1) do you believe a high performance Cleveland needs a custom cam?
Maybe not 'custom,' but a modern grind for sure! The fuel you get at the pump today is very different from what was available in 1970. And your cam, heads, carb, intake, and exhaust all work together as a system. Select a cam spec, whether custom or off the shelf, that's optimized for your system AND how you intend to use the car.
2) who would you get to grind it?
When I built the 383C stroker for my Pantera some years ago, I went with Ken at Oregon Cam Grinding (Cam Grinding, Camshafts, Racing & Performance Equipment
). He's been racing Fords for decades and knows his stuff. Bullitt cams is also highly respected.
And now a few other thoughts...
The most important thing is to define what you want - in terms of how you will use the car. Not, "I’m shooting for a 500hp in my 383 stroker — streetble car." Be specific! How will you REALLY use the car? Do you just want a big lumpy cam and horsepower bragging rights when you go to your local Cars and Coffee? Or do you plan to turn it into a track car? And will it be used for drag, slalom or road racing? Or, will it be a street car? Torque is king on the street. Your cam grinder will take all of these considerations into account, along with your transmission and gearing, to make the best possible recommendation. But be honest about how you will actually use your car. I've known several people who've spent big bucks building loud lumpy engines with all kinds of horsepower bragging rights, but ruined the driveabilty (and enjoyment) of their cars.
So forget about horsepower, and define your goals. And don't mix parts and goals. Let your engine builder (and cam grinder) know what your goals are AND what parts you already have, then he can make the best recommendations. But first, clarify your goals...
(torque is king on the street.) - This is what you will feel when you take off from a red light or put your foot into it in 2nd or 3rd gear)
- Do you want a smooth idle? Or, would you prefer a lumpy pro-street wanna-be Camaro idle that makes more noise than power? I've seen several Panteras with loud, lumpy overbuilt engines with poor idle quality that lost their drivability on the street and produced dyno results LESS than 10% better than my original 100,000 mile engine produced on the dyno. That's a fail in my book.
- If you're going to use the car primarily for street driving, will you predominantly be running errands around town, to the store, dropping off and picking up kids? Or will it be only for spirited drives through country back roads? The lightweight knife edged racing crank and Centerforce aluminum flywheel in my Pantera has impacted low speed drivability - being able to idle down the street or through a parking lot. Now I need to keep the RPM's up so the car isn't "jerky." A wider LSA might have reduced the impact on low speed driveability. I've had to learn to drive my car differently than I used to.
My 383C engine:
My goal was street driveability with more power than stock. I wasn't interested in "mine's bigger than yours" horsepower claims or a lumpy pro-street idle. Driveability was key, which is why my focus was on torque - it's a street car so horsepower is arbitrary. Torque is king on the street! My Pantera spends all of it's time on the street (although I do hope to take it to a track day sometime) and only gets wound out to +6,000 RPM when I leave the metering lights (almost every time!
) to get on the freeway. My goals were 390-420 ft.lbs of torque from 2500-5500 rpm. The horsepower is whatever it is. But this is the RPM range where the engine lives 99.9% of the time, and most of that is at or under 3500 RPM.
351C guru Dan Jones on the Cleveland Engine Forums and Pantera forums recommended the following specs for my engine:
228/232 degrees duration @ 0.050" lift (280/284 @ 0.006")
68 degrees overlap
installed in the engine on a 104 intake centerline
I let Ken at Oregon Cams know how I planned to use the car and he liked the above specs, but recommended widening the LSA to 110 to improve the vacuum signal, smooth the idle a bit and broaden the torque curve. The 108 LSA requires an efficient exhaust to avoid bleeding off static compression, but I'm using stock Ansa Pantera mufflers which are very restrictive - dyno proven to rob the engine of 50 hp.
My 351C is stroked to 383 with a Scat forged rotating assembly with lightweight forged crank, forged rods, forged dished pistons (Probe). I'm using Ford Motorsport Early Block Hydraulic Roller Lifters, stock ratio (1.73) Scorpion roller rocker arms, Edelbrock Aluminum heads (ported + larger valves), stock volume oil pump, Weiand Xcelerator 2v single plane intake manifold, Holley 670 Avenger (probably too small for the engine, but can easily be changed later), Mallory Unilite distributor with a Pantera Electronics ignition. Again, my goal was street driveability with more power than stock. I wasn't interested in "mine's bigger than yours" horsepower claims. My machine shop estimates horsepower easily in the 400-450 range with this combination. I'll know for sure once when I dyno it after rebuilding it again (swallowed the intake stud which ended up in the #8 cylinder).
Anyway, focus on goals rather than parts. Let your engine builder (cam grinder) know what parts you have, and let him/her recommend the best combination of parts within your budget.