Ford 342 Review

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The Ford small block V8 appeared in many vehicles, not just in America, but worldwide. One example is the Ford 342. Let’s explore the “Tickford” V8.

The 5.6L 342 “Tickford” V8 was a small block 4.9L Windsor engine that was stroked and produced in Australia during 2001 - 2002. The joint venture between Ford and Tickford resulted in the engine being used in the T550, TE50, TL50, and the Australian version of the Falcon Ute XR8 Pursuit 250.

It is said that Americans want their cars to go fast, but the same is true for those who live down under in Australia. There is just something about the vast open skies, with roads stretching to the horizon, that beg for the gas pedal to be pressed. Better speed has always been a project for Australian automotive engineers. One of the best examples of this undying need for speed occurred in 2001 when Ford partnered with Tickford Vehicle Engineering to introduce the T3 series, including TS50, TE50, TL50, and the XR8. While the stroked out Ford 342 is very rare, it has its place in Australian automotive history. This article will explore the dynamics of the Tickford V8 and why it is a beautiful addition for classic car collectors.

Table of Contents


What Is the 5.6L Ford 342?

The Ford 5.6L 342 was a stroked-out version of the 4.9L Windsor that Tickford produced in a joint venture with Ford Australia. The high-performance engine is very rare, (only a little over 800 motors were produced). It remains one of the best, most sought-after V8 engines for car collectors today.

The engine was used in the TS50, TE50, TL50, and Falcon XR8. With 335.2 HP (250 kW) @ 5250 rpm and 369 lb/ft (500 Nm) @ 4250 rpm, the engine was a speedster posting 0 - 100 km times of 5.8 seconds (0 - 60 times were just over 5.6). The speed put it on par with the American 2001 Mustang GT. The Ford 342 engine was responsible for the fastest, naturally aspirated Falcons until the Boss Mustang 290 came out in 2003. The 5.6L engine was in production for only ten months before it was dropped in 2002, primarily for its propensity to guzzle gas and constant engine vibrations.

What Are The Specs For the 5.6L Tickford V8?

Item Specification
Displacement 5.6L
Bore Size 4 inches (101.6 mm)
Stroke 3.401 inches (86.4 mm)
Horsepower 335 HP (250 kW)
Torque 369 lb.ft (500 Nm)
Firing Order 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8
Compression Ratio 9.6:1
Block Cast iron
Head composition Cast iron
Fuel Injection Multi-point electric
Cylinder head Modified GT40P (2 valves per cylinder)
Transmission 5-speed manual Tremec 3650
4-speed automatic BTR M97LE
Throttle Body Diameter 3.2 inches (82 mm)
Spark Plugs Platinum
0 - 60 mph times 5.7 seconds
0 - 100 km 5.8 seconds
Quarter mile time 13.38 seconds @ 102.3 mph (164.6 kmh)

What Created the Need for the 5.6L Tickford V8?

During the late eighties and early nineties, Ford Australia was challenged by HSV (Holden Special Vehicle). The Chevrilet-linked company was already eating into Ford’s market share with the introduction of the Commodore sedan and ever popular ClubSport. The stylish design and the athletic features began to woo away buyers who had grown tired of the Ford Falcon’s outdated looks.

Ford Australia spent an exhaustive effort in 1991 searching for a partner to design their new high-performance engines. After a worldwide search, the company chose Tickford. (Tickford had survived receivership the year before and, having been bought out by the board of directors, was hungry to reassert itself in the automotive design market). The partnership between Ford and Tickford resulted in a new joint venture called Tickford Vehicle Engineering.

Tickford is best known for its development of the XR6 and XR8 (modified Ford Falcons). In order to compete with the pressure it was feeling from HSV vehicles, Tickford threw money at its designers to come up with an engine that could push speeds up. The result was a modified 4.9L Windsor V8 OHV with a 90-degree angle and increased stroke. The result was an immediate jump in both power and performance, helping the Falcon match the HSV’s six-second 0 - 100 km track time.

One of the most significant features of this high-performance engine is that Tickford motors were hand-made. The company used great care in building the powerplants, and each engine had a nameplate indicating the engine maker.

What Vehicles Had The Tickford V8?

Though the 5.6L Tickford V8 was produced in very limited quantities, several vehicles were recipients of the engine during the 2001 - 2002 model year.

Ford Tickford Experience

The relationship between Ford Australia and Tickford developed into the manufacture of several high-performance sedans. In 1999, Ford began to modify Falcons under Ford Tickford Experience. The vehicles were labeled the TS50, TE50, and TL50 and underwent three transitions (T1, T2, and T3). While the first two iterations had the 4.9L V8, the 5.6L V8 did not appear in the sedans until 2001, with the introduction of the T3.

The primary difference between the high-performance vehicles was that the TS50 and TE50s were developed on the Falcon chassis (the TL50 was modeled more closely to the Ford Fairlane, which dictated a more extended wheelbase). The exterior had an extended racing-style look, with 18-inch Azzurro Alloy wheels. The TE50 also sported fog lights for the very first time. These T3 cars gave a look of pure unbridled aggression, which made them exude extreme confidence and speed.

While the TE50 has options between 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic transmissions. The TL50 and TS50 were available with only Electronic Sport Shift (automatic), which allowed owners to shift gears by pressing buttons on the steering wheel.

Due to the emphasis on speed, all T3 models lacked traction control (who needs traction control when you just want to go fast). A Brembo braking system was optional.

Ford AU Falcon XR8 Rebel

In 2001, Tickford Vehicle Engineering produced 125 vehicles bearing the Falcon XR8 Rebel name. While the AU series had been in development for years (Project Eagle ‘93), the XR8 emerged as part of the sixth generation of the Falcon. The last of the AU series exited in 2002.  The vehicle was equipped with a Ford Racing body kit, and if you ordered one, the dealer would throw in a free Playstation 2 console with a copy of Gran Turismo.

The AUIII had the 5.6L Windsor engine making the car a beast on the track. Overall, the T3 and AU3 vehicles helped boost Ford’s reputation for a short time. Despite the success, Ford scrapped the upgraded 5.6L and diverted the resources to the production of the new Cobra Mustang for the Australian market.