The Ford Y-block V8 never achieved the popularity of the Ford flathead or the small block Chevy, but it did set a few performance standards back in the day and is still revered by many Ford enthusiasts. Named for its unique Y-shaped cylinder block with the crankshaft centerline located well above the bottom of the block, the Y-block remains a nostalgic favorite for many Ford enthusiasts. Author James Eickman’s Y-block book is one of the older books in the Motorbooks International performance library. First printed in 1984 it has served a lengthy and useful purpose for car guys favoring mid-fifties Fords. As such, its production values are not up to Motorbooks exceptionally high contemporary publishing standards. The B&W photos are murky and way too dark to pick out much detail, but dedicated readers will forgive that small displeasure to gain the surprisingly thorough body of knowledge presented in the text and charts. This book probably represents too small a volume to warrant a modern-day full-color re-pop that would likely not be profitable. No doubt it would be highly prized by some, but it is unlikely that we’ll see that occur any time soon. Still, hardcore Y-block enthusiasts will applaud Motorbooks for keeping it in circulation and making sure the critical information is still available for those who need it.
Eickman is remarkably thorough in presenting the history and prevailing engine design philosophy present at Ford in the mid-fifties. He identifies the design goals and the intended course of refinement and then presents a complete description of all the various Y-blocks, including detailed specs and compatibility information. This includes a full breakdown of the different Ford cars and trucks powered by Y-blocks. Produced over a 9-year span, the Y-block was delivered in five different engine sizes ranging from the 239 cubic inch introductory version in 1954 to the 312 cubic inch engines used in 1956-57 models. Each version is described and the differences are highlighted. Eickman provides characteristic details about such things as the unique over and under cylinder head ports and matching intake manifold ports.
Readers intending to use this book as a guide to parts selection and compatibility are well served. The parts descriptions, casting numbers, cam specs, and cylinder head specs are all there to help a reader plan his Y-block engine build. A complete assembly sequence is also laid out for readers to follow with how-to descriptions and illustrations of all the minor details that ensure a successful build. The exploded drawings are of particular interest for the novice builder as they show the layout of the entire engine. Engine and cylinder head identification numbers are specified to help readers identify parts at the salvage yard. Eickman’s approach is thorough and straightforward, allowing even the first time engine builder to feel comfortable. Original service bulletins are also included, but due to the near thirty year period since the book’s publication, there is no source guide to steer readers to present day specialty suppliers. Y-block specialists are still out there and you can find performance parts to some degree. The book is no help in this regard, but it more than makes up for it with its depth of information and a comprehensive build guide. It may not be pretty, but the stuff between the covers is solid reliable information you can depend on if you’re a Y-block builder.
- Paperback: 120 pages
- Publisher: Motorbooks
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 087938185X
- ISBN-13: 978-0879381851
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