Tag: Flathead Ford

How to Identify the Ford Flathead V8 – For Newbies – Nate Cooper @TheFlatspot

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The Ford Flathead V-8 engine powered Ford and Mercury vehicles from 1932 to 1954. The Ford Flathead is a valve-in-block engine and the valves open adjacent to the combustion chamber, rather than from the top, as in later engines. The four different V-8 flathead displacement sizes between 1932 and 1953 are 136, 221, 239 and 337 cubic inches.

STEP 1 – THE OBVIOUS THINGS TO LOOK FOR

One of the easiest ways to start ID’ing your flathead is to look at the heads. Ignore the castings numbers. Focus on the type of head itself. Flathead heads have 3 main shapes. Your going to mainly focus on the Water outlets.
Also, Don’t assume you know what your flathead is internally because of the casting on the heads. That’s because Flathead heads where commonly replaced. If the motor was not commonly serviced at a Ford dealer, the heads you got where the ones sitting on the shelf. This is why it is almost never accurate to use the Heads casting marks to ID your flathead.

If your heads look like this, you’re rocking a 1932-1936 Ford Flathead. First gen flatty’s are more rare and how the whole things started. Congratulations. This was a great little power hose. The engine is harder to build than others years as the parts can be harder to find and more expensive. But we here in the Flat-Spot can help you find almost anything you need.

If your outlets look like this you have a 1937-1948 range flathead. These where a more common flathead and they are honestly the most eclectically desirable. There are two version of this head early heads had 21 studs where the later engines had 24. So that might also help you when it comes to narrowing your year down.

If you have very small Heads that look like these and your Flathead seems really small. Notice how they don’t have water outlets near the top neck. These heads are off a V860. The mini v8 form 1937-1941 which ford put out to try and capitalize on his company’s popularity for the cheap and economical V8. It was fords original goal to not offer an inline 6. But rather produce a Mini V8 to take on the larger sizes that pushed the inline 4 out of favor. This engine was not ideal for the larger Ford cars, but found a second life in small engine racing. The V860 was very popular with Midget race cars, speed boats, and some industrial applications like welders, compressors and water pumps due to their small size.

If your heads have the outlet in the front then lucky you. You have a 8BA flathead which ran from 1948-1953… 1954 if your Canadian. These engines where the last series in the continental US to be made and have some of the best Flathead’s had to offer when it comes to stock performance and engineering. As many of the issues had been resolved.

COUNTING YOUR STUDS

Take a Look at the Head Studs. Count the number of studs on the cylinder heads. According to Van Pelt Sales’ Ford Flathead Specifications web page, the count is as follows: all 136-cubic-inch engines have 17 studs, all 337-cubic-inch have 24 studs, 1932 to 1937 221-cubic-inch engines have 21 studs, 1938 to 1948 221- and 239-cubic-inch engines have 24 studs. The 1949 to 1953 239- and 255-cubic-inch engines have 24 bolts rather than 24 studs with nuts.


STEP 3 – SPARK CAN TELL YOU A LOT

This is the first gen Helmet style distributor. These are commonly also referred to as the Foot Ball Distributor. They ran from 1932-1941. This style came in with a 2 bolt and 3 bolt coil. I am told that the 2 bolt is the older version

This is the second gen 2 bolt distributor. These ran from 1941-1945 and are commonly called the Crab Style Distributor.

This distributor was common from 1946-1948. Because of war surplus the crab style cap is more commonly seen on the later engines. Due to popularity that style commonly replaced this version. The caps are interchangeable.

If your distributor is upright like a modern ignition system then your engine is a 8ba. This was the first year of adjustable timing, that could be done on the car while it was operating. Before they could only be adjusted on a bench with a specific tool.

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AMERICA’S BEST ENGINE SHOPS 2022 | H&H FLATHEADS – @EngineBuilder

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Despite not being a fancy, state-of-the-art set up, Mike and his team at H&H have a great thing going. The equipment does exactly what it needs to, his team is experienced and the shop has built thousands of vintage engines for customers everywhere!

It’s not every day that a photoshoot for Rod & Custom is what pushes you over the edge into engine building, but that’s exactly what got Mike Herman to begin his journey building V8s. Of course, this photoshoot wasn’t Mike’s first time being around engines, but before that moment, he hadn’t taken time to learn and understand the work. 

