The 302 Cu.In Engine from Ford & Chevrolet

From Ford


This engine came around in 1968 and reigned for at least 27 years. In the 80s, this engine was regarded as a 5-liter displacement engine despite being 4.9 liters. In 1995 came the introduction of 4.8 liter V8 which got into Mustangs the next year and for some time later.

In 1968 the Ford 302 had brought at least 230 horsepower at a less-remarkable 4800RPM, though featuring a 4bbl carburetor. However, it did not compete favorably against 427s and 428s which made 400 horsepower between 1963 and 1964. Ford took up this engine and integrated it in many models, for instance, Fox Body with a hamster-size of 1980. In 1995 this engine had developed into a remnant. It was still using pushrods though making at least 200 brake horsepower.

Most people prefer using the 4.9-liter 302 engine to the 4.6-liter overhead cam. This is because the 4.9-liter engine has inexpensive parts. Furthermore, this engine is very reliable though most parts are bound to fail. The 302 has been manufactured by nickel material making it sturdier. Therefore, it should run for a long time without giving in to any potential breakdown.

The 302 has always been able to run for long hours. In 2004 some of its users witnessed the 302 ability to cover 300k miles. Despite the power issues, the 302 engines were liable to bigger enhancement. It had double strokes that gave provision of changing ci to either 331 or 347 in relation to kit inclusive of rods, pistons and a crankshaft. Kits basically maximize the piston strokes.


302 Windsor


Technically the Ford 302 is referred to as 302 Windsor and was, in fact, the first one to be manufactured in Ford’s plant situated at Windsor, Ontario. This engine was a modernized version of block Ford V-8s. Therefore, significant similarities and enhanced performance described this engine. However not all the available 302s were manufactured in Ford’s Windsor plant, but all went under one name. The average 302 power came ranged at 210-230 hp in accordance to the carburetor. Beginning from 1969-1983, the 302 started coming with double -barrel carburetor.


Boss 302


The 302 became popular through Boss Mustang, this car was christened after the 302 engines. This engine is regarded as the most performing 302 engine. It was a hit between 1969 to 1970. Mercury Cougar Eliminator and Mustang 302 were the only ones featuring Boss 302. This engine had been constructed with 351 Cleveland and Windsor 302 Block engine and had a lot of performance alterations. These are the changes that made it to be a better engine in terms of performance, especially when compared to its predecessors.


Current Models


Towards the end of the 1980s till 1995 Mustang 302 saw a resurgence when it was christened a 5.0 liter. It was running the Mustang during minimal car revival. This combination perfectly worked until most police forces of various states had to purchase Mustang 5.0 liter to go after every state highway speeder.


From Chevrolet


Chevrolet was busy marketing its new Camaro, a unique pony car that had been introduced in 1967. The elaborate campaign entailed having the Camaro race in SCCA Trans-Am series. For this new pony car to be a real deal, some features had been added to this new kind of car from GM. This included a unique 302 engine that was to be installed in the Camaro. This engine size had some close similarities with the SCCA 302. However, it is understood the 302 became one of Chevrolet's best designs. It displayed strong features and high performance numbers in the cars where it had been tested.

For it to reach SCCA 302 standards, some significant adjustments had to be made. Chevrolet went with a 3-inch stroke and 4 inches bore that resulted to an over the square combination. Normally, an engine equipped with a shorter stroke revolves at a higher rate because of its reduced piston speeds.

Most of the blocks used in this year were part of the same casting. They were also used in 327 and 350 cubic inches. In1968, the models had to use block a newer block casting which had the newest larger journals. This new model was also used in 350/295 hp and 327/210 hp SS. The 1969 one used nodular iron four-bolt caps and had much thick webbing on its mains.


Is Chevy's 302 Better Than Ford's?


There has been an unending rivalry between Chevrolet and Ford now going on for decades. Users of these two engines have continued to engage in undying debate concerning the best engine. Evidently, it turns out that these two engines are only similar in size.

No doubt Chevrolet’s 302 cubic-inch smaller block was very special. But it was built for only three years and has tested at about 290 horsepower. Below are some of the basis through which Ford 302 and Chevrolet 302 can be compared. There are notable differences in the line of their features and performance.


The 1969 SCCA Trans-Am Series race


This organized race was a an example of what the head to head battle of the Ford 302 and Chevrolet 302. Some of the participants used the Chevrolet Camaro and the other lot used Ford Mustang. Eight of the winners were driving the Chevrolet Camaro, with four of them using the Ford Mustang. However, there are many variables to take into account. Like driver skills, the chassis design, and more. Still that victory on the track went to Chevy. However that didn't keep Chevy from ending development of the 302. The next iteration (the 305) became Chevy's and GM's go to engine from 1976–1992.

Notably, not many remember Chevy's 302. The number has belonged to Ford for decades when it comes into mind. Same with the 5.0 liter designation. Ford has now returned to using the 5.0 badge on the current Mustang originating from the original 302.


Versatility of the Small Block 302


The Chevrolet 302 is believed to be very flexible but didn't get the chance to stay in the lineup. Ford stuck to the stout small block and used it in everything for many model years. Before the era of powerful high compression mini 4 cylinders, the 302 was a perfect balance of power and size for many cars.

Though Ford is cheaper and easier to use because of decades of use, the Chevrolet 302 is still a very powerful competitor. It is able to run alongside Ford's era equivalent easily. Some fans still use this engine in their Chevy projects.




Both engines are great power plants. But clearly Ford won the battle of the 302 but maybe only because Chevy retired the engine very quickly in favor of the 350 and later the 305. We may never know which one is the absolute best today since it's missing in the current lineup for Chevy.

Carl has a decade of experience in the car shipping industry. He has worked in nearly every aspect of the transport business since 2014, taking charge of various roles in the company such as dispatching, sales, and customer service.

During those years, Carl amassed an invaluable amount of experience which has contributed to his writing of every article and and guide on NX since taking over content in 2015.