The 273 Commando was available two ways in '66. The
standard 235 HP version and a D/Stock version rated at 275 HP.
The D/Stock version was available as both a limited production
factory option, and an over-the-counter dealer option in '66.
The option was intended to help the A body Mopars to compete in
the D/Stock class with an advertised LBS/HP ratio range of 10.6
to 11.29. The option, which was offered from the factory without
warranty, included a Holley 4160 carb, adapter plat, a 284 degree
.495" I/ .505" E lift cam and spring set, tuned headers dumping
into the stock exhaust, and, in the "D/Dart tested by Car Craft
in August of '66, a 4.86:1 8-3/4" sure grip 3rd member. As Car
Craft notes:
Straight "out of the box" so to
speak, the D/Dart turned 94.21
mph in 14.33 seconds which was
almost as fast as the street hemi,
our test car of a few months back.
The engine still had less than 150
miles on it...

I have also seen references to the under rating by the factory
of the 273 Commando's output (people have equated it with the
"K" code 289 Ford at 271 HP), and I won't disagree with that.
Carburetor: 600 CFM AFB / Holley 4160 (D/Stock)
Bore: 3.625"
Stroke: 3.31"
Compression Ratio: 10.5:1
Gross Horsepower: 235 @ 5200 RPM / 275 @ 6000 RPM (D/Stock)
Torque: 280 Ft/Lbs @ 4000 RPM / 295 Ft/Lbs @ 4400 RPM (D/Stock)
273 Commando

Some Hop-Up Ideas for the 273.
  • Aluminum Intake: the stock 273 intakes are heavy and don't
    flow all that well. An Edelbrock, Wyand, Ofenhauser, or
    MOPAR aluminum intake will save pounds, make more power,
    and improve drivability.

    One issue for 273s is that the angle and size of the intake
    bolts changed for the '66 model year. Later intakes can be
    adapted to the '64 and '65 273 by any good machinist or
    engine builder. The bolt holes have to be redrilled to
    the older angle and the bolt hole openings in the intake
    have to be re-spot faced to be normal (90°) to the bolt.
    The '64 and '65 intake bolts were 5/16" so you also need to
    use hardened washers under the intake bolt heads to take up
    the slack in the 3/8" bolt hole openings and maintain the
    proper torque on the early 5/16" bolts.

  • Cam: I don't recommend a hydraulic cam for the 273. The 273
    has mechanical valve gear and requires special shorter
    pushrods if you convert it to a hydraulic. Also you get a
    better performance bang for the buck with a mechanical cam.
    Here are some I like for the 273 Commando roughly in order
    of "hotness":
    CAMLift I/EDur I/EDur@0.050"Lobe_SepRPM_RangeMin_Comp
    Competition Cams 270 S: 0.468"/0.468"270°/270°224°/224°110°1800-58009:1
    Comp Cams 20-233-4 XS268S: 0.488"/0.501"268°/274°230°/236°110°
    MOPAR Perf MOPP4529346: 0.490"/0.490"276°/276°235°/235°112°
    Competition Cams 282 S: 0.495"/0.495"282°/282°236°/236°110°3000-60009.5:1
    Hughes Engines HEV3945AS: 0.546"/0.560"260°/277°239°/245°107°2100-59009.5:1
    Comp Cams 20-230-4 XS274S: 0.502"/0.511"274°/280°236°/242°110°
    Edelbrock Performer RPM: 0.488"/0.510"308°/318°234°/244°
    Comp Cams 20-231-4 XS282S: 0.520"/0.540"282°/290°244°/252°110°
    Hughes Engines HEV4550AS: 0.560"/0.575"277°/283°245°/250°106°2300-63009.75:1
    All these cams will require matched valve springs, and the
    ones with lift beyond 0.500" would REALLY benefit from
    some port work to take advantage of the higher lift they provide.
    Also most of these cams require at least 9.5:1 or more static
    compression to really work, so if your tuning up a 2 barrel
    273, be prepared to do some cylinder head milling. To get to 9.5:1
    with flat top pistons you need to mill the 57 CC 273 heads to 52 CC,
    assuming a 0.005" deck height and a 0.032" installed head gasket

  • Ignition: Convert to MOPAR Performance electronic ignition using the
    chrome control unit. The standard control unit will work fine
    in most cases but the chrome one provides a hotter spark from
    idle to 8,000 RPM.

  • Carburetor: For the street the stock AFB should be fine up to a point,
    but even Chrysler put a Holley on when they got serious. For
    auto trans cars use a vaccum secondary 4160, for manuals a 4150
    double pumper, no bigger than 650 CFM in both cases. Make sure
    your using a dual feed, center hung version of these Holleys or
    you'll have some of the same issues under hard cornering, braking,
    and acceleration that the AFB has. Holleys DO have a problem with
    flooding out under heavy braking here are the fixes (use ALL of
    • Use the long "dog whistle" float bowl vent baffles.
    • Install jet extensions on the rear (secondary)
      metering block.
    • Install a piece of fuel line between the bowl vents
      so that they are extended vertically an inch or so.
      Cut a small section out of the top of the fuel line's
      arc and punch a small hole for the air cleaner stud
      to pass through (a little insurance against it being
  • Here is a more detailed listing of 273 Factory cam Spec's
                                  Intake     Exhaust
                                  ========   =======
             Std. 273 2 Brl (8.8:1):
                   Valve Lift:    0.395"     0.395"
                   Duration:      240       240
                   Opens:         14 BTDC   58 BBDC
                   Closes:        46 ABDC    2 ATDC
             273 Commando (10.5:1):
                   Valve Lift:    0.425"     0.425"
                   Duration:      248       248
                   Opens:         14 BTDC   56 BBDC
                   Closes:        54 ABDC   12 ATDC
             D/Stock 273 (10.5:1, Actually a Camcraft part):
                   Valve Lift:    0.495"     0.505"
                   Duration:      284       284
             SAE Gross Horsepower & Torque:
                    Std 273
                    180 @ 4200 RPM & 260 Ft/lbs @ 1600 RPM
                    273 Commando
                    235 @ 5200 RPM & 280 Ft/Lbs @ 4000 RPM
                    D/Stock 273
                    275 @ 6000 RPM & 295 Ft/Lbs @ 4400 RPM

  • More to come...

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Last Updated: 02/22/2004