School trips are about to get more exciting.
After debuting in the 2020 Ford F-Series Super Duty, Ford's 7.3-liter "Godzilla" V8 was sold as a crate engine. Since then, tuners have extracted more power from the V8 pushrod engine and used the popular powerplant for some unusual engine swap projects. Last month, Ford Racing director Brian Wolfe cranked up Ford's Godzilla engine up to over 1,000 horsepower for his Fox-Body Mustang drag car project by adding two turbochargers among other upgrades.
While we were expecting Ford's Godzilla crate engine to spawn some crazy restomods, we didn't expect it to be applied to school buses. This spring, the Blue Bird bus company will begin integrating Ford's new 7.3-liter V8 engine into its 2022 Vision and Micro gasoline and propane school buses - school trips are about to get more exciting.
The new school buses will also incorporate a purpose-built fuel system designed by Roush CleanTech specifically for school-bus application. This will replace the Ford 6.8-liter engine Blue Bird previously used, offering more power and torque and improved economy over the old unit.
"The exclusive partnership between Blue Bird, Roush CleanTech and Ford continues to flourish as we launch Ford's new engine with cutting-edge fuel systems in our Vision and Micro Bird school buses," said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corporation. "We've already heard excitement from our customers about this compact, more powerful and easier-to-maintain engine with better fuel economy." While Ford's 7.3-liter V8 generates 430 hp in the Super Duty, it's being detuned to 350 hp in the new Blue Bird school buses, but still offers the "best-in-class combination of horsepower and torque."
Compared to the previous 6.8-liter unit, Ford's new 350-hp 7.3-liter engine is narrower, giving mechanics easier access to perform service work. Known as Gen 5, the fuel system also features stronger and lighter forged fuel rails and unique routing. It's also certified to California Air Resources Board's optional low nitrogen oxide emissions standard of 0.05 grams per brake horsepower-hour (g/bhp-hr).
"Backed by 45 years of Roush engineering, the Gen 5 is the next advancement in powertrain technology, delivering lots of power in a smaller package," said Todd Mouw, president of Roush CleanTech. "Our advanced fuel system integrates seamlessly with the new Ford engine to give school bus customers the most cost-effective product on the market."
In addition to Ford's new Godzilla V8 and Gen 5 fuel systems, the 2022 Blue Bird Vision has been updated with a new grille design, giving the familiar fascia a fresher face. Orders for the 2022 Blue Bird Vision are now open.