*NOTE* The 429 was NOT simply a 1 (or 2) cubic inch larger version of the Ford 427 & 428 engines. It was a COMPLETELY NEW engine from a different engine family!
The Ford 385 engine family (the name coming from the 3.85 inch crankshaft stroke of the 460 V-8) was the Ford Motor Company's final big block V-8 engine design, replacing the Ford MEL engine and gradually superseding the Ford FE engine family. This design was a departure from the paradigm, utilizing thinwall casting methods and a skirtless block to reduce weight.
It was available in three sizes in production vehicles; 370 cubic inches in medium-duty trucks only, 429 cubic inches, and 460 cubic inches. A 515 cubic inch crate engine was also available from Ford SVO.
The engines were sold between 1968 and 1997. It was introduced in the Lincoln Continental (460) and Ford Thunderbird (429) in 1968 and replaced the FE in Ford's full-size cars in 1969. Production ended with the ninth generation Ford F-Series truck in the 1996/7 model year. They were manufactured at Ford's Lima Engine plant at Lima, Ohio. This manufacturing line replaced the Ford MEL engine line in the Lima plant. The FE engines, manufactured in Dearborn, continued in production but saw reduced applications and volume as the 385 engine gradually took over in the Ford line up. The FE went out of production in 1976, leaving the 385 as the only big block. The 370 replaced the 361 FE in 1978 and the 429 replaced the Super Duty (401/477/534) engines in 1982.
Besides service in large luxury cars in the 1970s and in trucks throughout its life, the 385 series engine was also popular in motorhomes, marine, and industrial applications. Over 50 varieties were produced in any given year.
As with the FE line of engines, Ford also offered Cobra Jet, Cobra Jet - RamAir, and Super Cobra Jet versions of the 429. The Cobra Jet, rated at 370 HP, was equipped with a Rochester Quadrajet 700 cfm 4 BBL carburetor, larger camshaft, 11.3:1 compression ratio and a special set of cylinder heads. It was available with or without a hood scoop, and came with a 3.25 rear axle ratio. The Cobra Jet - RamAir came with the shaker scoop, which was attached to the engine, and a 3.50 rear axle ratio. The Super Cobra Jet, rated at 375 HP, had a 4-bolt main block, a Holley 780 cfm 4BBL carburetor, and a larger mechanical camshaft. It was only available with a 3.91 or 4.30 rear axle ratio. In 1971, the CJ engine also used a 4-bolt main block. However, these engines were actually derated and produced power in the 440–460 HP range. This was done to deceive insurance companies (common practice in that era), so that buyers did not have to pay higher insurance rates.