Not familiar with the term S-rod. I assume it may stand for short rod, which might indicate the debored 255ci 4.2L V8 offered in the GT in '82. On the other hand, the 5.0L 302 offered in '82 didn't even make 160 HP, so neither of these engines are exactly spectacular. On the 302, chalk it up to very restrictive heads, 2bbl carb and an environmentalist butt kissing cam. The 4.2L isn't even worth discussing. Reading your post again, it sounds like you may be talking about the tranny though? If that's the case, all I know about it is that it only had to be strong enough to handle 160HP, and Ford didn't overbuild anything- especially in the '80's.
SROD = single rail overdrive transmission. These early Fox manual transmissions cannot handle much more than the torque offered by those early 80's V-8s, which is very little. If you are making any kind of power, you'll find out really quick why they are considered "crap".