Hang on Kids – Ford Is Putting the 7.3-Liter Godzilla V8 in School Busses

The car world gets pretty wild from time to time. People build hybrid, genre-crossing machines just to see if they can. Look no further than the Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat. But when Ford announced they would be making a new pushrod V8 crate engine called “Godzilla,” I don’t think any of us thought Ford would start dropping that into some good ol’ Blue Bird school busses. 

What engines do school busses use?

According to Motor1, the good ol’ yellow buses from our younger years used to use Ford’s 6.8-liter engine. Granted, these weren’t small motors, but they weren’t capable of 1,100 hp like a tuned Godzilla is. This is a different animal altogether. 

Ford and Blue Bird have been working together for a while. This newest update will likely be the coolest one they will ever do. The 7.3-liter V8 will be used in the new propane- and gasoline-powered  2022 Vision school buses. It will need its own purpose-built fuel system made specifically for use in school buses by Roush CleanTech. Ford and Roush teaming up to build a school bus.

Going to school is about to be way more fun thanks to the Godzilla V8

Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corporation, said, “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.” Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corporation.

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Unfortunately, the gigantic V8 is going to have to be detuned to go into the buses. Typically the Godzilla comes out of the crate making 430 hp. According to Motor1, the bus version will be detuned only to make 350 hp. Still, with the lack of power, it will be the highest power and torque figures for its class as a commercial vehicle. 

A bonus for the bus techs is that even though the engine is substantially larger, the actual footprint is a bit more narrow, so the mechanics can easily access it. I’m always down for giving tech folks an easier job.

What makes the Godzilla V8 so cool?

This engine was built for the Ford F-250. So, 430 hp really isn’t all that much for such a massive and heavy truck. The cool part comes in when Ford said it would offer the engine sans F-250, otherwise known as a “crate” engine. This means you can buy the monster power station and put it in your grandma’s LeBaron if you want and burn it all up. 

Ford and Blue Bird are working together to put this 7.3-liter Pushrod V8 "Godzilla" crate engine into school buses
Ford and Blue Bird to put these 7.3-liter Pushrod V8 “Godzilla” crate engines into school buses for 2022 | Ford

Depending on what you put it in, 430 hp can be a lot of power, but no matter what you put it in, 1,100 hp is a ton of power. The folks at Merkel Racing slapped a couple of turbochargers on the Godzilla, and it made 1,114 hp. This usually takes piles of modifications and tuning to achieve, but in this case, it was done fairly simply. 

According to Motor1, the only mods they used were plumbing the two 7875 VS Racing turbochargers, setting up the necessary intercoolers, and installing a set of 1,000 cc fuel injectors. That was all it took to more than double the power. This is significant. 

How about those Blue Bird Buses, though?

The main takeaway here should be that these buses will someday be decommissioned, and they will still have the beating heart of a killer. Either you build a monster drag bus or snatch that motor out and find your Grandma’s LeBaron again.