Mike’s father, Max Sr., started an engine shop back in 1972 doing Model A work. As Mike tells the story, he was just out of college and decided to join his dad at a car show in Scottsdale, AZ where Jim Rizzo of Rod & Custom came through the booth.

“He asked if we wanted to do a Flathead article,” Herman recalls. “My dad said, ‘Sure, we’ll do it.’ He stuffed me in all the pictures. I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t even know how to work a boring bar or anything. The issue took like nine months to come out, and it was like 10 pages in one issue, and then nine pages the next. The phone never stopped ringing, and I just had to learn on the fly. I shadowed my dad to learn all the tech and read whatever I could. I learned how to break everything and fix everything.”

That push into engine building was exactly what Mike needed, who said he might be working a desk job otherwise. Herman soon took what he learned from his dad and started his own shop, H&H Flatheads in La Crescenta, CA in 2003 – March 2023 will be the shop’s 20th anniversary. 

At just 44 years old today, Herman has successfully built a name for himself and his shop in the vintage V8 world, focusing on Ford Flatheads, Lincoln Flathead V8s and V12s, Y blocks, Hemis, early Cadillacs, Nailheads, and others. 

“I was fortunate enough to enter the industry at the right time, because within two years, I bought Navarro Racing Equipment from Barney Navarro,” Herman says. “That was perfect timing because I was up and coming and he was retiring. Since then, I’ve acquired seven other companies. I have eight vintage speed equipment companies under my H&H Flatheads brand.”

Now, Herman gets to add one more accolade to his shop’s name – Engine Builder’s and Autolite’s 2022 America’s Best Vintage Engine Shop award. H&H Flatheads is a modest shop on the surface – around 3,000 sq.-ft. of space, Kwik-Way boring bars, Sunnen hones, a Hines digital balancer, a Storm Vulcan surfacer, some hot tanks, and tons and tons of old and new engine parts.

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A Flathead-Powered 1932 Ford Roadster You Have to See to Believe – Tim Bernsau @HotRod

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Engineered by Troy Trepanier to set land speed records on the Bonneville Salt Flats, this flathead-powered 1932 Ford roadster had SEMA attendees going nuts.


Booking it through the SEMA Show’s central hall, we got caught in a multi-person pileup at the AM Hot Rod Glass booth. The cause of it all? A built-for-Bonneville 1932 Ford roadster that might be the wickedest flathead-powered Deuce we’ve ever seen.


Matt Jewell of Davenport, Iowa, had been a dirt track racer and drag racer before getting into land speed racing at Bonneville. The Jewell Group Motorsports team built the roadster in 2015 to go after the XF Gas Roadster class record of just over 161 mph. The XF/GR class is for roadsters running pre-1953 Flathead engines, which must be normally aspirated and fed by carburetors or mechanical fuel injection.

The roadster body is a steel 1932 Ford reproduction from Brookville. The chassis features suspension parts familiar to anybody into traditional hot rods, including a 3-inch dropped tubular front axle, 1940 Ford spindles, and classic wishbone-style radius rods, along with a Winters quick-change rearend. A Liberty air-actuated five-speed transmission backs up the flathead.

The XF/GR record of just over 161 mph was set in 2012. Jewell was determined to beat it but was having no success, and turned to Troy Trepanier at Rad Rides by Troy for help. “He was hitting a wall,” said Rad Rides fabricator Adam Banks. “Part of it was aerodynamics and part of it was the horsepower he was getting out of his engines.”

At Rad Rides by Troy, the engine was filled with Devcon epoxy and machined. “There were a lot of trials and changes,” Adam said. “We flow-tested different blocks to find out what the best cfm was and kept changing the combustion chambers. We ended up increasing the cfm almost 150 percent without losing a lot of compression. Switching the intake and exhaust ports—which is why the exhaust comes out through the top of the engine—helped with the flow. “

Related: America’s Most Beautiful Roadster 2022 Is a Breathtaking ’34 Chevy Built by Troy Trepanier

The billet aluminum cylinder heads that got so much attention at SEMA were custom machined at Rad Rides. Cooling runs through the heads; an oil-squirter system cools the pistons and cylinders walls from underneath.

