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Top 10 Engines of All-Time (#10): Ford 427 SOHC

Editor’s Note: This series counts down the Top 10 engines of all time–see how the voting was done by reading our initial post.

Ford 427 SOHC engine

Don Prudhomme and his Ford 427 SOHC-powered rail.

Some picked their favorite engine based on durability.

Others picked based on power and performance.

Clearly, the Ford 427 SOHC (Cammer) engine cracked the top 10 based on its power and legendary status.

Fun Fact

The Ford 427 SOHC engine is the only engine effectively banned by NASCAR before even making it to the track (thus, the legendary status).


In 1964, Ford and Chrysler were in a battle for supremacy on the NASCAR circuit. Ford had won the majority of the races in ’64 thanks to its 427 Hi-Riser engine, but Richard Petty scored an upset victory at the Daytona 500 using the new Chrysler 426 HEMI engine. Even more impressive, HEMI-powered cars finished 1-2-3 at the race and threatened to change the entire power-balance within NASCAR racing.

Ford’s answer to the potent, game-changing HEMI engine was the 427 SOHC Cammer–an engine that not only changed the game but also changed the rules in NASCAR racing.

Based essentially on the 427 Hi-Riser short block, the 427 SOHC utilized a forged steel crankshaft and “hemi-head” pistons. The biggest change came on the top-end where a single overhead camshaft was placed over each of the redesigned and fully machined hemispherical-style cylinder heads. An idler shaft replaced the camshaft on the inside of the engine and drove the distributor and oil pump; a set of non-drilled steel bushings replaced the three rear cam bearings to seal off the oil passages. The new overhead cam engine went from concept to reality in just 90 days!

Although part of the Ford FE engine family, the 427 SOHC was essentially hand-built for racing yet never made it to a NASCAR-sanctioned event.

Because of strong protests from the Chrysler camp, NASCAR threatened significant weight handicaps on Cammer-powered Galaxies, and the engine was eventually banned outright from competition. However, the 427 SOHC achieved success on the drag racing circuit into the 1970s and served as the foundation for several supercharged Top Fuel Dragsters. Today, the Cammer is limited to vintage drag racing series.

Although many 427 SOHC-powered Ford Galaxie prototypes appeared from 1964-67, the SOHC Cammer never graced a showroom floor before Ford discontinued it. However, the 427 SOHC served as the forefather of the late-model Ford SOHC and DOHC mod motors.


The Ford 427 Cammer produced 616 horsepower with single four-barrel carburetor and 657 horsepower with dual four-barrel carburetors. This made the engine one of the most powerful engines to come out of Detroit during the octane-fueled 1960s.

Did You Know…

…because of the Cammer’s legendary status, you can find a variety of 427 SOHC automobilia? Here are just a few examples:

Editor’s Note: This series counts down the Top 10 engines of all time–see how the voting was done by reading our initial post.



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  1. Pingback: Top 10 Engines of All Time (#2): Chrysler 426 HEMI - OnAllCylinders

  2. Scooter George says:

    Bill France banned the 392 Hemi. Told the Chrysler 300 guys not to bother showing up at Daytona in 1957.

  3. Whoever compiled this ‘Top 10 Engines of all Time’ clearly hasn’t got a damn clue about engines. Either that or he believes that engines are only made in America. How about Cosworth, RedTop, Brabus? I could go on. And why is it that American car manufacturers need 5+litres to get 300-400bhp when Japan and Europe have been getting just as much power out of 2 litre engines. This idea that big is better and therefore more powerful is totally wrong. Learn something about car engines, then have another go at writing this article. Your clueless!!!!

    • Cosworth, Brabus and redtop arent really engine manufacturers. They modify engines already made by a major manufacturer, most Cosworths are Ford engines, with a few others thrown in the mix. Brabus is almost entirely mercedes. Also show me a naturally aspirated jap or european car with 300-400hp… not going to happen… I believe Lexus uses a 5.0L naturally aspirated V8 and it makes 394hp/383ft.lbs of tourque. Ford new 5.0L makes 435hp/400lb.ft of tourque. Try and get 300,000-500,000miles out of a european/japenese engine thats been used for heavy hauling and rough dirt roads.

