Flathead Myths courtesy of Tony Baron
Flathead History Lesson courtesy of Charlie Clark
Although a great leap forward when it was originally introduced in 1932, by the ’50s the aging motor could not stand up to the new generation of overhead-valve powerplants like the small-block Chevy. At around the same time, old-time hot rods gave way to modern musclecars and street machines. Then, about 20 years ago, traditional street rods suddenly became cool again. At first everyone was dumping modern engines into old metal, but eventually the supply of stock bodies dried up and reproduction glass bodies took over. The new engines overpowered the old chassis, so modern suspensions and disc-brake swaps were added to the mix. Eventually you could build a whole street rod out of aftermarket commodity parts. The downside was, as Flathead Engineering’s Charlie Clark puts it, street rods “began to look about as exciting as a belly-button-everyone had one.”
Among this herd of sheep, a few original hot rods were brought out of retirement, complete with gennie flatheads as the powerplant. Dressed with up to four carbs and that unique flathead sound accentuated by glasspacks, the old codgers were suddenly the rage again. It was a statement, in effect saying, “I am not a cookie-cutter rod.”
The new old cars got a lot of attention. Guys who once dreamed of owning a flattie back in the ’50s but who had neither the time nor the money were now in their 50s, with lots of disposable income. Younger guys yearned for a simpler, back to basics approach. Flatheads began to come back, and prices of swap-meet stuff skyrocketed. This encouraged the old-time flathead parts guys (or their sons) to start repopping the old parts. Like all fads, once started, the process fed itself.
Now it’s 2005, and the flathead’s resurgence shows no sign of diminishing. In fact, the growing flathead movement has basically sorted itself out into three distinct groups. At one end there are restorers who insist on putting everything back to exact original condition. Most in this group will accept a modified flathead as long as it is period-correct, with no obvious modern technology visible. At the other extreme are dry-lakes, Bonneville, and nostalgia drag racers who have applied modern technology to the point where in some instances it is questionable whether the engine still remains a true flathead: Once-85hp engines now produce over 400 hp on gas and have exceeded 700 hp on fuel-all this on an engine with only three main bearings.
Somewhere in the middle is the largest group: Potential street rodders who just want reasonably fast hot rods without having a cookie-cutter, 1-800-car. For this group-whether building a rat rod, yanking a Chevy that just doesn’t look right in that old Deuce, or building a brand-new car-the outlook couldn’t be rosier, even better than the flathead’s heyday … so long as the bucks hold out. You can now build a brand-new flathead. There are builders on the left and right coasts and all points in-between who assemble reliable, powerful, 150-200hp engines, or you can buy new parts and build one yourself. A good supply of new French (really) blocks exist and outfits like Scat make new H-beam rods and sell cranks with up to a 4.5-inch stroke. Ross, Wiseco, Egge, Arias, and others make pistons in any configuration you desire. The old cam grinders-including Isky, Schneider, Elgin, and others-have both old and new cam grinds. New stainless valves are available from several sources. Baron, Edelbrock, Sharp (Wilcap), Navarro, and Offenhauser make both old-style heads as well as improved new configurations.
Still not enough? There are kits to install Weiand and Magnuson superchargers, or even one or two GMC 71-series blowers. Fabled Stromberg 97 carbs are back, but you can also upgrade to modern Holley four-barrels or even electronic-fuel-injection systems. Finally, there are brand-new aluminum blocks and Ardun OHV conversion heads and valvetrains. On the following pages, we’ll take a look at some of the stuff available for the flathead and also cover the lineage, interchangeability, and secrets of this proud forebear of modern hot rodding.
|FLATHEAD MYTH #1|
|MYTH:||All flatheads overheat, then the blocks crack.|
|TRUTH:||Solve cooling problems by using a modern water pump available through Speedway Motors and other sources. For even more protection, install a crossflow radiator and increase coolant system pressure to 17-21 pounds.|
From its debut in 1932 to the end of its U.S. production life in 1953, the flathead Ford underwent three major evolutionary changes. The first-design ’32 through early ’38 engines had only 21 cylinder-head studs and until mid 1936 even used poured babbit main bearings. Reserve these early blocks for collector cars due to their inferior head-retention and bearing design; speed equipment availability for them is also severely limited.
