BluePrint Engines 306ci Bronco Edition Crate Engine

My Boy Blue!

Verne SimonsPhotographer, Writer

If you’re a car guy or gal (really, a truck guy or gal) you have probably spent some time contemplating an engine refresh or engine swap for your project. Heck, we all have—some of us every day. One issue is finding a reliable source for said engine. Sure, you can roll the dice and get a “good” used engine from a junkyard that may be packed full of sawdust and snake oil, or you could put your trust (and cash) in the pocket of a local engine rebuilder—again, a roll of the dice.

Another option would be to find a crate engine from a known national brand of performance engine builders. All have plusses and minuses, but generally the minuses shrivel up and disappear when you go with a well-known company that has a reputation to uphold.

Chances are the name BluePrint Engines has popped up on your radar over the past 10 years when you were thinking about engines. We know it has in our lives. BluePrint Engines started over 20 years ago in a garage in Nebraska. For BluePrint, the idea to build performance engines began as many ventures do, as a hobby that lead to the company being one of the largest crate engine manufacturers in the world.

Today BluePrint offer lots of products, a few specific to the truck market, like the BluePrint Engines 306ci Bronco Edition Crate Engine. It’s a Ford 302 Windsor, a storied and venerable little engine that is hard to beat for torque and horsepower given its relatively small displacement. This particular engine is engineered at BluePrint specifically for Broncos, so it is perfect for the 1969 Bronco we are resurrecting.

Starting with a handpicked seasoned 2-bolt main block, BluePrint uses modern techniques to square and parallel-deck the block, align-hone the main bearing bore, hone the cylinders on a computer-controlled machine to within 0.0002 straightness and roundness, and bore the cylinders 0.040 over stock. Cylinders walls are then sonic tested for thickness to ensure good cooling and engine longevity. From there, a one-piece rear main seal rides on a cast steel crankshaft that spins hypereutectic pistons through a 3-inch stroke. Other features of the engine are a pair of BluePrint Engines aluminum cylinder heads building a 9.2:1 compression ratio, a hydraulic roller cam with 0.533 intake/0.554 exhaust lift on 215 intake/220 exhaust duration at 0.050 ground on a 114-degree LSA.

What does that mean? Well, this Bronco Edition–specific camshaft has a smooth idle that pulls a lot of vacuum to support fuel injection and builds a ton of the low-end torque that’s helpful for road and trail driving a 4x4. Other performance 302s are probably built for high-end horsepower, something a Bronco won’t see much of.

The engine is painted Ford Blue, has Bronco Script valve covers, and is available with a carburetor or, in our case, a Holley Sniper EFI system on a dual-plenum aluminum intake from BluePrint. Timing comes from a small-cap HEI distributor. When assembled and ready to ship, BluePrint tests and dynos each and every engine to confirm that the promised 365 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque are there. You get all that plus a 30-month/50,000-mile warrantee. You know the junkyard won’t give you that—and the local engine rebuilder probably won’t either.

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