Worshipers at the altar of Detroit Muscle have found salvation many times over in Chrysler's Hemi, General Motors’ small block and a number of stout V-8s over the years from Ford.

The latest praiseworthy offering is Ford’s hand-built 5.2L DOHC V-8 in the Shelby GT350 Mustang, which quickly sold out a limited production run of 137 units for the ’15 model year. Several thousand more will rocket out of Ford showrooms in 2016.

Having spent nine glorious days with the GT350 in November, our panel of eight gobsmacked editors deems it worthy of a 2016 Wards 10 Best Engines trophy because it runs like American Pharoah on a trough full of steroids.

Equally important, however, is the process of dismantling a perfectly good 5.0L V-8 and putting it back together with more displacement, less friction, a volumetric efficiency of 110%, higher compression, 100 more horsepower and the ability to spin at a jaw-dropping 8,250 rpm without forced induction or direct fuel injection.

When the project was finished, the new 5.2L weighed 13 lbs. (5.9 kg) less than the original 5.0L. How’s that for a magic trick?

The donor engine, the 90-degree 5.0L “Coyote” that won Wards 10 Best Engines trophies in 2011 and 2012, remains a solid performer, selling in high volume in the Mustang GT.

But after the newly redesigned Mustang launched last year with an independent rear suspension, Ford wanted a truly track-capable version of the pony car that would pay homage to the famous Shelby GT350 of 1965.

Thus began the “Voodoo” engine program, which maintained the 100-mm bore centers of the aluminum block but touched literally every other surface to withstand sustained high engine speeds, allowing racers to hold gears from corner to corner, saving precious seconds on the circuit.

That mission guided the development of every technology incorporated within the engine, from the flat-plane crankshaft to the Plasma Transfer Wire Arc process used to spray in high-strength liners within the cylinders that save 5 lbs. (2.3 kg) and are about as thick as two human hairs.