Starting in July 1938, the blocks went to 24 head-retention studs. These second-design ’38 1/2-’48 blocks (often referred to as “59A” castings) retained an integral cast-in bellhousing, used a distributor that mounts flush to the front cover with a horizontal shaft on the front of the engine and had insert-style main bearings but still used full-floating rod bearings (one bearing shell for each rod pair).
The third-design “8BA” ’49-’53 engines have a bolt-on bellhousing, the distributor was moved to the top-right of the engine, and modern insert-style bearings are used on both the mains and rods. After 1953, flathead production continued in other countries, most notably in Europe, where the engine continued to be used in French military vehicles through the ’90s. French blocks have some unique features and are covered separately.
As we go to press, word is just in that Mark Kirby at Motor City Flathead has joined forces with Shadow Rods to develop an all-new, improved ’49-’53-style aftermarket cast-iron flathead block. This block is completely beefed up, with four-bolt caps, reinforced bottom-end and webbing, furnace-brazed sleeves (max bore is 3.5 inches), and new-design head studs that tie into the bottom of the block. It will use a new oil pan and special bolt-on universal bellhousing that accepts most modern transmissions. Stay tuned for further updates on this project.
|FLATHEAD MYTH #2|
|MYTH:||Flatheads are old, ancient, obsolete technology.|
|TRUTH:||Mostly true, but the French military used flatheads as late as the early ’90s and “ancient” flathead technology has evolved to run over 300 mph at Bonneville. On the street, flatheads are happy on today’s crappy gas, because that’s the only kind of gas there was back in the ’30s.|
The flathead blocks to get are those with a 3 3/16-inch bore. These include the ’39-’53 Mercury and ’46-’53 Ford castings. Although it sounds weird in this modern age of thin-wall castings, the 3 3/16-inch-bore, U.S.-built flatties can be bored 0.125-inch (1/8-inch-over). In fact, unless you have a badly core-shifted block, most of them can accept a whopping 0.1875-inch overbore (3/16-inch over standard). Earlier 3 1/16-inch-bore blocks will only go 0.090-over.
In the old days the hot ticket was dropping a ’49-’53 Mercury 4-inch-stroke crank in place of the Ford 3.75-inch-stroke unit. Speed-O-Motive still advertises Merc crank cores if you want to go this route, but it’s no longer necessary, what with all the aftermarket alternatives available. Scat offers affordable cast Pro Stock cranks through 4.375-inch stroke, with either 2.00- or 2.138-inch rod journals. Custom billets stretch all the way to 4.5-inch stroke. The 2-inch rod journals are very popular because their diameter and width permits the use of readily available 215-inch-style Buick/Olds/Rover V-8 bearings.
|221||3.063||3.75||Stock ’32-’42 Ford|
|239.4||3.188||3.75||Stock ’39-’48 Merc|
|Stock ’46-’53 Ford|
|255.4||3.188||4||Stock ’49-’53 Merc|
|263.3||3.188||4.125||1/8 Merc stroker|
|284.4||3.313||4.125||1/8 over, 1/8 stroker|
|295.2||3.375||4.125||3/16 over, 1/8 stroker|
|271.3||3.188||4.25||1/4 stroker (custom)|
|293||3.313||4.25||1/8 over, 1/4 stoker|
|304.2||3.375||4.25||3/16 over, 1/4 stroker|
|279.3||3.188||4.375||3/8 stroker (custom)|
|301.6||3.313||4.375||1/8 over, 3/8 stroker|
|313.1||3.375||4.375||3/16 over, 3/8 stroker|
|287.3||3.188||4.5||1/2 stroker (custom)|
|310.2||3.313||4.5||1/8 over, 1/2 stroker|
|322.1||3.375||4.5||3/16 over, 1/2 stroker|
|334.1||3.438||4.5||1/4 over, 1/2 stroker*|
|*French block only|
Most stock flatheads never came with an effective harmonic damper. But with modern solid cams and big stroker cranks, overall engine rpm and piston speed is considerably higher than the old stockers. Flathead gurus like Don Ferguson and Tony Baron strongly urge that hot rod engines run a harmonic damper. One solution is adopting a small-block Chevy damper. The Chevy’s crank diameter is only 0.060-inch smaller than the flathead’s. With such a small difference; it’s relatively easy to take a little off the Ford snout then slightly hone the inside of a Chevy balancer so it slips over the Ford crank.
