Shelby 289 engine

Shelby 289 engine DEFAULT

14 Best Engines Ever Built By Ford Motor Company

  1. 289 V8 Small Block


Introduced in 1963, the 289 CID, 4.7-liter V8 engine was a small block unit Ford designed to be an entry level V8 for all models in their lineup. With small dimensions, a relatively small weight, and decent power, the 289 engine was an impressive offering for car buyers. It was available on all Ford Motor Company models, from the modest Falcon to the upscale Galaxie 500. But, the 289 proved to be a perfect match for the legendary Ford Mustang, which they introduced a year later, in 1964.

In the Mustang, this engine was an ideal combination that suited the character of the car. Even in its base variants with a single dual barrel carburetor and 200 HP output, this small 289 V8 engine provided an impressive performance to the iconic Mustang. Ford recognized the potential of this engine and upgraded it to a 221 HP. Next, they produced the 271 HP and then the legendary 289 HiPo, or High Power version. The HiPo 289 was a factory-tuned engine that featured the same displacement but with tougher internals, an intake system, and a four-barrel carburetor.

The 271 HP provided a lively performance in the Mustang GT; however, the ultimate 289 came in 1965, thanks to the famous Carroll Shelby. The Shelby American company built a racing Mustang called the Shelby GT350. Under the hood was a race-ready 289 engine with a totally different intake, cylinder heads and pistons that delivered 306 HP from 4.7 liters.

The final year for the 289 Mustang was in 1968 when Ford replaced it with more modern engines. Over the years, Ford has produced millions of those small but powerful engines that have become a favorite with Mustang owners. Ford still makes the parts and aftermarket components for the 289 V8 today.


From the inception of the small block Cobra, Carroll Shelby intended to build a race version of his lightweight roadster; its ultimate iteration was the 289 FIA roadster. While the original Cobra’s lithe athleticism remains evident, the 289 FIA – with a widened track and wider, racing-specific rubber – adds a heightened muscularity to the race car’s quicker acceleration and tenacious grip.

The 289 FIA Cobra car dominated tracks throughout the 1960s, defeating Jaguar, Corvette, Aston and Ferrari on the tight road courses. While a fastback version – the Daytona coupe – was created for high speed European tracks, the reliable small block roadsters also helped win North American races and the 1965 FIA Manufacturer's Championship. It was the competitive foundation on which the Shelby legend was built.

Available in fiberglass and aluminum, the current line of 289 FIA Cobras are built with the same body and chassis as in 1964 with a few components updated for safety and reliability.

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Small Block, Big Power: Shelby Engine's 525 HP All-Aluminum 289

By Jonathan Bergman


The Shelby 289 is not just a new version of the old Ford 289 casting but a custom designed and beefed up unit in 356 T6 aluminum.

The Ford 289 HiPo K-Code engine served as the basis for a multitude of Ford and Shelby performance road going and race cars in the 1960's. Variants of the GT350, Cobra, and GT40 all had 289s and took outright wins and podium finishes in races such as Riverside, Sebring, Daytona, Le Mans, and others. The engine continues to be a popular choice for kit cars, restomods, and any other place big horsepower is needed in a small package. But with the engine out of production for a number of years, and junkyard stock getting thinner by the day, other options are in order.

Enter the Carroll Shelby Engine Company. Started by ole' Shelby himself to manufacture and build engines for new build Cobras and Daytonas, the company makes brand new 289s even more potent than the original.

The Shelby 289 Engine

The Shelby 289 is not just a new version of the old Ford 289 casting but a custom designed and beefed up unit in 356 T6 aluminum with structural reinforcements throughout the block. Shelby offers the 289 in several different sizes and states of tune so there's one for your mild mannered 1965 Mustang coupe or a full tilt 1963 Shelby Cobra FIA. At the top rung of the Shelby 289 ladder is their Stage II kit with 525 hp unit swinging 364 cubic inches.

And ...

Shelby starts with his aluminum block and stuffs it with a stroker crank made of 4340 forged steel, 5.4" H-beam rods, and Mahle 4032 power pack pistons. It's fitted with a hydraulic roller cam, double roller timing chain, 8 quart oil pan, Melling racing oil pump, MSD Pro Billet distributor, and high flow aluminum water pump. The top end has a pair of aluminum Shelby heads built by Air Flow Research, roller rockers, and 5/16th push rods. And it's all topped off by a period correct Cobra aluminum intake manifold and Holley carburetor.

What Can I Do With It?

What can't you do with it?! With it's short deck height and full compatibility with 289/302 series engines it'll fit in any application where those powerplants are used. And it is perhaps the engine of choice for a Cobra kit car. The cost of entry is a relatively steep $27,699 but you get the peace of mind knowing it comes from the Shelby Engine Company and can no doubt sing well past it's advertised redline. Buckle up.

Source: Carroll Shelby Engine Co.


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About The Author
Jonathan Bergman (545 Articles Published)

Born and bred New Yorker, bon vivant and raconteur. Traveled extensively throughout the continental U.S. While I used to street race in my 1971 Boss 351 Mustang, I now take pleasure hypermiling in my Honda Insight, tending to my garden, reading, cooking and audiophilia.

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