    • Dave Castaneda says:

      300 hp and 10 lbs of torque from Euro engines do not a muscle motor make.
      Horsepower turns the engine. Torque turns the wheels.

    • This is America and we see things differently. If you like forgen cars move there don’t bitch about America what we did wrong cause I’m sure the forgeners have done a lot of shit wrong to! And there engines have like 12 turbos all maxed at like 30 pounds or more. Most American boosted engines never see more than 12psi. Sure they could be cranked up to but why. And that’s why the better beats most of your forgen cars and some exotics too!

    • Haha is this guy serious? Japanese are not creators. They take things that have already been made and tweak them. The 427 is such a beautiful piece of machinery without all of the computer geewiz. It’s all muscle. That’s what this engine is. All muscle. Plus it’s just so freaking beautiful. I’m bias though…

    • American Engines are the best. You can stick your 2 liter pos up your ass

    • The 427 sohc also went into the cobra and GT40 where they won the Lemans beating Ferrari

      • The 427 Cobras and GT40’s used the pushrod version of the 427 side oiler, not the Cammer.

      • Dingus Oringus says:

        No, not at all. No cammer was sold or used buy anybody but the drag race community. The motor that was used by Shelby was a stock 428 and the motor used by the Lemans winning cars were the 427 push rod side/top oilers.

    • Hey “el geico”…

      Who cares?!?

      YOU’RE clueless!

      (Note correct spelling of the word “you’re”…)


    • You really showed your on knowledge of engines by stating hoesepower…big american engines make there horsepower down low and without supercharging. The engines you mention all do it with forced induction at high rpms and they dont come close to the torque output. And your righr. Top 10 american engines should have been the name of the article

      • Yep, when you take an American V8 and put as much boost as the Euro and Japanese cars do on normal pump fuel, they put HP numbers in the 1000’s and when you do it with blowers and nitro they put numbers in the 10,000’s.

    • By 1974 the FE 427 sohc was making 3500 hp at 9000 rpm 40 years ago. No import on the planet can get anywhere near that not even half. The power the FE made 4 decades ago you can keep your 300 hp 8000 rpm import.

    • shut up fool

    • Yeah those 3000 horsepower top fuel big cubes that’s blistering world records almost daily wouldn’t stand a chance against the 2.2L Mit now would it? Something like 700? Cubic inches. The article kept saying that Chrysler came out k with the hemi before Ford and took 1 2 & 3 place wins and while the public sucked on the left one of Chrysler with their big win 90 days later Ford tried the same thing and was told to go home and rake and take that experimental motor with you. Newspaper reports from 1961 has Ford whippin the chit out of every car on every track in America and with the start of racing season a couple of weeks off the racing commission executives came together( because Ford beat every car on every type of track a year prior) and decided to ban that beast of a motor that Ford beat every car on every track in the country a year prior. So how does that work? Ford wins all the races in the 61-62 season and is banned from using the same engine in 62-63 and Chrysler wins in 64 with a copy of the Ford motor. What?

      • the hemi was out before the ford !!

        Chrysler applied their military experience with the hemispherical combustion chamber to their first overhead-valve V8 engine, released under the name FirePower, not “Hemi,” in 1950 for the 1951 model year. The first version of the FirePower engine had a displacement of 331 cu in (5.4 L) and produced 180 bhp (134.2 kW).

        • The first American V8 Hemi was in fact the 1947 Ford/Ardun Hemi! Chrysler copied the idea, and even went as far as copying the intake manifold bolt pattern. Chrysler/dodge deserves to be owned by FIAT now. lol.

          • where’s your proof

          • Doyle Stauffer says:

            Chrysler built the Hemi engine during the war for military use to be used in planes and tanks. This was before the Ardun. The war ended before they were used, so they mothballed them until 51 models came out.

    • I can definitely say 427 definitely top 10 contender. Cuz I have a 427 small block. I drag race Fox body Mustangs. But this motor 427 and some boost from my ProCharger I’m flying down the track. And no other small block and its category can handle this abuse.. but a lot of people but I race against if they have a Ford small-block It’s usually the 427..

    • Chadwick Jackson says:


    • A 2 liter engine can be built to put out horsepower but the torque potential could never match an American big block. Remember, in the U.S. we invented our own forms of racing. Nascar, Drags etc. And those rice burners would never hold up.