Original 50-plus-year-old blocks without cracks are getting scarce. Although new aftermarket iron blocks are reputedly under development, right now a real-world solution to finding a good core for your flathead is to start with a brand-new French block. For reasons known only to the crazy French, flatheads were used in French Army trucks through the early ’90s. Mullins, a leading purveyor of surplus Jeep and other vintage military parts in Texas, accidentally discovered a warehouse full of brand-new French blocks about to be junked during a European trip searching for Jeep stuff. He bought the entire French stock, and at last count still has at least 500 blocks, 120 complete engines, and over 2,000 rods.
French blocks are about 30 pounds heavier than a standard flathead, which is a good indication of better metal and thicker walls. Reputedly, they are cast with 10 percent higher nickel content, and the quality of the modern castings is a lot smoother with much less core shift. Tony Baron says French blocks can be bored 0.250-over (1/4 inch). With a 4.5-inch-stroke aftermarket crank, that yields 334 cubic inches.
However, there are some significant differences in French blocks compared to the originals. French blocks are hybrids, essentially a ’49-’53 8BA in terms of deck height and front-end, but with the integral cast bellhousing and corresponding oil pan as found on the ’38 1/2-’48 59A. Two things to watch out for are an extra water hole in the block and the lack of a breather standpipe in the block. There is also an ugly governor mounting boss on the left-rear of the block that many rodders prefer to machine off.
Because the French version was used in trucks, the intake- and exhaust-port throats are choked down under the valve pockets, so extensive port-work is required for racing. However, the main caps are beefier than traditional stock flatheads. Unfortunately, old-school resistance to this “new and improved” part is so extensive that the SCTA has banned the blocks from competing in classic land speed racing classes. Apparently, the old boys’ network doesn’t want any youngbloods crashing their exclusive country club. But that just leaves these pristine virgin blocks for us normal street guys.
|FLATHEAD MYTH #3|
|MYTH:||Popup pistons don’t work in a flathead.|
|TRUTH:||The fastest guys both naturally aspirated and blown run high-dome pistons.|
|FLATHEAD MYTH #4|
|MYTH:||All high-rise manifolds are the same.|
|TRUTH:||There are over 50 different flathead intake manifolds, but they aren’t all created equal. You need the right amount of plenum volume and runner length to complement the engine size, camshaft, cylinder-head flow, and operating range. What’s right for your engine differs per application.|
Normally we’d title this section “Cylinder Heads,” but on a flathead, the heads-having neither ports nor valves-only form the combustion-chamber roof. The mixture must follow a tortuous U-turn path out the block-mounted intake valve, over to the main part of the chamber above the piston, and then back out the exhaust valve. This lateral flow severely restricts flathead breathing capability, although it does promote what today’s high-tech engineers term swirl and tumble, which enhances fuel mixing and combustion.
Making power with a flathead is a fine balancing act, juggling the higher thermodynamic potential of raising compression against improving airflow through the combustion chamber. Traditional flathead airflow management practices call for relieving the block-removing metal between the valve-seat sides closest to the cylinder bore. This improves airflow, but the resultant effective combustion-chamber-volume increase lowers the compression ratio, in turn decreasing horsepower and fuel economy. Trying to gain back compression ratio by using popup pistons may improve airflow provided proper attention is paid to the transfer area and overall piston-to-combustion chamber interface. The best balance has been the subject of debate for over 60 years.
Currently the most popular approach is running a big popup piston, but with a scallop on the side adjacent to the valves to keep the transfer area clear between the valves and the cylinder bore. Recommended bottom-line street-gas-friendly compression ratios are between 7.5-8:1 on naturally aspirated engines and 6.5-7.0:1 with a blower. As for cylinder heads, Baron, Edelbrock, Navarro, Offenhauser, and Sharp (now sold by Wilcap) all have their adherents.
Reliefs between the valves and bores are much less pronounced than the old days, only about 0.080-inch deep instead of the old-school 31/416 inch. Research has shown there’s relatively little air movement over the base of the block. Instead, air wants to go over the front of the valve and hit the chamber roof. Most hot rod engines use oversize valves. Small-block Chevy valves remain popular, but with reduced-base-circle cams they may be too short to permit proper lash adjustment. Correct-length flathead 1.800 intake/1.600 exhaust valves are available from flathead specialists like Baron Racing.
