Category: Ed Almquist

WWII killed the better Offenhauser – Preston Lerner @Hagerty

WWII killed the better Offenhauser – Preston Lerner @Hagerty


At first glance, the engine looks like one of the Offenhausers that dominated midget racing from the 1930s to the 1960s.

I walk around the inline-four, observing its profile—a pair of slim, cylindrical cam covers balanced on top of a tall, narrow crankcase. Closer inspection reveals that it’s not an Offy at all. On the contrary, it’s a slick, remarkably clever motor that woulda, coulda, shoulda replaced the American four-cylinder if World War II hadn’t come along at just the wrong time.

“It was supposed to be the next-generation midget engine,” says Gary Schroeder, who owns the motor.

“The Offy has two valves per cylinder and three main bearings. This has four valves per cylinder and five main bearings. It has a main-cap-style crankcase instead of a barrel crankcase. The cams are lubricated with pressurized oil instead of spreading the black stuff with a scavenge pump—which was a known shortcoming of the Offy. The engine even has insert bearings (instead of Babbitt bearings), which was really unusual back in 1939.”

Schroeder retired a few years ago, after decades of machining bulletproof steering boxes, torsion bars, springs, and a host of other race-car components at various shops in Burbank, California. He also enjoyed a long career as a midget driver here in the states and in New Zealand. And as the son of Gordon Schroeder, he’s a member of American circle-track royalty.

Gordon Schroeder was a young draftsman and would-be race-car builder who made his first foray to the Indianapolis 500 in 1938 to help driving legend Ted Horn. Soon thereafter, he joined crack crew-chief Riley Brett in an effort funded by wealthy sportsman Alden Sampson to escape from the long shadow cast by Harry A. Miller.

Miller was the foundational genius of American racing, and the magnificent cars he designed and built in the 1920s set standards that beggar belief even today, a century later.

Miller was a maverick, but he wasn’t a one-man band. His empire was based on a triumvirate, whose other members were almost as influential as he was. While Miller was the protean big-picture man, mild-mannered engineer Leo Goossen put Miller’s ideas onto paper and virtuoso machinist Fred Offenhauser transformed the drawings into metal masterpieces.

After the stock market crash of 1929, racers could no longer afford Miller’s jewel-like straight-eight engines. Offenhauser struck out on his own to build automobile versions of the robust four-banger that Miller had developed for boat racing. This so-called Offy quickly emerged as the 800-pound gorilla of American motorsports.

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What To Look For When Buying and Building A Ford Flathead – Hot Rod Engines 101 – Matt Murray @Irontrap Garage


Video on buying a Ford Flathead V8 and associated speed equipment from the excellent Matt Murray of Irontrap Garage

This is the first in a series from Matt, watch out for the other episodes. For anything traditional hot rod check out Matt’s channel and Instagram

Five Carburetors: Why Not? – Mac’s Motor City Garage


One V8 hot-rodding trick of the ’50s that never quite caught on was the 5×2 carburetor setup. But you know, it’s not such a terrible idea.

The photos we’re sharing here have made a few laps around the hot-rodding message boards across the internet, where they never fail to stimulate interest and discussion. The images depict an idea that originated in the early-to-mid-50s for souping up American V8s: the 5×2 carburetor setup, with an intake manifold specially cast (or modified from a production component) to accept five two-barrel carburetors. While the configuration never really caught on, it’s not as strange as it may look today.

The system above, apparently built up from a production Pontiac V8 intake manifold, uses five Rochester 2GC two-barrel carburetors laid out in an X pattern, with the center carb in the original stock location. The early Oldsmobile (1949-64) manifold in the lead photo is of similar configuration, and also includes Rochester-style carburetor mounting flanges.

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1950 Chevrolet 6 Cylinder with Speed Equipment, alternative Hot Rod power?


1950 Chevrolet 6 Cylinder with Speed Equipment

1950 Chevrolet 6 Cylinder with Speed Equipment, alternative Hot Rod power?

Saw this engine for sale on Hemming’s and it occurred to me that this would make a really cost effective alternative to either a hopped up four banger or a Flathead V8.

If it’s to go into Model A or B, then any Ford v Chevy sensibilities would need to be put to one side.

Based on the engine number: HAM196465, this appears to be a 1950 216 ci. It has Offenhauser valve cover, Newhouse intake, 2 Rochester carbs with linkage, Fenton exhaust.

This engine was running in a 1954 Chevy when I bought it many years ago. I bought it to go in an early Chevy pickup, but never used it. I have not run it since I bought it. Does not include engine stand. Would be best if you pick up.

The listing is here

Related – Hot rod Stovebolts and other Chevrolet six-cylinder memories

The Chevrolet inline 6 engine was Chevrolet’s sole engine from 1929 (when it replaced their 171-cubic-inch (2.8 L) inline 4) through 1954, and was the company’s base engine starting in 1955 when they added the small block V8 to the lineup. It was completely phased out in North America by 1990; in Brazil, GM held on to their fuel-injected version through the 1998 model year. It was replaced by more recently developed V6 and four-cylinder engines. Many popular cars and trucks, including the Chevrolet CamaroChevrolet Impala, and Chevrolet Suburban used the inline 6 as the base engine. Chevrolet did not offer another inline 6 until the 2002 General Motors Atlas engine‘s debut in the Chevrolet TrailBlazer. (from Wikipedia)

The Mysterious RayDay Cylinder Head – David Conwill @Hemmings


Just like the ’30s, bro

This Winfield intake, Cyclone adapter (to install a Stromberg), and RayDay cylinder head were removed from a Model A in 1956. Images courtesy Evan Bailly and as noted.

We are suckers for vintage speed equipment. The hobby of making inexpensive cars faster goes way back—it predates the term “hot rod” by decades. While some names have been around for ages and are so well-established that they’ve become background noise, there are far more companies that tried to enter the business of hop-up parts and didn’t make it. Some folded their tents entirely, but others had come from the more-general auto-supply business and returned to that.

Read David’s excellent article here