Straight 6 or 289 for a daily driver?

Mystang66

New Member
Jul 23, 2011
17
0
2
Minneapolis, MN
I am restoring a 66 Mustang to be a daily driver. The car was originally a 6 cylinder, but I am upgrading to all V8 suspenion and steering and disc brakes.

Now to my question, I have the option of rebuilding the original straight 6 or buying a 66 289 C code with a Holley 4 Barrel carb that only has 82,000 original miles. This is going to be a daily driver. What is the best option to go with?

If I go with the 289, how can I improve the gas mileage? Upgraded edual exhaust? Electronic ignition and upgraded distributor? Upgrade the air filter? Any other suggestions?

Either engine will be paired with a rebuilt C4 transmission. May go with an AOD if I can find one in good mechanical shape worth the price.
 
  • Sponsors(?)


rbohm

SN Certified Technician
Apr 12, 2002
6,544
514
204
60
tucson,az
more and more guys are building six cylinder engines for daily drivers. and why not? done right the six can make a decent amount of power, and still turn in 25-30mpg on regular gas. the only drawback is that unless you are going with a manual transmission, or an 81-83 3.3L or any 250 block, you wont be able to use an overdrive trans at this time.

before you buy that 289, check out these sites;

Ford Six Performance Home/Index

Classic Inlines Performance Parts - Home

fordsix has tech articles and some good information on the forums, and classicinlines has more tech articles and performance parts including headers, cams, and even an aluminum head that was designed from the ground up. they also provide services like taking your stock log head and improving the performance of it.

and while you can make more power with the 289, understand this, a 200 with a modified log head can make about 200hp. doesnt sound like much especially since the 289 does that stock with a 2bbl carb. however, with the six your combination will be about 150lbs lighter than a V8 powered car, and have better balance, and if you decide to enter the car in a show, it will likely draw MORE attention than a tricked out V8.

one more thing, the six is extremely hard to kill, like trying to break an anvil with a sledge hammer.
 

Realmongo

I prefer to be called "Evil Genius"
Founding Member
Oct 10, 2001
2,279
32
99
Western Mass
I second rbohm on the unsung virtues of the Ford Six. It will make a nice driver with the upgrades you have in store for the rest of the car.
 

Hack

15 Year Member
Mar 23, 2004
1,945
12
69
Minneapolis
The 6 or 289 are both fine. I personally would do a GT-40 302 from a '96 Exploder. Better power, you can go with a roller cam, 1 piece rear main seal, probably pay less for something in better condition as well. If you decide to rebuild it you can drop in an affordable 347 stroker kit. I would also do an AOD as you mentioned. That will be the biggest thing for better mileage if you drive a lot of highway miles.
 

RDWilley

New Member
Jun 2, 2011
19
0
1
You can't go wrong with either one. I've had both. A 65 I6 and a 66 289 convt. The I6 is darn near indistructable. I put nearly 60,000 miles on it in L.A. traffic and gave it to my daughter when she turned I6. If anyone could distroy it she could. I wish I had it now. My 289 has never seen a gas station it didn't like.

Good luck with your project.
 

Couped Up

Member
Feb 3, 2010
92
4
8
Monroe, Washington
All good advice! I guess it really depends on how you want to drive it? You can bump the fuel consumption with an EFI like Holley's "Pro-Jection", or do the later model roller motor, as mentioned above. Good luck with your difficult decision!

:shrug:
 

65ShelbyClone

Founding Member
Sep 9, 2000
4,597
21
109
Antelope Valley, SoCal
Since "daily driver" and "improve the gas mileage" were mentioned, I'll cast my vote for a six. Not necessarily the 200, but a six of some kind. I have thought for a while that one of the later V6s would be interesting.
 

Hack

15 Year Member
Mar 23, 2004
1,945
12
69
Minneapolis
Since "daily driver" and "improve the gas mileage" were mentioned, I'll cast my vote for a six. Not necessarily the 200, but a six of some kind. I have thought for a while that one of the later V6s would be interesting.
Good thought. I had a 250 6 in my '70 originally. It was fine for driving around. I put a 302 from a 91 Mustang in there - it made a lot more power but it's obviously heavier when you go to turn corners. A 300 six would be a good way to go even though they didn't come originally in our cars. More power and modern EFI options if you wanted to go that way. Of course - more power = worse gas mileage so it's a decision. You can't have everything.
 

