Classic Mustang Inline-Six Swap – Hot Rod

Upgrading an inline-six Mustang with another inline-six

Yes, we know many of you will look at the headline and mutter “why bother, just swap a V-8 in it,” but anyone and everyone can do that, and have done it, since the beginning of automotive history. What’s cool in our books is when inline-six (or even the later V-6 enthusiasts) keep their engine’s piston configuration in the same place while upgrading what their Mustang was born with just to be different and prove a point. That point? You can really hop-up anything with enough time, money, and experience. Will it make three bazillion horsepower? No, but it won’t be just another small-block Ford under the hood of a classic Mustang come cruise night, that’s for sure, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.

A good friend of ours, Brian Stilwell, has been toying with his ’65 Mustang for several years now, and while the quick fix of a V-8 swap did pass through his gray matter, he opted to go down the rabbit hole of upgrading his inline-six. First came a complete top end transformation using the popular aluminum head from Classic Inlines (and now available through Vintage Inlines). Adding a camshaft, true dual exhaust, and more made for a peppy and smart sounding sixer. Ditching the factory C4 for a T-5 five-speed made the drive even more spirited. When the dust settled the inline-six was making decent horsepower and had quite a unique look under hood. However, like any power-hungry petrol head, Brian soon wanted more.

The visions of fabricating a single turbo setup and adding EFI soon began dancing through his head. To the point Brian had picked up another 200ci block, a small turbo, and started designing a low-compression engine build up with custom turbo plumbing and an intercooler. The engine was built, but it smoked heavily on the dyno, possibly from poor ring fit or broken ring lands during assembly. At this point he felt he’d rather have air conditioning than the turbo so he sold all the turbo bits off and dropped his old 200ci inline-six back in to keep the Mustang on the road. That’s when he decided displacement and compression was the better solution and began saving his firefighter overtime pay for all the bits he’d need to build a stout 250ci inline-six. He sourced a salvage block and other bits from a Maverick and knew he’d be swapping over his top end parts, so it was simply a matter of some machine work, new pistons, rings, and bearings, and figuring out how to get the larger six to fit. Read on to see how it was done!































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