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Red Rocket: Side Oiler-Powered ’68 Fastback

Side Oiler-Powered Mustang Fastback

By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, BringaTrailer.com

A C-code 1968 Ford Mustang Fastback has always been a pretty sweet ride, but the two-barrel 302 didn’t quite cut the mustard when compared to the four-barrel HiPo K-code. So the C-code Fastback was more of a stylish daily driver than a real stoplight superstar, but as you can already tell, this pony car has long left its two-barrel commuting days behind it. Fit with genuine 427 Side-Oiler V8 back in 1973, this Mustang has Le Mans blood coursing through its veins, and is ready to rule the streets once again after its next worthy jockey rouses it from its 10-year hibernation. Check it out here on BringaTrailer.com.

The 427 Side-Oiler engine needs no introduction with this crowd, but as a quick refresher, we’ll remind you that this mill is damn near the top dog in terms of blue-oval performance, bested only by the 427 SOHC. It’s one of just a handful of pushrod V8 engines Ford ever made strictly for performance, and was available from 1963 until the early 1970s as a special order option on select models, or from the parts desk. Compression ratios from 10.9 to 13.6:1 were offered, and the later option came with dual four-barrel carburetors and offered a staggering 550+ hp in stock trim.

The venerable Side-Oiler designation came about to improve oil flow to crank for prolonged high-rpm use. The original, top-oiler version, would send oil to the valvetrain first, while the Side-Oiler uses a new oil passage along the side of the block to oil the crank, then the cam and finally the valvetrain.

But of course this engine would have never been available in the Mustang, and despite decades of rumored 427 FE Mustangs, no original examples have ever been documented. Where the second owner of this Mustang was able to score the 427, we’ll never know, but he’s managed to build the side-oiling ’68 Mustang of our dreams. He installed the engine roughly in 1973, and it features dual Holley 650-cfm carburetors, a 10-quart oil pan, a Cobra air-cleaner cover and special Le Mans Cobra valve covers. The seller states that the car was only used for a few thousand miles since the swap, and the engine last ran around 10 years ago. The seller advises some basic maintenance before attempting to start the car, but it’s likely worthwhile to do a more complete service with such a valuable engine.

The builder threw a couple other mods at the Mustang to support the 427, including slapper bars on the rear, a Detroit locker, a T-handle shifter, column-mounted tachometer and 14-inch E-T slot mag wheels with Road Hugger tires.

It’s hard to say what the Mustang will bring, and whether the new owner will restore the car to its previous street fighter configuration, or sell the engine for profit. Personally, I’d love to see this one live to fight another day.

Check out the Side-Oiler Mustang here on BringaTrailer.com.

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