Seal the heads to the block using slick new graphite-impregnated head gaskets available from Best Gasket, Red’s Headers, and Tatom. Copper head gaskets are sold by SCE. Fel-Pro and Victor continue to make head gaskets too.
In 1947, long before Zora Arkus-Duntov became famous for his work developing the Corvette and performance Chevrolet parts, he and his brother Yura designed what has been considered the ultimate flathead performance mod-turning the engine into an overhead-valve hemi. The company they formed to produce these heads was named “Ardun,” an acronym derived from their last name. Only 200 original sets are known to exist, but fortunately, Ardun heads and associated conversion parts are back, reproduced in improved form by Don Ferguson of Ardun Enterprises. The present-day Arduns are CNC-machined using high-grade 356-T6 aluminum, have refined combustion chambers, and improved oiling and valvetrain components. They fit original ’39-’53 blocks, French blocks, and (perhaps the ultimate evolution) Ferguson’s new aluminum block. Relieved blocks must have the reliefs filled to use Ardun heads.
CAM AND VALVETRAIN
With no rocker arms, a flathead’s total lift must be generated entirely by the cam lobe. According to Baron Racing, the limiting factor is not piston-to-head interference, nor even valvespring coil-bind-it is running out of cam bearing clearance for the lobes. Short of machining the block oversize for custom roller-cam bearings, even with a reduced base circle this limits max cam lift to about 0.460 inch. Tony Baron says that a good-running flathead should have no less than 0.400 lift and about 250 degrees duration at 0.050-inch tappet lift. Schneider’s 278F solid (0.420 lift, 250 degrees at 0.050 duration, 110-degree lobe separation angle) is one grind that falls within these specs. Many hard-core guys still swear by Isky’s 400-JR solid (0.400 lift, 244-degrees at 0.050, 111-degree LSA).
One flathead builder, Dave Tatom, offers a unique line of custom grinds with wide 114-degree LSA for naturally aspirated engines, and 116-118 LSAs for blown motors. Tatom believes spreading the centers helps combat overlap-induced reversion with the flathead’s siamesed center exhaust ports. The 270-F, Tatom’s best all-around cam, is said to work well on normally aspirated or blown, stick, or automatic cars, with good idle quality and 18-19 inches of vacuum. Ground with a 114-degree LSA and 112-degree intake centerline, it has 0.395-inch lift and 234 degrees duration at 0.050. Cams like this with good aftermarket heads are capable of producing 200 hp and 240 lb-ft naturally aspirated, and over 300 hp and 350 lb-ft with a blower.
|FLATHEAD MYTH #5|
|MYTH:||Four carbs don’t work on the street.|
|TRUTH:||Four carbs on a properly designed intake manifold offer the best distribution short of today’s dry EFI systems. Back in the day, four-barrel carbs had barely been invented. The old-timers took what they had and made it work. Besides, multicarb setups look cool.|
|FLATHEAD MYTH #6|
|MYTH:||Large valves don’t work on the street.|
|TRUTH:||Large-diameter, unshrouded valves combined with a proper combustion chamber configuration and piston design are needed to promote the proper transfer area from the flathead’s valves to the far end of the chamber over the piston tops.|
The stock flathead oiling system is marginal for performance use. Most builders convert the stock oil system to a full-flow design with a modern, remote-mounted oil filter. There are several techniques; the accompanying photos show the method preferred by Baron Racing. At present, the only aftermarket custom oil pan available is from Ardun Engineering. Most flattie builders modify factory pans. Melling still makes a high-volume oil pump (PN M-15). A truck oil pickup tube assembly (PN 8RT-6615) is required to use the M-15 as well as the standard volume Melling M-19 in ’48-and-earlier engines; ’49-and-up engines can use the stock pickup.
It was only at the very end of the flathead’s reign that the first small four-barrel carbs appeared; back then everyone used multiple-carb setups. Strombergs were the favorites, but Chandler-Grove/Holley, Zenith, and Rochester two-barrels were also in use. Stromberg in England is producing new Strombergs again. Improved internal components and casting technology make them more reliable and leak-free.
