The Flathead Ford is still the engine of cool for traditionalists in the Hot Rod & Custom Car worlds. Here on the blog I always like to feature items and articles that spread the Flathead word & its storied history. This article from Ryan at the Jalopy Journal is from 2006, and is excellent!
The gleaming classic looks to be in exceptionally fine condition
With evocative aerodynamic styling and powered by an L-head V12 engine, the Lincoln Zephyr was conceived by Edsel Ford as a midsize luxury craft for the very well-to-do, with hand-crafted production beginning in 1936.
The Pick of the Day is a 1940 Lincoln Zephyr convertible, widely considered to be among the most elegant model years, and which represented something of an end and a beginning for the Ford division before the war years intervened.
The Zephyr was the final pre-war design for Lincoln, with the Zephyr name dropped once production resumed after the war. But 1940 saw the beginning of the Continental nameplate, another Edsel Ford concept, which became Lincoln’s longest-running brand. Along with that came the rear-mounted spare tire on the Zephyr that became an enduring feature of Lincoln design.
“Edsel Ford rebelled against his father’s mass-market sensibilities by building a car for people in his substantial wealth class,” notes the Lutz, Florida, dealer advertising the Lincoln on ClassicCars.com. “He emphasized design, which means these first-generations show their boldness with sleek lines rather than adding chrome. This was the car he could have proudly driven in Europe with its waterfall grille, lowered stance, and deleted running boards.
“These were both beautiful and expensive, and so only about 700 examples were hand-built in 1940.”
In its latest video celebrating million-dollar cars, the Petersen Automotive Museum takes an in-depth look at President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s armored 1942 Lincoln, just in time for Presidents’ Day
Petersen’s chief historian Leslie Kendall gives this tour from the museum’s Vault, where this Lincoln can usually be found surrounded by other cars that were used by various international heads of state.
This armored limousine is significant because it’s the first presidential car delivered to the White House with armoring from the factory. Commissioned from Ford, the hulking V-12 sedan arrived with a number of safety measures installed, including steel plating on the floorboards, roof, and transmission tunnel. Even the flathead V-12 under the hood got an extra layer of protection. The glass—which, strangely, occupants could still roll down—is nine sheets thick
As the story goes, back in 1944, a guy with a quick quarter horse won countless bets challenging hot cars to a race. This roadster, however, had a reputation as the quickest car in the San Fernando Valley. With Pete Henderson behind the wheel, in a specially staged race held in La Habra, and witnessed by a large crowd, including speed equipment gurus Vic Edelbrock Sr., Ed Winfield, and Phil Weiand, this deuce was the only car that ever won. Ernie McAfee took a famous grainy photo showing the roadster edging out the horse. Noted hot rod racer Ak Miller and writer Gray Baskerville always said they could trace the origins of ¼-mile drag racing to that famous contest.
Please take a look at Terry Burtz’s Model A engine project, potentially very exciting!
Automotive engine design and analyses has changed dramatically and is vastly improved since the Ford Model A engine was designed and analyzed in 1927. Have you ever wondered why even the best rebuilt or highly modified Model A engine has a useful life that is just a small fraction of the useful life of a modern engine? This article will attempt to answer that question and present an engineering design study that demonstrates what can be accomplished by substituting four redesigned parts into a Model A engine. By substituting these four redesigned parts, a stock appearing Model A engine can have the reliability and longer life of a modern engine, and a hot-rodded engine will have a much higher probability of staying together. Readers of this article will also learn about modern engineering methodology, understand the reasoning behind engineering design decisions, and learn how a collection of sand cores can come together to form the cavities of a complex casting. For additional information, readers are encouraged to do Internet searches on the words, phrases, and terminology used in this article. This article presents a summary of what has been accomplished. And lastly, this article has been written to determine if there is enough interest for this engineering study to continue and become real hardware. I apologize for the length of this article, but there is a vast amount of information to present.
A brand new Flathead V8 block with a lot of the inherent issues from the original engineered out.
The perfect Ford-Mercury block! Outstanding casting quality thanks to modern foundry technology.
– Brand new, no cracks, no rust. High nickel content steel.
– Stronger everywhere it needs to be with thicker decks and main bearing bulkheads and larger main-bearing caps.
– Mains are aligned honed.
– 3-3/16-inch standard bore.
– 59AB-type bellhousing with 8BA refinements for improved coolant flow. Requires 1938-1948 oil pan.
– Drilled and tapped to accept 8BA or truck waterpumps.
– Drilled and tapped to accept either early (center outlet) or late (forward outlet) heads.
– Factory relieved (won’t accept Ardun heads).
– Bellhousing CNC-machined to fit Ford firewalls without modification.
– Long center head bolts (required) and rear main seal retainer are included.
