In the early days of American muscle ruling the street and strip, there were few words that struck more magic in a gearhead's heart than the mention of someone running a blown 392 Chrysler. The first series of Chrysler Hemi-head engines were held in such high esteem that young and old alike would do just about anything to get their hands on one. For '50s and '60s kids, the hot ticket was to buy an AMT 1/25th-scale '32 Ford model just to get a hold of the blown Chrysler engine it included.
For Larry "The Muffler Man" Taylor of Chattaroy, Washington, it wasn't AMT's '32 Ford car model that inspired him to stuff a blown Chrysler into his '55 Ford Courier, but rather a history dating back to '58 when he ran his first blown Chrysler-powered dragster. When it came time for Larry to detune the 392 Hemi to adapt it to his '55 Ford sedan delivery project, he contacted renowned Chrysler Hemi guru Gene Adams for a little advice on how to tame the blown beast. The first thing Gene did was refer Larry to Engle Cams to acquire a hydraulic grind that works real well for 392s. A little bit of a Hemi guru himself, Larry incorporated a few of his own tricks into the iconic Mopar motor. For the oiling and ignition system, Larry adapted a 340 oil pump and a late-model Chrysler electronic ignition. He told us, "You're not going to believe this, but I used cast pistons with 9.5:1 compression to plug .030-over cylinders (the key word is cast)." One thing that did not come as a surprise was that the Muffler Man fabricated his own headers and exhaust pipes for the '55.
Thanks to a Rochester Quadrajet carburetor perched on top of the Hampton blower with a Cragar intake manifold, the '55 gets relatively impressive gas mileage. Larry told us that he averaged over 16 mpg driving the Ford to the Spokane Goodguys show and around town while there. Larry also attributed the good mileage to the 3.70:1 gears the '55 came with in its original Y-block 272 with a Fordomatic transmission (as an aside, it's interesting to note that stick-shift Couriers came equipped standard with a 4.11:1 rearend).
One of the '55 Ford passenger car's weak spots was the front suspension-weak as in it didn't take much of a hit to tear the control-arm pickup points right out of the frame. Larry eliminated this problem while clearing the way for the 392 Hemi by crafting his own version of a Mustang II frontend. For brakes, Larry stuck with the stock Ford units, but he opted for a '68 Cad Eldo tilt and telescopic steering column to guide the '55.