The Thickstun two-carb high-rise intake (today marketed by Baron) is an excellent street setup and it even provides clearance for the stock generator. Baron also offers a modern version of the famous Tattersfield/Baron four-carb race intake in more civilized street form. The current incarnation is 3 inches taller than the originals and has smaller 1 1/2-inch ports (vintage versions had 1 3/4 ports, but the new casting is thick enough to hog ’em out). Tom Roberts’ new two-piece crossflow utilizes the latest in airflow technology. Different top-halves are available for mounting a variety of induction setups. Edelbrock, Wilcap (Sharp), and Offenhauser continue to market a wide variety of intakes.
Yes, you can have a classic flathead with modern fuel injection. Hilborn and Ardun Enterprises offer EFI conversions that look like old-time stacks but with EFI nozzles. TBI injection through billet Stromberg 97 carb-like throttle-bodies is available from Flathead Engineering. Mooneyes also offers throttle-bodies that resemble Strombergs. A new player is Gemini Electronic Fuel Injection, a complete bolt-on flathead conversion kit based on the self-programming Prodigious fuel injection system. There is also an Australian outfit, Flatattack Engineering, offering plenum-style, TPI-like systems controlled by either GM Delco or MoTeC computers.
Flatheads may not have the cubes or brute airflow potential of many of today’s modern mills, but there is a solution: Bolt on a supercharger. The flathead’s compression ratio is well suited to supercharging, and besides, what could be more hot rod than a blower poking through the hood? Magnuson offers an Eaton blower kit, while Joe Abbin of Roadrunner Engineering has Weiand 142 and 174 supercharger setups.
|FLATHEAD MYTH #7|
|MYTH:||You need lots of timing to make a flathead run.|
|TRUTH:||Tony Baron runs 10 degrees of base timing and 23 degrees max at full advance. The engine may “feel better” with 27-30 degrees total timing (as read on the crank), but Baron says “it slows up the flame travel. You may lose as much as 30 hp above 4,500 rpm.”|
|FLATHEAD MYTH #8|
|MYTH:||Flatheads don’t like to rev.|
|TRUTH:||With modern aftermarket cranks and rods using modern insert bearings, 5,500 rpm normally aspirated is not a problem, even with only three main bearings. And there are always billet caps and girdles available.|
Coolant needs to remain in liquid form when it circulates through the motor. Back in the old days, all cars used low-pressure cooling systems, so coolant often boiled. If it boils, steam pockets form, and when you have steam, you’ll get cracks. The solution is to raise the boiling point by upping coolant-system pressure to 17-21 pounds, using a modern crossflow radiator and higher-pressure cap. A high-pressure system will run fine with no boiling, even at 190-210-degree gauge temps.
Not all flathead water pumps are created equal, though. For improved cooling efficiency, original ’49-’53 pumps have more impeller vanes than earlier models. Speedway Motors offers pumps with sealed bearings that do an even better job in both early and late configurations. Tom Roberts starts with the Speedway pump, modifies it for even more flow, and also redoes the snout to accept modern, bolt-on, serpentine-belt pulleys. Ultimately, you can move up to one of Cornhusker Engineering’s custom front cover and late-model water-pump setups.
The ’39-’48 flatheads used a direct camshaft-driven front-mount distributor; ’49-’53 engines use a gear-driven, vertical-mount distributor on the right-front of the engine. Early and late distributor styles can be interchanged by using the corresponding front engine covers and cam drive. While exact ignition timing will vary per combination, in general flatheads running gasoline like about 23 degrees total advance normally aspirated and just 19 degrees with a blower. No one runs the old weak stock ignitions anymore. Traditionalists can go with Vertex or Mallory mags, while modern guys may want to move up to MSD or Mallory electronic distributors. Some fuel-injection setups even run distributorless coil-ignition setups. Of course, this modern stuff requires a 12-volt electrical system. An alternative are Pertronix conversion kits that fit inside the original distributor; they retain the classic look, and versions are even offered that function on 6-volt power.
|FLATHEAD MYTH #9|
|MYTH:||High-compression is the way to go. Flatheads need high compression because they don’t breathe.|
|TRUTH:||There’s a fine juggling act between compression and promoting proper transfer from the offset valves across the piston top. Too high a compression ratio and the engine peaks early due to restricted top-end breathing. Keep it under 8.0:1.|
A wide variety of headers are available for flathead engines, which certainly should not retain the restrictive stock exhaust manifolds. As its name implies, Red’s Headers is the place to go for the widest selection of street-style headers. Also check out Speedway Engineering’s offerings. Ultimately, there are equal-length race headers available from Tatom Custom Engines. Some builders also recommend installing exhaust-port dividers to split the siamesed center exhaust ports.