    • Jim Janiszewski says:

      Sorry dude, engine torque is what is going to launch and accelerate a car, especially a heavy one, NOT hp. Bigger cubes produce more torque than a smaller cubed engine. That’s just pure physics, plain and simple. High hp numbers are exciting to brag about, but they’re not achieved until the top end of the track.

    • Charles the great American says:

      Your European crap is just that…crap. They might get a lot of HP out of a 2 liter at high rpm but where is the torque? There is none and that is why big is better and it’s the American way now your no longer ignorant.

  4. el Greco that’s you’re clueless

  5. Banter aside I think el Greco has a point. There have been many wonderful engines outside of Uncle Sam’s play area including the Cosworth DFV, BDA/BDT, 3.4 quad-cam’d Essex V6, A-series, Pinto etc. Shame the list was limited to Yank stuff.

    • If one eauropean engine should have been on the list, it should have been the 2.5L Ford/Cosworth V6 (duratec), porsche engineering adapted by Ford and Cosworth and spawned the 2.5L, 3.0L, and 3.5L V6 duratec engines as well as the Jaguar V12.

    • Maybe because it’s an American article about American engines, you typical euro whiner… Now, go flip open one of your biased magazines and see what your list looks like. Crybags….

  6. How about the YAMAHA 32VALVE 3.4 V8 SHO TAURUS..Had one and it drove great at 150 mph..

    • Fairly unreliable because of cam lobes rotating on the cam shaft, and only produced for 3 years… And it was basically just two yamaha motorbike engines.

    • Cause it was cheaper for Ford to buy an engine for the SHO than to invent one. Car company’s are always looking for the cheapest way out. And apparently yahama had the cheapest price on there engines so Ford took them!

  7. Bradyn Buchanan says:

    Ford is going to start production of the 427 SOHC again

    • I hope so and hope with technology today it has 1000 horsepower! To shut forgener and Chevy lovers up.the forgeners family sedans are getting beat by the hellcat charger from what I have seen!

      • Good God, man – learn to spell the word “foreigner” if you’re going to use it in every comment. I love American muscle cars, but you’re not helping when you come across like a freaking redneck.

        • John Jensen says:

          Being a card carrying member of the “grammer police” doesn’t buy you a seat at the conference table. Sounds like some C-6 rube looking for a high compression seat belt, or a full race dip stick.

          And who tf you think invented Nascar? Jar Jar Binks? Rednecks did. Darlington isn’t in Tatooine, Connecticut, Dipweed. So there is (there’s) that.

          Don’t be a Fat Ford Double Clutch Tranny. We Bumcombe County hollar folks don’t like you. Never have. So keep your (yur) insults to yourself. (Yourselves). Stick a feather in your butt crack, and stay way tf north of the Mason DIxon, and we will all be tickled, shiftless.

          • More like tickled into the stupid stupor of a sodomistic solipsism. Trying to sound intelligent if you are from the south and not William Faulkner is a waste of time.

  8. The whole top 10 list on this site is a joke… Simple as that!!! All domestic and all Dodge, Ford, and Chevy. That really is laughable. I can’t believe that there is no mention at all of the 2JZ-GTE engine found in the MKIV Toyota Supra. Are you guys for real???

    • Dillon Hensey says:

      Yea but without a computer to control the motor and a turbo to give it boost all your eurp crap is just another gocart motor, all these motors can pull a truck out of a ditch run for 100,000’s of miles without any power adders or fuel injection this is 60+ year technology hear at its best, let’s see an N/A Using a carburetor no fuel injection and 500ft/lbs

    • Uh, gee, I guess they are for real, since it’s about AMERICAN engines, genius. I take it that you’re the type to go to a restaurant and order stuff not on the menu and blubber about it when you don’t get your little way, huh??? Brat…

      • Not ONCE does it mention that the article was limited to American engines. Guess you need to get your facts straight before you shoot your mouth off!

        • This is an American blog built, funded and maintained by an American race equipment supplier (Summit Racing). Therefore, we discuss American engines in support of our American passtime. If you don’t like that build and fund your own foreign blog and show as much love for your high revving low torque unreliable micro motors as you want.

          Remember kids, there’s no replacement for displacement!

