Windsor Valve Covers

A Sampling of the Crowning Touch

Selecting the right valve covers as the crowning touch for an engine project is no easy task, particularly if the engine is a Windsor. The popularity of the Mustang 5.0 engine has resulted in an explosion of options. Setting goals can narrow the range of choices. The goals for this project are:
  • A tie to the engine builder or manufacturer of significant parts (if a logo is used)
  • A tie to Cobra heritage
  • A tie to engine design
  • Strong visual impact

In this case, the engine is a 427 cubic inch Windsor built by RDI based on the Ford Racing Z-block and Edelbrock heads and intake.

It is not the intent here to select the best valve covers for everyone. The intent is to show some of what is available and walk through a thought process that will undoubtedly produce different results for different folks with different tastes and objectives.

Small Block Valve Covers

When most people think Windsor, they think small block. When you think small block Windsor and Cobra, the first thought is the finned aluminum COBRA valve covers that adorned the small block Cobras. These get an A+ for heritage.

These valve covers definitely say small block and say it well, but the engine design point here is "big block".

427 FE Valve Covers

For many, the ultimate 427 Cobra valve covers are the chromed stamped steel pent roof valve covers adorned with the "427 Cobra" fender badges as shown here on CSX3038.

These certainly meet the heritage goal. Although the bolt pattern is for FE heads, they can be used on to Windsor heads with an adapter.

A great look and a good choice.

Note the lack of breathers. The FE breather is on the rear of the intake manifold valley cover. Some of these valve covers have breathers on the valve covers, important in a Windsor installation.

Another popular choice for the 427 Cobra fans is the Ford Racing pent roof finned aluminum COBRA LE MANS valve covers.

These FE covers, shown on Terry Lee's RDI 427 Windsor (SP 1560), have been adapted to the Windsor heads using an adapter plate from Olthoff Racing. If you look below the left edge of the valve cover, you can see the adapter plate. The adapter plate bolts to the heads and the valve covers bolt to the adapter plate.

Contact Olthoff Racing

Dan Matilla's SP 1122 runs  a 427 FE with sand cast pent roof finned aluminum COBRA 427 valve covers.

Combined with the four 4 IDA 48 Weber carbs, the look is awesome.

Performance Unlimited has a similar pent roof finned aluminum COBRA valve covers. Although shaped like the FE valve covers, they have a Windsor bolt pattern and can be bolted directly to the Windsor heads.

Shown on Chuck Kendall's Weber powered SP 1591.

Contact Performance Unlimited

Logo Valve Covers

Edelbrock provide the heads and intake manifold for this engine and would be a good choice for logo valve covers.

The Edelbrock Classic is a beautiful 1950's and 1960's finned aluminum design. As a period piece, it is designed without breathers. They would be terrific on a vintage hot rod, however the design is not associated with Cobras.

The Edelbrock Elite is modern design with a simulated two piece design. As a modern design, it includes breathers. This modern design is not typically associated with Cobra's.
Holman Moody is a name clearly associated with Ford, Cobra, and GT-40 racing successes.

These attractive sand cast aluminum valve covers have a shape similar to the Ford Cobra Le Mans valve covers. However, these fit Windsor heads. They carry the distinctive Holman Moody logo.

An excellent choice with a strong historical link.

Shown on Hal Copple's Great Stroker (SP 672).

The Ford Racing E302 valve covers, shown on SP 218, are standard on most of the high end Ford Racing Windsor crate engines. They are wide and tall and easily fit most high lift cams and rocker configurations. They have the necessary breathers and baffles. They are lightweight die cast and are fully polished or chromed.

The same valve covers are available plain or with other logos such as TFS.

Engine builders such as Roush and RDI custom engrave the plain ones with their logos.

The Answer Please

The answer here is something with the elegant simplicity of the chromed steel pent roof valve covers. Something that says Cobra and 427.  Something that honors the engine builder.

The Ford Racing E302 valve covers are close, but start with the plain version. Add the Raceparts logo. Add the 427 Cobra fender badges in the appropriate location to tie in the Cobra heritage and big block displacement. And there we have it.  A design reminiscent of the original 427 Cobra valve covers, but works with the Windsor engine.

Contact RDI