|The Ford 385 engine family 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 in³ (6.1 L) in trucks only, 429 in³ (7.0 L) and 460 in³ (7.5 L). A 512 in³ (8.4 L) crate engine was also available from Ford SVO.
The engines were sold between 1968 and 1997. They were manufactured in 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.
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 motors Ford also offered a Cobra Jet and Super Cobra Jet versions of the 429. The Cobra Jet , rated at 370hp, was equiped with a Rochester Quadra Jet carb, larger cam, 11.3 to 1 compression and a special set of cylinder heads. The Super Cobra Jet , rated at 375hp, had a 4 Bolt main block, a Holley carb, and a larger mechanical cam. In 1971 the CJ motor also used a 4 bolt main block. The truth of the matter is these motor were actually in 440 to 460 Hp range. The true horsepower ratings were understated to throw off the insurance companies (common practice in that era.)