With modern flatheads routinely putting out 250-300 lb-ft of torque, the original trannies obviously aren’t up to the job. Fortunately, a wide variety of adapters are available to mate the venerable motor to today’s automatic and manual transmissions. The king of adapters is undoubtedly Wilcap. It offers adapter kits to mate GM automatic transmissions and Ford C4 automatics to ’49-’53 8BA blocks, as well as a variety of adapters to mate both early and late flatheads to most GM and Ford manual transmissions. Wilcap also sells ’32-’48 Ford mechanical-clutch hardware.
Flat-O Products sells well-designed, complete kits to install the Ford C4 automatic and T5 manual behind either 8BA or 59A engines. Provided you have an original bellhousing, you can use available Trans-Dapt adapters to install Ford passenger-car transmissions from the mid ’60s to the late ’70s behind the ’49-’53 flatties. Centerforce offers clutches and flywheels.
|FLATHEAD MYTH #10|
|MYTH:||Blown flatheads always blow up.|
|TRUTH:||If the combination is properly tailored to the blower application, you should have no real problem. Even stock flatheads can run 6-7 psi boost with no problem.|
|Alan Schurman Iron Ranch
Flathead engine builder and parts source
Aluminum cylinder heads, single- and dual-carb intakes, generator brackets
|Kanter Auto Products
Stock replacement parts including complete rebuild kits
|Roy Nacewicz Ent.
Allen Park, MI
Reproduction early Ford fasteners
|Allied Motors Inc.
St. Charles, MO
Flathead Ford stroker kits, block machining
|Egge Machine Co.
Santa Fe Springs, CA
Comprehensive parts including cast pistons and rings, complete rebuild kits
Ardun intake manifolds
|SCAT Enterprises Inc.
Redondo Beach, CA
Crankshafts, connecting rods, rotating assemblies
|American Custom Cam
Central Point, OR
Flathead gear-drive starter
|LITTLE DEARBORN PARTS
|SCE Gaskets Inc.
Copper head gaskets
|Ardun Enterprises (Don Ferguson)
Ardun OHV cylinder heads and related valvetrain and camshaft parts; aluminum blocks, cast-aluminum oil pan, EFI systems, flathead engine builder
|Fel-Pro / Sealed Power / Speed-Pro (Federal Mogul Corp.)
Gaskets, piston rings
|LOST IN THE 50S FLAT HEADS
Flathead engine builder
|Schneider Racing Cams
San Diego, CA
Cams and valvesprings
|Flatattack Racing Products
0011 61 8 8362 1255
http://www.flatattackracing.com (in the USA, contact Red’s Headers below)
Plenum-style MoTeC and Delco-based EFI systems; aluminum cylinder heads; valve tools; remote oil filter; headers, steel bearing caps and main bearing supports; port dividers; adjustable lifters; Toyota four-speed auto and five-speed manual, Ford C4, and Powerglide trans adapters; aluminum water pumps
Eaton supercharger kits, intake manifolds, and drives
|SHADOW RODS & Motor City Flathead
Saginaw City, MI
New, improved cast-iron block, oil pans, bellhousings, and aluminum cylinder heads under development; full-flow oil filter kits; comprehensive flathead parts
|Automotion Rochester Carburetor Service (L.L Fulton Inc.)
Great Falls, MT
Rochester 2-bbl. 2×2 and 3×2 fuel systems
EFI and TBI systems based on billet throttle-bodies that resemble Stromberg 97 carbs or Weber carbs, French blocks
|Mallory Ignition (Mr. Gasket Co.)
