Author Topic: Who created the first 428 Cobra Jet?  (Read 662 times)

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Offline LightWtJet

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Who created the first 428 Cobra Jet?
« on: August 20, 2018, 09:14:57 pm »
Folk lore and many automotive magazines give credit to a Tasca 1967 Mustang coupe - the KR8 as being the first. Per the March 2010 Mustang Monthly page 29 you can see the Coupe in a picture taken in April of 1967. In the Summer of 1967, the KR8 was taken to the Ford test track to show the engineers how quick it was. By November of 1967 Hot Rod magazine polled readers to complain to Ford that they were not happy with Ford's performance cars. In a  Nov. letter from Iacocca, he asked engineering -what are we going to do and when? By January of 1968 , Ford had built the first 50 CJ cars.
I was there at Ford, but I did not know who was first. So I called Bill Barr (428CJ engine supervisor) recently. We  reminisced about our roles in various programs (mine minor) and he told me - the 428 CJ engine program was started in Jan. of 1967.
Perhaps Dave (Dggibert) and his dad who was at Tasca can settle this issue at the reunion--
« Last Edit: August 20, 2018, 09:21:50 pm by LightWtJet »
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Offline Chris Teeling

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Re: Who created the first 428 Cobra Jet?
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2018, 10:44:34 pm »
The evidence is with Bill.

There is no way a new production engine /drivetrain option could be designed, qualified (Ford & Federal requirements) and readied for manufacturing in the few months that the legend has it being done in.


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Offline Dggilbert

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Re: Who created the first 428 Cobra Jet?
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2018, 07:48:31 am »
As most of you know I'm fairly new to all this as I only recently became aware of the significance of some of the projects my father worked on while at Tasca. In my many conversations with my dad the only definitive statement I can get out of him is "Tasca made it happen". After countless hours on my tablet researching the CJ and its creation that it was teamwork in that Bill Barr, my dad and the Bopper forced Fords hand to get the 428CJ built for the 1968 and not 1969. All the nitty griity details I hope to discover at the reunion. My dad has never been a self promoter and doesn't open up much about the old days, these old Ford guys are tough. Is like to thank all the guys on the registry for putting up with me and without some of the back and forth we've had over the last six months its quite possible my father wouldn't be in attendance as that was his intention when I first get involved with the registry, so thank you all. As for the inspiration for the KR8 build, Bill Barr was involved, my dad was in contact with Bill quite a bit and they did talk about the 428PI as a candidate for the heads my dad had in mind, my dad says he noticed an improvement in performance from the 63 Galaxiie to the 64 and after talking with Bill they determined the difference was the heads, they wouldn't fit the 390 so they determined the 428PI would be a good candidate. Was my dad feed the build combo of the 427 LR heads on the 428PI by Bill Barr? Its the single biggest question I have for him. But like my dad says"Tasca made it happen". Even Bill calls the Bopper the father of the CJ and he'd know better than anyone what that means. Can't wait to find out, should be an amazing weekend.

Offline geraldt52

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Re: Who created the first 428 Cobra Jet?
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2018, 12:09:13 pm »
I think that it's perfectly possible that Ford and Tasca were working/thinking along the same lines at the same time.  Perhaps it was just that Tasca, not surprisingly, was able to turn the idea into a recognizable piece of hardware before Ford was.  It pays not to underestimate a couple of competent guys under a shade tree, compared to the slow moving bureaucracy of a major corporation.

Not to diminish the work that was done, but putting 406/427 heads on other FEs to wake them up wasn't exactly an original idea back in the day.  I remember one of the annuals of Hot Rod's Complete Book of Engines laying out exactly that, and it would certainly have been pre-'67.  Not to mention that the Chevy guys had been using "fuelie" heads to wake up lesser small block Chevys for years.

Offline 161854

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Re: Who created the first 428 Cobra Jet?
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2018, 12:38:03 pm »
The evidence is with Bill.

There is no way a new production engine /drivetrain option could be designed, qualified (Ford & Federal requirements) and readied for manufacturing in the few months that the legend has it being done in.

  +1 Chris . A perfect example is the "A" intake has a "change level" cast onto #1 runner and a date of 6-17-67 yet the 135 cars came with PI intakes because the "production iron" intakes weren't approved for production in Dec '67. Sure the 427SOHC was touted as a 90 day wonder but it was funded ( the important factor) for the "race group" not "long lead" production engines. The Boss 302 was a similar "morph" engine and took over a year to develop ( for production) despite 50% or more of the engine being "in place" from the ill fated tunnel port fiasco.
    Tasca DID bring the "lack of performance" to a head as noted in a paper presentation given by Donald Frey to the "Ford brass" Tasca and the Hot Rod magazine article were noted in his presentation. Frey ALSO made mention that there were engines already developed that didn't fit "company ( and insurance) guidelines" in place at the time that WOULD equal or surpass the performance cars from GM and Chrysler. He was outspoken with dismay over "performance parts" ONLY given to factory supported racers and the the "average customer".
« Last Edit: August 22, 2018, 12:45:55 pm by 161854 »
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Offline geraldt52

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Re: Who created the first 428 Cobra Jet?
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2018, 04:40:18 pm »
... He was outspoken with dismay over "performance parts" ONLY given to factory supported racers and the the "average customer".

Just to make your point clear, 161854, I'm sure you meant to say: "...and not the 'average customer'."

Offline 161854

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Re: Who created the first 428 Cobra Jet?
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2018, 06:02:40 pm »
 YES and thanks for correcting me! It shows me somebody reads my posts.
68 1/2 CJ FB San Jose white/blue "C" stripe Foulger Ford
 66 GT350 Hertz SFM 6S 477 white/ blue side stripes 1  of 18
3 magazine covers- Car Craft July '77,  Modified Mustangs Feb '11 , and June '14 Mustang Monthly
'78 F350 Oleynik racecar hauler

Offline Dggilbert

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Re: Who created the first 428 Cobra Jet?
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2018, 06:19:40 pm »
I had a chance to hang out with my dad and Bill Barr, it was like a high school reunion where they hadn't seen each other since high school. The only difference is though my dad calls Bill one of his mentors and they spent hundreds of hours on the phone they had never met. I want able to address all the xparts some of you have theorized about as I just let my dad and Bill rehash the old days as we drove around on a golfcart Fri and let them catch up. There were two significant comments that Bill Barr made. First, after the group pick at the starting line Sat morning Bill caught the photographers attention and said take my pic with me and Bill Gilbert without this guy the CJ never would've happened. Second, later he went into more detail and said that had they not forced Fords hand with the KR8 the CJ wouldn't have happened. They had the Boss 302 and 429 and Bill's 351 Cleveland on regular build schedules and if the CJ wasn't released in 68 it wouldn't have been built at all. Wow, I was blown away but that's what he said. Now I know why Bill acknowledges Bob Sr as the father of the CJ and why it was worth building it for half the production year aka 68.5's. As many have said before Thank God for Tasca. As I said I didn't get into the details, did Bill Barr feed the build info so Tasca could provide some leverage to get Ford to build it but it happened. That's all my dad says after all these years, "Tasca made it happen" , and Bill Barr concurs. What a weekend! Hope you all enjoyed as much as I did.