It’s been said that when it comes to building a performance engine there’s no replacement for displacement. That’s the theory that John Beck at Pro Machine felt fit the needs of our Hot Rod Hauler perfectly, and we’re not about to argue.

Over the years we’ve done an eclectic selection of project engines with John, including a 998cc Mini motor, flathead Fords, blown and naturally aspirated Hemis and who knows how many small-block Chevys. We’ve learned to listen when John offers advice, his engines have served us well, not to mention he’s the guy who built the horsepower required to make the number 911 Cummins-Beck-Davidson-Thornsberry/Pro Machine Blown Fuel Roadster run over 300 mph at Bonneville (setting a record of 301.15 mph).

When we explained our goal for the Hot Rod Hauler, a truck that can haul a load, pull a trailer and not get any worse mileage than the original 460, he responded with two words, “stroker motor.” Over the years John had put together a number of truck engines destined for such duty and discovered that, properly equipped, an efficient big-inch, long-stroke engine would provide the performance needed, while often being more economical than the smaller displacement engine it replaced, so we began to map out a strategy.

Our engine will be based on a 460 block bored .030-inch oversize and stuffed with an Eagle crank from Summit Racing that increases the stroke a whopping 4½ inches; Eagle H-beam rods and forged Mahle pistons are also part of the package.

The 460 was one of Ford’s 385 engine family. It’s said the 385 reference comes from the length of the 460’s stroke, 3.850-inches (the 429 had a 3.59-inch arm). These engines are also referred to as Limas, as the plant that produced them was in Lima, Ohio. Introduced in 1968, the 460 was used to haul around the Lincoln land yachts and the 429 version went into Thunderbirds. These engines would also be produced as a 370-incher used in medium-duty trucks and a 514 that was sold as a crate motor.

Whatever you call it, the 460 had a long production run, particularly for Ford standards. It eventually replaced the FEs that went out of production in ’76. Over the years, the 460 was Ford’s go-to big-block and could be found in cars, trucks and many motorhomes. They were also popular engines for marine use. Production of the 460 ended in ’97 with the fuel-injected version found in trucks.

During the 460’s life span, blocks were cast in three different foundries. The origin of the block can be determined by the casting mark at the back of the block next to the tapped hole for the oil-pressure sender. CCP stands for the Cleveland Foundry, DIF for Dearborn Foundry and MCC is Flat Rock Foundry in Michigan.

While the basic block remained the same during its production life, there were some subtle differences. Through ’71 the deck height was 10.300 inches; from ’72 on, the decks were 10.322 inches. The increase drops the pistons in the cylinders at TDC and was to lower compression to meet emerging federal emissions guidelines.

Ford made a number of other revisions to the 460 block over the years and they were identified with numbers and letters that were cast into the block. A block can be found marked with: C8VE-A, C9VE-A, DOVE-A, D1VE-A2A, D1VE-A2B, and D9TE. (These codes don’t indicate when the block was made, the date code for each block is in the valley under the intake manifold.) The differences aren’t always clear. Blocks marked C8VE, C9VE, DOVE and some D1VE blocks have thinner notched pan rails than others. A very desirable block is the DOVE-A, as it had thicker main webbing to allow for the factory four-bolt main caps. It should be noted that not all these blocks did in fact have four-bolt mains, but they could be added easily.