216/688-8300 ext. 500
Dual-point and electronic distributors
|SLOVERS PORTING SERVICE
N. Hollywood, CA
Porting of vintage flathead engines
|Automotive Racing Products (ARP)
Walnut Creek, CA
Comprehensive custom and performance parts including Potvin cams, aluminum and iron blocks under development
|Manley Performance Products Inc.
|SO-CAL SPEED SHOP AZ (VINTAGE FORD & CHEVROLET PARTS OF ARIZONA)
Hot rod parts, headers
|Baron Racing Equipment
Woodland Hills, CA
Flathead engine builder, Baron heads, intake manifolds, main-bearing caps and supports, EFI intake manifolds, fuel-filter distribution blocks, air cleaner, Thickstun and Tattersfield speed equipment, comprehensive parts
Flathead stroker kits, rebuild kits, cams, bearings, pistons, rods, comprehensive engine parts
|MCLEOD INDUSTRIES/WEBER CLUTCHES
Clutches and flywheels
W. Covina, CA
Rebuild kits, stroker kits, 21A V-8 rods, ’49-’53 8BA rebuildable flathead blocks, ’49-’53 Mercury crank cores, core rods
Vintage gasket specialist 1930s-early ’60s, including new GraphTite improved head gasket and rope seal
|Flat-O Products Inc.
C4 and T5 trans adapter plates, aluminum flywheels, clutches, 12-volt gear-reduction starters
|Melling Tool Co.
Comprehensive flathead parts including water pumps and electronic distributors of its own manufacture
Stone Mountain, GA
Flathead engine builder
|Fluidampr (Vibratech TVD)
Ford 8BA flathead SFI-approved harmonic damper
|Mike’s Early Iron
Flathead engine builder
|Stromberg Carburetor Ltd.
Ipswich, Suffix, England, UK
0011 44 1473 811700
New “real production” Stromberg carbs made off original tooling, Stromberg service parts
|Blower Drive Service (BDS)
Superchargers, Prodigious EFI distributor and tuner
Flathead engine builder and installer
|Mike’s Sidevalve Supply
St. Peters, Adelaide, Australia
fax 61 8 8362 1515
|Tatom Custom Engines
Mt. Vernon, WA
Engine builder, custom cams; French blocks, four-bolt main center caps, Best Gasket distributor, comprehensive parts; equal-length headers
Original N.O.S. and reproduction parts
|GEMINI EFI-Motorsports Marketing -PRODIGIOUS PERFORMANCE PRODUCTS
Prodigious EFI integrated into complete flathead turnkey system that looks like an old-school Hilborn setup
|Taylor Engine Rebuilding
Flathead engine builder
San Clemente, CA
Forged steel connecting rods
|Greg Cunningham Connecting Rods
EFI complete systems, components, billet throttle-bodies
|The Modern Flathead
|Centerforce Clutches (Midway Industries Inc.)
Clutches and flywheels
|H&H Antique Ford Engine Rebuilding (Max Herman)
La Crescenta, CA
Flathead engine specialist and builder, performance and reproduction parts
Santa Fe Springs, CA
Moonjection-EFI systems with throttle-bodies that look like Stromberg carbs
|Tom Roberts Designs
Modern box-style two-piece intake manifolds with a variety of tops to accommodate Eaton or 4-71 blowers, a liquid intercooler, single or multi carbs, or EFI; aluminum front covers; serpentine-belt supercharger drive systems, billet pulleys, crank hub adapter for TCI Chevy SFI damper
|CLASSIC AUTO PARTS INC.
Oklahoma City, OK
Reproduction early Ford parts, headers
|Hall’s Automotive Machine Shop
Flathead engine machining and building
|MSD/Autotronic Controls Corp.
El Paso, TX
Billet electronic distributors
|Clevite Engine Parts / Victor Gaskets (Dana Corp.)
Ann Arbor, MI
Engine bearings, piston rings, gaskets
|Hank The Crank (HTC)
S. Gate, CA
|Mullins Jeep Parts
College Station, TX
The original importer of French blocks, including complete engines and individual internal components
|Uncommon Engineering LLC
Flathead engine builder, custom supercharger setups, Miller-style finned centrifugal blowers, Potvin-style crank-drive 4-71 through 8-71 GMC blower kits, top-mount single and dual 4-71 blower kits, EFI conversions,; SOHC three-valve “F” heads under development for 8BA engines; block girdles, dry sumps, crank trigger wheels, flathead cam motion multipliers
Aluminum cylinder heads, miscellaneous parts, flathead engine builder
|Hilborn Fuel Injection
Aliso Viejo, CA
Mechanical and electronic-fuel-injection systems
Los Angeles, CA
Navarro aluminum cylinder heads and intake manifolds
Flathead speed equipment, engine parts, headers
|Cornhusker Rod & Custom Inc.
