The rotating/reciprocating assembly is the intestinal fortitude of a performance engine like this, and the stroker crankshaft is thoroughly balanced and checked for straightness. The forged rods are fitted with low-friction floating pins, which connect them to special Keith Black/Silvolite hypereutectic pistons. The pistons feature an anti-ring-float groove between the first and second compression ring grooves and a large dish in the domes to achieve a final compression ratio of 9.8:1, which is fine for truck use with available pump gas (not the low-octane stuff, though). The beefy rods are heavier than what might be used for a race motor, so sometimes a little "Mallory metal" has to be added to the crank to sweeten its relationship with the rod/piston combo.

The engine room at Smeding Performance is where all the balanced, machined, and cleaned parts come together under experienced hands to be developed into a performance engine that can deliver with a warranty. What we used to call "blueprinting" means checking every critical measurement and changing or machining parts to achieve the desired clearances. We're going to watch parts of this process as this 392 Ford bad boy comes together. Of course, we don't have room here to show every step we photographed, but suffice it to say things are done thoroughly.

The roller-cam-ready Ford Racing block is treated to a hydraulic roller cam whose specs vary based on the customer's input on his specific application. This one had 222 degrees duration on the intake and 232 on the exhaust at .050-inch lift, and .505/.532 lift on the intake/exhaust. It helped this particular 392 pull 457 ponies yet achieve a broad torque curve-over 400 lb-ft from 2,500 rpm all the way to 5,600 rpm! The cam is rotated by a double-roller timing chain and gears. What's on top of the potent combo is a pair of aluminum Edelbrock Performer RPM cylinder heads with stainless steel valves. They're great out of the box, but at Smeding Performance, they disassemble new heads before installation and check all the guide and valve dimensions and clearances for that extra edge.

The heads are installed with Fel-Pro blue gaskets and ARP high-strength head bolts, after which the remainder of the valvetrain can be installed. The Edelbrock heads already come with pushrod guide plates for performance use. Hardened-steel pushrods are lubed and slid into place, followed by aluminum roller rocker arms (anodized blue, of course) with positive-lock adjusters. The rockers are the stock 1.6:1 ratio, though they offer reduced friction and are a "true" 1.6:1, whereas stock rockers (of any OEM manufacturer) have considerable variation, by high-performance standards, at least.

Final exterior hard parts go on next, including polished-aluminum valve covers with the Smeding Performance logo and an Edelbrock aluminum intake, in our case the Performer RPM Air-Gap model. In this performance design, extra engine heat is kept out of the intake tract by the air separation between the floor and the runners. Depending upon the specifics of the customer's application, several different oil pans may be used. On our example, we used a chromed OEM-style oil pan, but some applications for serious track use will receive a Canton fabricated oil pan with extra capacity and trapdoors around the oil pickup area.