Is there anything more ‘hot rod’ than a performance motor stuffed into a car originally fit with a hamster wheel? Motor swaps are at the core of our hobby, and the center pin of many Speedhunters features and spotlights. Some motors get used quite often, like the LS or 2JZ, and commonly work incredibly well. But these re-powers aren’t always the most exciting.
That’s not to say I don’t like both, and I find no fault in anyone who puts an LS in anything. I just like being confused when I look under the hood of a car.
On that note, I am totally comfortable admitting that when I looked under the hood of this Thames Panel I was plenty confused. I found the Ford stamping easily enough, but I wasn’t at all familiar with this particular V8.
The Ford fans among us have likely already identified it by the intake runners, but for the rest this 235hp engine is usually found under the hood of a third generation Taurus SHO.
Originally mounted horizontally, positioning it longitudinally under the hood of a Thames required the use of a particularly large shoe horn. But, the builder, Ben Coulson, made it all work by fabricating nearly the entire engine room, and using hard lines wherever possible for fluid transfer to assist with the tight packaging. Typically fit with a transaxle, in this case the motor is backed by a Lincoln LS 5-speed transmission. This rare transmission was selected because it has the closest bell housing to the Ford block.
Under the truck, a Mustang II style suspension is used up front, and a triangulated 3-link is used in the rear. Because the large steam rollers out back didn’t afford a lot of space, a single airbag is used there, straddled by a pair of shocks.
According to Ben the setup works pretty well for everything he’s put it through thus far, but obviously the car wasn’t really built for the road course.
Because it’s a work in progress the interior is fairly sparse, but I don’t imagine it will stay this way forever. After all, Ben has to keep up with his dad, Bill.
The older Coulson owns the 400 small block-powered Ford Anglia that was parked beside Ben’s panel at the 2018 ELTA Summer Bash and Go Big Drags.
Bill calls his car “old hat”, as it was originally finished in ’92, but I’m sure you’ll all agree that it’s still pretty cool, regardless of its age.
Though they intially told me they wouldn’t, the chance for a father versus son battle at the drags wasn’t an opportunity the pair could pass up.
If you’re curious, on this occasion, father beat son. Perhaps Ben will call a best two out of three?