T5 trans conversions, Chevy 409 water-pump conversions, urethane and rubber engine mounts, aluminum timing covers; custom brackets and drives
|Hot Rod and Custom Supply
Comprehensive custom and performance flathead parts, custom brackets and front-drives, A/C mounts
|Offenhauser Sales Corp.
Los Angeles, CA
Intake manifolds, cylinder heads, accessory brackets
|Vern Tardel’s Flathead Ranch
Santa Rosa, CA
Flathead engine builder, miscellaneous parts
|Crower Cams & Equipment Co. Inc.
San Diego, CA
Solid and roller cams, roller lifters, cranks, rods
|Howard’s Aluminum Rods and Components
Los Angeles, CA
Aluminum connecting rods
|Patrick’s Antique Cars and Trucks
Casa Grande, AZ
Flathead parts, speed equipment, Mallory dual-point and electronic distributors
|Vertex Magnetos (Taylor Cable Products Inc.)
800/821-3600 (nearest dealer)
“Real” magnetos as well as electronic distributors concealed within a magneto-like outer housing
|D. Elgin Cams
Redwood City, CA
|J.C. Whitney Inc.
La Salle, IL
Miscellaneous rebuild parts
|Pertronix Performance Products
San Dimas, CA
Kits to convert old points distributors to electronic ignition
|Vintage Carburetion North Inc.
Custom multicarb systems, high-performance ignitions, supercharger setups, Holley and Stromberg carbs and parts
|Dennis Carpenter Reproductions
Comprehensive parts, new and rebuilt engines
|Jahn’s Pistons (RTR Industries LLC)
Racing and replacement pistons
|Racecars in Retrospect Inc.
Rebuilt Stromberg and Chandler-Grove carbs, bolt-on carb setups with linkage, stainless fuel line assemblies, old carb parts
|Vintage Ford Parts
|Dick Landy Industries
Competition flathead engine builder
Huntington Beach, CA
|Red’s Headers and Early Speed Equipment
31-410 Reserve Drive #4
Thousand Palms, CA 92260
Headers for all ’32-’53 Ford cars and trucks, French blocks, full-circle front seals, valve guides, Johnson adjustable lifters, comprehensive engine hop-up and rebuilder parts, Lincoln Zephyr springs, valvetrain tools, Best Gaskets dealer
|Virgil Hanson Automotive Machine
Billet-aluminum cylinder heads, flathead engine builder
Eddie Meyer heads, Ardun and Eddie Meyer intake manifolds
Flathead engine builder
Repro Eddie Meyer cast aluminum air cleaners and fuel blocks
Pismo Beach, CA
Transmission adapter kits, Sharp cylinder heads and intake manifolds, flywheels
Castro Valley, CA
Block girdles and billet main caps
|JITNEY AUTO PARTS (KEITH LEE)
Saskatoon, SK, Canada
Engine parts, headers
|Roadrunner Engineering (JOE Abbin)
Weiand 142 and 174 supercharger kits and associated products; Blown Flathead book
|Wilson & Woods
San Clemente, CA
New-design aluminum Bonneville heads
|EAGLE SPECIALTY PRODUCTS INC.
Steel 8BA rods
|Joblot Automotive Inc.
Queens Village, NY
Stock replacement parts
|Ron Main’s Flatfire
Canoga Park, CA
300-mph flathead-powered Bonneville streamliner
|Wiseco Piston Co.
800/321-1364, option 6 (catalogs)
|Earl Floyd Engines
Battle Ground, WA
Flathead engine builder and parts source
|JOE SMITH EARLY FORD
Engine builder, parts, headers
|Ross Racing Pistons
El Segundo, CA
Flathead VIN, engine ID, serial number, tune-up, service info, parts drawings exploded views, great sound effects
Hard-core flathead Ford techno site and knowledge-base
|Ed Iskenderian Racing Cams
Solid cams and cam kits, lifters, springs, retainers, shims
|JOHN WAGERS FORD PARTS
Engine builder, parts, headers
|Roto-Faze Machined Products (Joe Panek)
Flathead ignitions, special cams, blanks, and cores
|Yosemite Machine Shop
Flathead engine builder