1963 Lincoln 430 by Barnett High Performance

Barnett High Performance shows us a custom MEL 430 build

Barnett High Performance built this 1963 430 for a local guy that wanted to do a lot of driving and cruising, have the newest technology available, and have tons of power but was on a tight budget.

We are unique in the fact that we design not only crate engine specific for the customers needs and wants but also rebuilds. This takes a little more time but ensures the customer gets what they are looking for. We determined this custom needed a stage 2 performance rebuild, electronic distributor upgrade, hydraulic roller camshaft upgrade and Holley sniper EFI.

Our first step on one of these builds is tear down, clean and inspect all part to be reused and re-machined for catastrophic damage. In this case we determined that the rods were out of round the crank needed to be turned and the rocker shafts were worn too much. Machining performed not pictured, bake blast and magnafluxed for cracks and pressure test block.

30% of all these old blocks are bad proved by either magnufluxing or pressure testing but we have to do both. If the engine is getting used for high power we also sonic test the bores for thickness. Check decks for flat and square, check main caps for straight and size. MEL engine tend to have loose main caps. Bore and hone to minimum over size but making sure the bores are rounds and straight. We want to make sure there are more rebuilds left in the future. Clean and scrub out all passages and bores.

  • Heads for stage 2
    Bake blast and mag for cracks
    Seats and guides as needed only
    High performance valve job (5 angle)
    Bowl blend and short turn porting
    Machine for positive locking valve seals
    Oversized stainless valves
    Install springs appropriate for what cam we are using in this case our own custom stage 2 hydraulic roller
    Chrome moly retainers and new locks
    Intake baked blasted and magnafluxed for cracks.

Now to the clean room!


Check all bores to piston to determine piston to wall clearance.


Determine with rod bolt stretch gauge what torque on rod bolts will be needed.


Check crank sizes and compare to what main bearings and rod bearings installed measure.


Install cam bearings and new hydraulic roller camshaft

Install cam bearings and new hydraulic roller camshaft.


Install timing cover, top timing gear, cam button and determine appropriate cam thrust.
This is different then the hydraulic flat tappet procedures as a roller camshaft has nothing to keep it in place without the button. The design of a standard hydraulic cam pulls the cam back in the block so there is no need for the button.


Getting ready to install.
We lube the bearings with red assembly lube and then we oil the rings generously. Notice the marks on the pistons to make sure they line up with the rod and bearing correctly. MEL pistons have a right side and left side of the engine and rods and pistons must be pressed on correctly.


Finished short block tightened and torqued.


Degreeing the camshaft. Notice cam button.


MEL engines must have the appropriate pistons for the corresponding cylinder heads.


Oil pump installed.
We run a zero by pass filter on break in so we can cut it open and check it out.We also run a power steering pump eliminator on the dyno so we don’t have to worry about burning up the pump.


Brass fitting work with our dyno oil pressure sensor.


Oil pan installed.
Notice our stainless bolt kit for these engines.


Roller rockers installed and custom length push rods.


Notice something missing?
We cut off and weld up the top on the timing cover when we build EFI engines because they will require an electric fuel pump. So no need for the fuel pump tower and it cleans up the engine nice!


Test run and dyno day!
This engine made 399hp and 500tq on our dyno. These 430 engines made in the 225hp range with factory tune or 260hp with our tune. This is different than gross rated power as this is real world actual flywheel data.


Installed in the car by All-Tech Automotive in Laingsburg just down the road from us.
They do great work on these Mercury Edsel Lincolns!

To wrap this up – Barnett High Performance offers a $500 discount on any new engine or rebuild to Suicide Slabs members so contact them for your next engine build!  Hope you enjoyed seeing this engine build!