing parasitic drag.
Bored and Stoked. Another major change in Mustang Coyote V8s is this power plant’s internal dimension. Giving it that extra 0.2-liters of lung capacity is a larger bore and longer stroke. The 5.2’s digits clock in at 94 millimeters by 93 millimeters. If you’re curious, a regular 5.0-liter measures 92.2 by 92.7.
Instead of traditional cylinder liners, Shelby’s engine uses a plasma transferred wire-arc technology. Which saves a significant amount of mass. Additionally, its block is unique to this application. But the bore spacing and deck height are identical to a five-oh so the same machine tools you can use. The GT350’s engines will be assembled on Ford’s niche line in Romeo. Michigan; standard Mustang Coyotes are built in Windsor, Ontario.
These rotating components squeeze incoming air and fuel with a frighteningly high 12-to-1 compression ratio and, that’s ok. Thanks to exhaustive computer modeling the engine run just fine on 93 octane pump gas and it doesn’t even have direct injection. According to Ladner this feature “wasn’t necessary to meet our Ford performance targets,” plus DI systems are heavier and add cost.
Moving into the basement, this 350 Crate engine features a composite oil pan. So saves more weight, about 20 percent in fact. But it’s hardly a sump; it also contains an integrated pickup and windage tray, all in one unit. A higher-capacity oil pump ensures there’s plenty of lubrication at all times.
Taking an elevator ride topside, the Shelby engine breathes through an 87-millimeter throttle-body, the largest Ford’s ever fitted, as well as an open-element air filter. Beyond this, there’s an all-new intake manifold. Its runners are both longer and larger in diameter than the ones found in the dearly departed Boss 302. This configuration bolsters torque production across the rev range and all told, 90 percent of peak twist is available at just 3,450 RPM.
The cylinder heads are where all the magic happens in modern engines and the 5.2-liter V8’s have received special attention. For starters, they’ve been strategically lightened and weigh about 6 percent less than the ones that cap off a standard Mustang Coyote block. Beyond this, the 350 Crate engine enlarged bores allowed for even bigger valves to help get copious amounts of fuel and air into the cylinders and speedily evacuate spent exhaust gasses once the mixture’s gone off.
Overall this 350 and Ford 5.2 Voodoo Crate engine is lighter than the 5.0-liter V8 on which it’s based and it puts out A LOT more power. And despite spinning beyond 8,000 RPM it has to meet the same durability requirements as any other Ford Mustang product. Accordingly, it will be backed by the same warranty, so don’t be afraid to tickle that redline.