65ShelbyClone

Founding Member
Sep 9, 2000
4,597
21
109
Antelope Valley, SoCal
The 300s get decent economy in the fullsize trucks. What I had in mind was something like a '94+ Mustang "Cologne" 3.8 or even a 60° pushrod Explorer "Essex" 4.0L. The pushrod 4.0L is definitely a truck engine, though, so expect lots of torque at the expense of power. I suppose a Ranger/Bronco II 3.0L is another option, but I think they're gutless pigs, at least in the trucks.
 

rbohm

SN Certified Technician
Apr 12, 2002
6,544
514
204
60
tucson,az
efi isnt hard to put on an inline six either. megasquirt builds the computers, you build the wiring harness, and putting a tempo throttle body on the stock head, or even three tempo throttle bodies, ala the offenhauser 3x1bbl conversion. with a little thought and a few parts you can even put port injection on the old inline 200.
 

Rmoore45

Member
Jun 5, 2011
142
0
17
I would say go for the 289, build the engine for economy instead of power. Even with the 289 built for economy, you will still get more horsepower and TORQUE than the I6. With the suspension put together right it will handle great, my '67 with a 289 handles and stock suspension ride fairly well.
 

dennis112

10 Year Member
May 15, 2005
1,502
20
69
Amish Wonderland of Central PA.
I once had a V8 chassis'd car that I stuck a 200ci with a 3.03 3 speed manual in it. Used a 3.25 ring and pinion in the 8" rear. It was a very dependable car and it handled great plus the V8 drum brakes worked exceptionally well. It got 25mpg on the highways. Probably would have been better if it had the lighter V8 suspension/brakes/rear.

I took that one to Italy for 3 years and thought nothing of running it with the pedal to the medal on the autostrata. Once drove from southern to northern Italy for 7 hours straight at full speed (92-96mph, depending on the terrain with only gas and pee stops) and the car never got hot nor whimpered. Also made the return trip that way too.
 

ackjlo

New Member
Jul 22, 2011
8
0
0
The 250 6 cyl . has lots of power. I was working for a ford dealership when they came out. I "road tested" one with a 4 speed and snapped the diff pinion right off during a power shift
 

2+2GT

Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2009
3,333
8
59
Southeastern Pennsylvania
I am restoring a 66 Mustang to be a daily driver. The car was originally a 6 cylinder, but I am upgrading to all V8 suspension and steering and disc brakes.
Wasted money. You can use the GT springs, shocks, 1" sway bar, and "Arning/Shelby drop" on the six without replacing the rear axle and front suspension.

Now to my question, I have the option of rebuilding the original straight 6 or buying a 66 289 C code with a Holley 4 Barrel carb that only has 82,000 original miles. This is going to be a daily driver. What is the best option to go with?
A stone-stock 200/C4 can give you 25 mpg. If you use a T5 5-speed, better than that.

If I go with the 289, how can I improve the gas mileage? Upgraded dual exhaust? Electronic ignition and upgraded distributor? Upgrade the air filter? Any other suggestions?
A stock distributor, with professional adjustment of the advance curves, and Pertronix I ignition is the most you need. The duals, and air cleaner will help, of course.

Either engine will be paired with a rebuilt C4 transmission. May go with an AOD if I can find one in good mechanical shape worth the price.
The C4 is excellent, but you could go with the AOD later as an upgrade.
 

cnkennedy

New Member
Jun 30, 2011
5
0
0
Hi!

I would definately go with the 289. I converted my parents' '65 from a 200 to a 289 about two years ago, and the 289 is a totally different car---much more powerful of course, and the other changes make the car feel much better "planted" on the road, as well, as an additional benefit. The parents went through two 200 cubic inch engines, and both engines were rough at idle, pretty unimpressive power-wise and would burn a lot of oil beginning early in their careers.

/s/ Chris Kennedy:flag: