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).

History

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.

Specifications

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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Author: David Fuller

David Fuller is OnAllCylinders' managing editor. During his 20-year career in the auto industry, he has covered a variety of races, shows, and industry events and has authored articles for multiple magazines. He has also partnered with mainstream and trade publications on a wide range of editorial projects. In 2012, he helped establish OnAllCylinders, where he enjoys covering all facets of hot rodding and racing.