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Turbo Ford 300 I6 Flirts With 1,000 HP in 9-Second Fairmont Wagon

We really shouldn't be surprised by the Ford 300 at this point, but it just keeps getting better.
Keith Lopez / Foxrod Performance

I love the Ford 300 and you can check me on that. It’s a do-it-all workhorse that’ll help you haul a million pounds of gravel in a single season or jet you down a drag strip in no time with the right mods. Keith Lopez of Foxrod Racing has built a wicked one that beats all the others I’ve seen, and even though it’s already making around 1,000 horsepower at the flywheel, he isn’t done yet.

The built inline-six resides in the engine bay of Lopez’s Ford Fairmont wagon. It ended up there after the car’s old twin-turbo small-block Ford V8 was pulled and sold to fund his race shop. Lopez daily drives a Bullnose F-150 with the same engine and even it’s running a turbo from an old Cat diesel, so he decided to put one in his drag car for fun. As you can tell, that’s gone exceptionally well.

“Since I felt the need to go drag racing again but didn’t have the money, I decided to build a better version of the 300 six-cylinder and keep the cost down somewhat,” Lopez told me over email.

The block is from 1965 and it’s been sleeved for peace of mind. Lopez was able to source a relatively rare steel crankshaft from a local engine builder, and then, he scored a set of Molnar rods that have proven plenty capable of handling boost. The pistons are old-school TRWs that Lopez found on eBay and that’s mostly it for the bottom end. Since the Ford 300 already has seven main caps, it’s inherently well-suited for big power applications.

You’ll still find the stock head installed, albeit with a slick port job for better flow. It’s torqued down with 7/16-inch ARP head studs and inside, Lopez has done a fair amount of work. He built a custom cam sync to go with the upgraded cam, improved the water outlets, and worked up his own lifter cover. There’s a set of Comp Cams valve springs in there for good measure and a Fel Pro 1024 head gasket makes the seal.

Finally, boost comes from an 80-millimeter VS Racing turbo. That’s a right-sized whirler as it’s made as much as 43 psi in Lopez’s Fairmont while also spooling super quickly. An Accufab 75-millimeter throttle body helps supply fuel to the 210-pound injectors, which are apparently maxed out in this state of tune.

Lopez tells me he never expected the Ford 300 to make huge power. He showed up to Rocky Mountain Race Week in June 2023 and ran 10.6 seconds in the 1/4-mile with a lot of wheelspin, which surprised him in a big way.

“The problem was I had too small of injectors. They were good for 700 hp, [and] I clearly underestimated the engine’s potential,” Lopez explained. “Next day, I drove the 3,300-pound wagon to Denver to run at Bandimere where we ran a 10.40 at 9,000 feet of altitude. That was a shocker.”

Everything escalated from there. Lopez estimated the inline-six was making between 600 and 700 hp at the flywheel around this time, so he took it to a dyno. That’s where the Fairmont matched those numbers at the tires through a Ford C6 transmission and a 9.5-inch ring gear. With all that drivetrain loss, they calculated the engine was making roughly 880 hp at the flywheel on 32 psi of boost.

The next trip to the drag strip resulted in the wagon “peeling the doors off” the truck in the other lane. It hustled to a 9.65-second 1/4-mile time on that run and after some tuning adjustments, it finally hit its best time of 9.31 seconds. “The car just ran out of rpm before the 1/8-mile at 6,900 rpm and just stayed steady,” Lopez recounts. “I figured it would have been a high 8s pass by the 1/8-mile numbers. So we calculated we made 200 more horsepower with 10 more pounds of boost that set the engine well over 1000 hp.” 

Larger injectors are next on the list, along with upgraded gaskets and o-rings to see how it hands 50 pounds of boost—or more—next year.

“I’ve run everything under the sun as far as engines go and the 300 just is a shocker to me,” Lopez says. “It is super cheap, fun horsepower that you don’t have to be rich to go fast with.”

What’s not to love, folks?

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