• Ford Racing says it will offer the automaker's 2.0-liter four-cylinder as a "crate motor" to consumers looking for an engine for their project vehicle.
  • According to Ford Racing, the upcoming turbocharged version will also be offered.
  • The engine, which weighs less than 300 pounds thanks to aluminum construction, goes on sale in spring 2012.

Ford is now offering its economical 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine to consumers looking for a high-performance powerplant that's good on gas. The automaker's Ford Racing division recently announced it will offer the direct-injected engine as a "crate motor," meaning it can be purchased as a complete unit and installed in just about anything the buyer chooses.

Currently available in the 2012 Ford Focus, the 2.0-liter engine produces between 160 and 175 horsepower and 145 to 155 pound-feet of torque. While that might not seem like much for a road car, racers looking to add the engine to a lightweight track car will likely find those power figures to be more than adequate - especially since the direct-injected engine is sure to cut down on fuel costs.

According to Ford, the engine will be offered with "plug and play" kits that streamline the installation process when it becomes available in spring 2012. Although the automaker hasn't announced pricing for the out-of-the-box engine, other crate motors on Ford Racing's website run anywhere from $3,845 for a small-block V8 to more than $20,000 for purpose-built modular racing engines. Our guess is that the 2.0-liter motor, which Ford says weighs just under 300 pounds, will be closer to the low end of that spectrum.

For consumers who want a little extra power, Ford says other crate motors based on its 2.0-liter engine are on the way, including a turbocharged variant from the upcoming Focus ST. Expected to produce around 250 horsepower, that engine is sure to find major popularity among aftermarket buyers thanks to its significant power boost over the naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter motor.

While undoubtedly a foreign concept for many car shoppers, the crate motor business is popular with consumers looking to create racecars and street rods as well as kit cars, off-road buggies and even boats. Rather than sourcing a used engine from a junkyard, consumers who buy crate motors get a reliable new powerplant with a warranty and many parts that help join it with a project vehicle.

What it means to you:

Ford's new 2.0-liter crate motor will be a great power source for nearly any lightweight project vehicle.

author photo

Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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