– Glyptol painted valve-lifter valley, timing case, and crankshaft chamber for fast oil drain back
In their stock configuration and the way French flathead blocks have been sold previously the bosses, casting numbers, and pads for military applications do not fit most Ford passenger car applications without firewall modifications. SF Flathead blocks are precision milled to remove the unsightly “lumps.” Only a pad remains that carries a SF Flatheads serial number. Stop searching for a savable old Henry lump. This strong, high-nickel casting is the last flathead block you’ll ever need! Please call for availability. Truck shipping required. Rate quoted at order
Same high-quality new casting as the standard block plus:
– Original flow restriction in bowl removed and enlarged for uniform volume and increased flow.
– Intake ports machined larger and straightened for improved flow.
– Exhaust ports machined larger and radiused to improve exhaust gas flow.
Please call for availability. Truck shipping required. Rate quoted at order.
All features of our stage – 1 and 2 block plus the following:
– Lifter bores cut and drilled for ease of adjusting lifters
– Grind valve seats open to 1.6 on either intake, exhaust, or both at customer request
– Valve bowls smoothed and polished
– Exhaust ports polished and matched to customer provided headers
– Intake ports polished and matched to customer provided intake manifold
– Rear oil galley drilled and opened for full flow oil filter adapter system
Footnote – The engines have disappeared from the So-Cal site the link now goes to their Flathead page
I’d also suggest watching this thread on the HAMB as it appears a little lively on this subject!
Before there was NASCAR, before twisting race tracks were known for their road-racing antics, and almost before the Indianapolis 500, there was Elgin, Illinois. Located roughly 35 miles from Chicago, Elgin was the place where speed came of age, and terms such as “stock cars” were used in their truest sense.
We often think of hot rodding as a post-WWII phenomenon, but if one traveled the streets of Elgin, even before the first World War, you might have a different reality. Starting in 1910, the streets of Elgin, Illinois would once a year, turn from the typical commuter route to a roaring race track featuring some of the biggest names in racing. Noted drivers such as Eddie Rickenbacker, Cliff Durant, the son of GM founder, Billy Durant; Ralph DePalma, and Fred Frame all competed with others on this early version of automotive competition.
The Elgin Road Races were held in 1910-1915, 1919, and 1920. They were halted during World War I and were only brought back after the 1920 race as part of the World’s Fair that was being held in Chicago in 1933. In 1933, there were actually two races held. There was an “open” class, which was won by Phil “Red” Shafer, and a “stock car” race, comprised of production vehicles powered by engines less than 231 cubic-inches. It was during this race that this particular car came into prominence. One year after Henry Ford introduced the all-new flathead Ford V8, several automobiles powered by this new engine were dominating the twisting course at Elgin. The video below shows antics from both classes of cars during that race.
Popular with French celebrities at the time, the Comète is often overlooked when considering Ford’s best designs. To this day, the coachbuilt coupé is easily one of, if not the, most attractive Ford ever built and sold to the public.
The V-8 powered Fords were both large for the European market and expensive. Not only were they more costly to produce but the French taxation system severely penalized cars powered by engines larger than 2.0 liters.
Lehideux turned to the same consortium of Stabilimenti Farina and Facel-Métalion that had produced the Simca Huit-Sport. It’s likely the motivations behind Farina and Facel-Métalion coming on board were that Ford was a stronger distribution partner than Simca and that the Ford V8 was far more powerful than the Fiat-derived Simca 1.1 L engine.
By European standards, the Comète was a sizeable car. It measured 182” long and 55” inches high, about the same as a current BMW 4-Series. In comparison to the modern BMW, it was narrower by 10”. Weight was hefty for the time at 2,844 lbs.
The open-wheel single seater is said to be ready for vintage racing or man-cave décor
Midget racers were big in the mid-20th Century, scaled-down versions of Indy 500 cars that skittered around oval tracks with full-size performance.
Chief among them were the Kurtis-Kraft Midgets created by iconic race car designer Frank Kurtis to bring high-performance competition within reach of teams and drivers on a budget. They also were gorgeous pieces of kinetic art.
The Pick of the Day is a Midget racer built in the late ’40s, although the manufacturer is unknown, according to the Macedonia, Ohio, dealer advertising the car on ClassicCars.com. The little critter runs and drives well and has competed in historic racing in recent years, the seller says in the ad.
The car you see here is a 1932 Ford Roadster, and its biggest claim to fame is that it has an original Ardun head V-8 engine equipped with a blower. According to the seller, one of the biggest questions he’s asked is how he found an original Ardun for the car. He says that you don’t find them, they tend to find you. He found the engine in the 1932 Ford Roadster from a guy in Illinois who had pulled it from a 1933 Ford roadster.
The goal of the build was to create a vintage 1933 Ford roadster hot rod with correct vintage hot rod parts from the 50s in combination with original Ford and Brookville parts to create a Bondo-free car. The seller says that it took many years to round up all of the rare parts in the vehicle. Those parts include vintage Halibrand Quick Change magnesium wheels, Hilborn injection 471 blower, a one-off Art Chrisman intake manifold, Duvall windshield, and a close drive transmission with overdrive so that the car was streetable.