Just some guy
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: SC foothills, USA
Last pic in my signature is/was a "351W Police Interceptor". There wasn't a whole lot of variation in 351W's over the years. I own a fair sampling of them all, from 1969 to a roller cam 1995. The 80's "PI" ranks about the lowest. Nothing special about the block, the cam, or the "302" heads. It most likely has the variable venturi 2V carb and intake. It's basically completely uninteresting. The only thing that makes it a police engine is a "sandwich" type oil cooler that goes between the oil filter and the block.
I rebuilt mine for my truck where it had already seen about 6 years of daily driving in the truck after the cop car donated its drivetrain. Along the way it acquired E7TE mildly ported heads, headers, a Weiand stealth intake, Edelbrock carb, more cam than a parts runner truck sensibly needs. It runs great and makes pretty decent power. About any stock 351W would respond almost identically to the same treatment. The fact that it was originally built for cop car duty means nothing. There are other engines where the monicker "Police Interceptor" actually means something. Not 351's though.
69-74's had slightly more robust engine blocks and heads that weren't particularly good but were gifted with larger valves than the rest. Little work to wake one of these up.
In 1994 Ford finally gave the 351W a roller cam. And not bad heads, the E7TE's respond to porting nicely but still have smaller valves than the earliest heads.
All 75-93 351W's are basically the same. Not matter a cop car, station wagon, or whatever. The early-mid 80's saw Ford put an "HO" version into trucks, mostly 3.4 ton vans and such. HO means they had 4BBL Holley carbs and a "torque" cam ground to help get a heavy truck moving. Yawn. Picture one in my sig is one of these. Just as uninteresting as the police motor.
I like 351's, that's why I have 6 or 7 of them. The cop motor is likely as worth buying as any of them if you want a 351. Just don't pay extra because it once happened to be in a police car. I haven't noticed the cop oil pans being really sought after except by tightwads. The local chain parts store (Advance) sells plain or chromed ones for $110.
.... it wouldn't be the first time reality took theory and conjecture out behind the woodshed and gave them a good thrashing.