          • The difference between a 2.7 liter 400 hp ferrari v8
            And a 7.5 liter 400hp American v8
            Is torque.we can tow a another car at 100 mph. They couldnt push an orange saftey cone out of the way.

    • That’s why professional drag racers use hemispherical headed engines. And they make well over 3000 horsepower. That’s a lot of turbos to be using on a supra to get over 3000 horsepower. This is America if you don’t like our American automobles. Move to Japan were the Toyota was invented and then we can’t hear your doggin America.

    • Jap motors are a joke they can’t make power without a power adder

  9. NASCAR and ProStock Nhra are factory race cars from gm Ford Chrysler..and what cars were you talking about.don’t recall seeing any of don’t have to prove history..history proves itself.when it comes to racing Chevrolet is filthy rich they Have enough wins to buy and sell anybody

  10. Good old Honest Garden variety push-rod Ford v8 winning LeMans 24hr 4 times straight!!!! (9000 rpm+ ah!! that beautiful noise] 1960s-those were the days

    • The late and the great Caroll Shelby!

    • Exactly! Not a Cammer.

    • Bill Ballinger says:

      The 427s used at LeMans were very defined and made the same amount of power as my home built 390+.020. They could run the course for 46 hours at a 6200 rpm red line and take all comers. In NASCAR the 1964 427 High Riser could still beat the Hemi,and it was banned in 65.The FE series should have rated higher in the poll.

      • Bill Ballinger says:

        You might be surprised at how both the 60s pushrod FE and Hemi my are still doing in NHRA Stock and Super Stock

  11. I throw in a vote for Volvo B18

    • Duly noted……….For what it’s worth.

      • kevin linthicum says:

        I live in southern Missouri I mean in the Ozarks, and ive owned them all, porshe , Mercedes, jauguar, ford ,/chev dodge, I loved my 944, but, if im give it hell ford all the way, and this is fact wen most cars will blow up getting into the throttle a ford wont let gotill u get off the throttle, and that’s a fact, I drove a ford home almost 120 miles wth cam shaft broke in four spots, it hammered to beat hell but it didn’t give up till I shut it off

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  13. Pingback: The Cammer - Ford’s Answer to the Hemi | Cool Rides Online®

  14. I know I’m late, but when you take a 383 and put 426 Hemi heads on it….then you have a motor!!!

  15. Richard kwiatkowski says:

    I realized I am behind the eight ball here ,reading these reply so reminds me of car and Driver pass n moan pages bummer bla,bla, bla

  16. Pingback: Reviving the Top-Oiler: Stuffing Big Cubic Inches into a 427 While Maintaining a Strictly Stock Look - OnAllCylinders

  17. george clark says:

    I lived in the days of the 60s and 70s muscle cars. I also lived through the Jimmy Carter recession. Which destroyed a lot of small farmers . Even the pickups are much better and more reliable . The American built trucks on the farms were loaded two to three times their capacity daily and were not babied in any way. If you go anywhere an American truck is the one doing the heavy work. The Jap trucks would not last a day on the farms now. That is why you see American trucks out there. The generation that we hear bragging about these tin plated thin bodied vehicles with 3 1/4 inch ring gears, have been brainwashed by a corrupt media that is anti-American and is hell bent to take this country down. They should all be wrapped up with their cars and shipped to the country of their vehicles origin. I worked at the dealers body shops when the sales died and the work dried up. Their were some fellow body men that were brainwashed into buying that crap.I still hear it even today about how great their piece of crap euro or Jap vehicle is followed by a later discussion of the thousands of dollars the idiots spend just to service and repair those money pits . If that is not brain washing than it is stupidity. I have a 92 f150 with 209000 miles. I will compare repair receipts with any of these retards. My truck starts and runs the same as day one. These losers don’t have a clue as to what a real investment in an automobile or their country is. Grow some balls and by the real thing not a make believe copy. Just like the 300z those vehicles will never be collected and wont even exist in 30 years.

    • In most cases there are good and bad examples of top engines and drivelines from most manufactures in different countries. The Cadillac V-8-6-4 was a joke. The early chevy diesels were laughable. Ford A/T are moneypits, Chevy rearends are made of taffy, ( hence all the real hp cars run the Ford 9 inch) I have owned over 65 cars during the 49 yrs I’ve been blessed to burn rubber and find as many back roads to terrorize while I’m still alive. Mr. George Clark has a very good point about the Americans and their trucks that support the backbone of this great country. Ford, Chevy and Dodge are very serious about building these money making machines. I’ve had 4 Ford E350 Vans that will probably out last me. 2- with the 5.4 cammer, 1- with the 6.8 cammer and the current with the 6.0 understressed diesel. besides two injectors I had to replace on my 6.0 these Vans keep going and going like the energizer bunny. I sold my 2 van to a friend with over 300k on it with confidence ove 3 yrs ago and he has over 400k with no major problems. Iv’e seen my uncles and stepfather’s chevy’s perform similarly. Most modern Dodges with the 318 or 360 or 5.7-6.4 hemi’s seem to hold up well.
      Again, workhorses here, pulling logs up north. cattle feed, auto parts, 1500-5,000k payloads, pulling 5,000-32,000 lbs without breaking a sweat. When it comes to heavy work you can’t touch us Americans. Period.

      Now i also own a 1996 Nissan 300zx, the last of the Z32’s imported to the USA
      I’ve had 6- Datsun 240Z’s + 1- 77 Datsun KingCab p/u. Now I know these listed hear are heavy duty but if you want to talk about reliability and racing pedigree just ask the Father of the Shelby Daytona Coupe Mr. Peter Brock about those Datsuns. Around 2008-9 I was attending the historics at Laguna Seca and ran into Mr. Brock and I asked him what he liked so much about racing the datsuns and he said they were the most reliable race cars he had ever worked with. Sometimes going a whole race season on the L18 4 cyl in the 510’s and the L-24 inline 6 cyl in the 240Z’s. When some of us go to heaven I’m sure Paul Newman can confirm Pete’s claims. So Mr. George Clark I have disagree with you on the insignificance of the 300ZX’s A racing version of the Z32 or 300ZX with Steve Millen won the 24 hr race in Lemans in 1994 before any racing version of the Chevy Corvette did. Nissan was banned as well with the game changing 300ZX turbos as the 427 cammer was. 240Z prices have skyrocketed in the last 2 yrs, The 280ZX Turbo values are creeping right behind. Really stock and well preserved 300ZX Turbo values are on the rise as well. Look, my all-time favorite car or cars are the Shelby Daytona Coupe, Ford GT-40, 1968 Bullitt Ford Mustang Fastback in highland green please, 1965 Corvette 327 fuelie coupe Blk/red, 1968 Dodge Charger 440 Six pac / 4spd and a 1970-71 BRE spec Datsun 240Z with Triple Webber carbs. Look we can have our favorites without bashing the others. We don’t have to demonize or bash the others to make our own choices justified. Nissan, Toyota, Honda, VW, BMW, Porsche, Mercedes Benz made our products better. Nissan made 3- game changers, the 240Z, 300ZX and R-35 GTR. All these 3-models made their direct competitors go back to the drawing board to improve their models so they can be equal or better. If not the will soon be extinct.

      240Z introduced in late 1969. For $3,500 you could have a reliable, fun, very stylish 2-seater Coupe that could top out at 125mph, 20-25 mpg, Much cheaper than a Porsche 911, was far superior to anything the Triumphs, MGs, Fiat etc.The demand was so high they cost more used than brand new. As you can see I love cars and trucks. I have actually been selling classic and exotic cars for almost 30 yrs. So I have been lucky to be exposed to all the offerings. When i was 20 yrs old you couldn’t get me to drive a Chevy. I’m so glad I have opened my horizons on I know have much respect for the Bow tie. For the money in todays world the Vette is the best SportsCar on the planet bar none. I’m still a Blue Oval guy at heart but I recognize the evolution of the vette since 1953. So please some of you go out and drive the car you don’t like before you really think you know it all. We don’t and can be pleasantly surprised on what the world has to offer. Oh, I’m very confident that we here in America build the best Trucks and Cars on the planet. When you take a look at the fastest times for production sports cars around the racetracks around the world. Besides some $1.5 Million plus cars the Dodge Viper ACR / T/A and Chevy Corvette ZR-1 and Z06 hold the records. I can’t wait until they test the 2017 Ford GT?

      Respectfully, Gregory

      • Jeffrey Wells says:

        Write on Gregory.Though I prefer Fords and Pontiacs,buck for buck,who makes an automobile that touches a vett’e,.That would be,um,nobody

        • Really liked following your lifeline-in your eyes. Felt like I lived some of it. At the end you said Gregory…that was my fathers name. He passed last August. He really liked cars, old ones, trucks. My great grandpa Harold Ervin had a failane-62? Pearl white, 289, red interior, checkered stitched seats and headliner. Real gem. Won some trophies. Had a an old Chevy truck, trophies too. My dad Gregory had a 1972 grand Tornio sport 351 Clevland, baby blue, fast back, hood scoop! Moms daily. Dad stomped a corvette back in the late 80’s, passed him from Davidson nc to mount mourne nc…on hwy 115 two lane. Mom also had a 72 Malibu white. And her brother gave us a tan 54 ford pickup manual.
          Power doesn’t mean much it’s what you do with it.

  18. Mr. Franklin:
    Please note that while I may well agree with some points you make… understand that making your opinion SUCCINCTLY is necessary. Few people, myself included, care to read a rambling dissertation.

  19. Dave Wilkirson says:

    I think Mr. Greg Franklin said it best in these comments. The Asians and Euro folks have designed some great gasoline engines. Being a 60 something American male and growing up with hemi engines (first car was a 69 Roadrunner w/440 six pack and later a hemi), GM, and Ford products I will add my insignificant input. The street hemi was the rule of the day back in 68-69. There were two people I knew in my little town (Sherman, Tx) that owned Cudas with the 426 engine. Even in 1969 the hemi was expensive to purchase (priced in the upper 4s and the average wage was $4/hr in 1969) and was fun to own. We raced on a retired AFB runway during the weekends. When the LS6 showed up we had a real contender. Ford’s 390 (Mach 1) and 427 were raced too and were fast in stock trim. I don’t think any foreign cars were raced but the town was only 22,000 people. We (friends of mine) rebuilt many MOPARs (383/340/318/440s, GM 327/350s, and big block 427/454s and a couple of Ford 351 Cleveland engines. A friend owned a machine shop and we spent many an afternoon in that shop. We never thought of any import cars as a contender for anything in the muscle car era. The rest of the world was saving gas and as an Americans we were burning 15 tons of fuel per second in the mighty Saturn rocket to put a man on the moon. That said it was all or nothing when it came to powerful cars. In my mind America still and will always rule in this category. I recently built a Boss Hoss bike (2005) with a GM 502 crate engine. Purchased most of the accessory parts from Summit and some from Scoggin-Dickey. Fun to take to the car shows in north Dallas. Now I’m leaning on replacing the 1991 SS 454 engine in my stock SS truck with a GM 572 crate. Would someone reading this please tell me where I can get a 572 cubic inch gasoline engine from Japan? Didn’t think so. Ok I said my words. Go ahead and laugh.

  20. Pingback: Hot Rod and Car Nicknames and Terms (Quiz)

  21. “Jesus Chrysler drives a Dodge; he drives it on the wages of sin”…The Screaming Blue Messiahs.

  22. All engines are awsome it is part of humans taming of fire, and producing the results we want or need.

  23. Maybe someone would like to take a stab at writing about how great the Offenhauser engine was, the records it holds, the years that it dominated Indy, and how the design and engineering set the benchmark and standards for how internal combustion engines developed?

  24. The hemi was out before the ford .. In the 50s..

  25. The old hemis run pretty good. But the name of the game is “pass” and there wasn’t enough left for that.

  26. An Observation says:

    A GM engineer once explained to me why Corvette uses push rod engines. What he said was “If you are going to hp per cubic inch of displacement you go overhead cam, if you are going for hp per pound of engine weight, you go with a push rod engine.”

  27. Fomoco forever !

  28. Where are the OTHER 9???????

  29. Gordon Shoen says:

    Gordon Shoen, it actually was a 428 CID with a 4.125″ bore and 4.00″ stroke. 427 CID just sounded cool.

  30. Pingback: 10 Ford Gifts for Dads Who Love Cars & Trucks - OnAllCylinders

  31. DAVID INGRAM says:

    I had a 64 XL with a tired 390 in 67 and read that the Cammer was a parts counter orderable item. I tried but no one could help me. They had and still only went to big name racers.

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