When Ford needed a follow up to the venerable flathead V8 they knew it had to be good and it had to be tough. The replacement was the famed “Y-block” series of engines and they did a great job filling the shoes of the flathead by producing more horsepower and torque for Ford and Mercury branded cars. Since today is 3/12 we’re going to be looking at the largest factory version of this engine, the 312ci V8.
The 312 was rolled out in 1956 and it was used in higher end models of the Ford and Mercury line. Most people know it best from being installed in the Thunderbirds of the era. Ford threw just about every type of induction you could dream up at this thing over the years with a 2bbl carb, a 4bbl carb, dual fours, and even a McCulloch supercharger in 1957.
The Y-block was tough and while it was not a huge power producer from the factory, enthusiasts around the world have been building them to made double plus the initial factory rating for some years now. Boost is their friend. If the Y-block had a major flaw it was the fact that displacement options were fairly limited because of the block. Growing the engine much past 350 inches was not really something the factory would ever consider so that is why they abandoned the platform after the 1960 model year and proceeded to develop new engines.
The blown version of the engine was rated in the 300hp neighborhood, which was nutso in 1957 and the hottest naturally aspirated version of the Y-block was rated at about 260hp with some special “over the counter” dealer parts. We have seen these engines in all kinds of stuff and
we think that they are cool they provided a perfect bridge to the world of overhead valve engines for Ford and taught engineers valuable lessons for the engines that followed.
Check out these Y-block videos below!