Ford 385 engine

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Ford 385 V8 (Boss 429 shown)
Boss 429 engine
ManufacturerFord Motor Company
Production1968–1997
PredecessorFord MEL V8
Ford FE V8
Ford Super Duty truck engine
SuccessorFord Modular V8
Ford Triton/InTech V8
Ford Boss V8

The Ford 385 engine family (the name coming from the 3.85 inch crankshaft stroke of the 460 V8) was the American Ford Motor Company's final big block V8 engine design, replacing the Ford MEL engine and gradually superseding the Ford FE engine family. This design was a departure from the paradigm utilizing thinwall casting methods and a skirtless block to reduce weight.

It was available in three sizes in production vehicles; 370 cu in (6.1 L) in medium-duty trucks only, 429 cu in (7.0 L) and 460 cu in (7.5 L). A 514 cu in (8.4 L) crate engine was also available from Ford SVO.

The engines were sold between 1968 and 1997. They were manufactured at Ford's Lima Engine plant at Lima, Ohio. This manufacturing line replaced the Ford MEL engine line in the Lima plant. The FE engines, manufactured in Dearborn, continued in production but saw reduced applications and volume as the 385 engine gradually took over in the Ford line up. The FE went out of production in 1976, leaving the 385 as the only big block. The 370 replaced the 361 FE in 1978 and the 429 replaced the Super Duty(401/477/534) engines in 1982.

Besides service in large luxury cars in the 1970s and in trucks throughout its life, the 385 series engine was also popular in motorhomes, marine, and industrial applications. Over 50 varieties were produced in any given year.

As with the FE line of engines, Ford also offered Cobra Jet and Super Cobra Jet versions of the 429. The Cobra Jet, rated at 370 hp (280 kW), was equipped with a Rochester Quadrajet carburetor, larger camshaft, 11.3 to 1 compression ratio and a special set of cylinder heads. The Super Cobra Jet, rated at 375 hp (280 kW), had a 4-bolt main block, a Holley carburetor, and a larger mechanical camshaft. In 1971, the CJ engine also used a 4-bolt main block. However, these engines were actually underrated and produce power in the 440-460 hp range. This was done to deceive insurance companies (common practice in that era), so that buyers did not have to pay higher insurance rates.

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