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A Short History of the Flathead -@ModernDriveline

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A Short History and Evolution of the Flathead V8, and Making It Modern

Back in 1932, Henry Ford introduced the 221 cubic inch Flathead engine producing 65 HP. And by 1935 HP was increased to 85 HP.  Those engines were produced from 1932 to 1938 and were commonly known as “21 stud engines”, due to the head design using 21 head studs

In 1937 Ford introduced a 136 cubic inch variant, producing 45hp.
This engine was only in production from 1937 through 1938.
Although the engine was efficient, it was not very popular with the American public, who were now used to the 85 HP engine.
The 136 cubic inch engine was discontinued at the end of 1938 when the new Inline 6-cylinder Flathead was introduced.

1938 saw the first major redesign of the 221 cubic inch Flathead engine, with the addition of more head studs, now totaling 24 studs. In 1939 the cubic inches were increased to 239 cubic inches and produced 95hp.  These engines remained in production until 1948.
During World War II, 1943-1946, no engines were manufactured for the public due to the war effort (or at least, that I am aware of at the time of this writing). 

The main characteristic of Flathead engines relating to Modern DriveLine, is the back of the engine block. 
The 1932-1947 59A block casting utilized a ½ bell ring over the flywheel. The lower ½ ring was removable to provide access to remove and replace the Clutch, flywheel, and rear seal.

In 1948-1953 8BA/RT blocks no longer had the cast ½ ring.
Ford now used a single stamped metal bell ring for cars or a cast metal bell ring for trucks.  

The intermediate ring with 3” depth, was used over the flywheel and clutch and used to attach transmission to the engine.
In 1948 to 1951, Ford produced the 337 cubic inch engine used in Lincoln cars and the F7 and F8 trucks.
Known as the 8EL in the Lincoln cars and 8EQ in heavy-duty trucks, these engines produced more horsepower and torque and weighed over 850 lbs.
These engines are physically larger and used 27 head studs and used a 12” clutch. Although this is a V8 flathead, very few parts from the 59A or 8BA engines are interchangeable.

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More New Flatheads – The Re-Engineered Model A Engine

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A couple of years ago I did a post on the re-engineering of the Model A Engine by Terry Burtz, you can find the article here

Since that time things have moved on massively and Terry is in full production and selling not only the engine to the public but also many other ancillaries to match.

The new “Burtz” Ford Model A engine block is now available!  It features a 5-main bearing design and includes a dynamically balanced crankshaft and set of connecting rods. 
All remaining components needed to complete the engine build are stock Model A Engine parts. 

These include flywheels, cylinder heads and camshafts with probably more to follow

Also on the very comprehensive site are all the technical data and ordering information for this excellent piece of engineering.

The site is here

The 1932 Clobes Special, the First Street Rod? – @Wheels Through Time

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The 1932 Clobes Special is one of the most talked about cars in the collection at Dale’s Wheels Through Time. Regarded as “The First Street Rod,” it was custom built by Cletus Clobes of Mt. Pulaski, IL in 1932. The car started as a 1932 Ford Model C and then the entire body was customized including chopped leather top, new interior, dropped axles, Z’d frame, and custom fenders

AutoHunter Spotlight: 1936 Ford Deluxe Roadster -David P. Castro @Classic Cars.com

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Featured on AutoHunter, the online auction platform driven by ClassicCars.com, is this 1936 Ford Deluxe Roadster.

The maroon lacquer with red pinstriping exterior was reportedly repainted several years ago. It features a 4-piece hood, chrome bumpers, a chrome grille, dual headlights with body-color buckets, and a tilting windshield.

It rides on black steel wheels with V8-logo center caps, trim rings, and whitewall bias-ply tires.

“The bench seat, interior trim, and door panels are upholstered in brown vinyl,” the listing states. “Features include a tan vinyl floor mat and a floor-mounted manual shifter. Additional features include a keyed steering wheel lock, an original AM radio with a speaker, a body-color steel dashboard with a simulated woodgrain fascia, and a brown 3-spoke banjo steering wheel. The seller notes that some seams on the base of the driver’s seat are coming apart.”

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1935 Ford V8 Spider With A Rare Viotti Body – Henry Kelsall @HotCars

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RM Sotheby’s is one of the biggest auction houses in the whole of the United States. And they often have some truly stunning cars up for sale, be it classic Mercedes Gullwings or iconic Maserati race cars.

This car up for sale though is truly sensational. It is a 1935 Ford V8 Spider, and it is possible that this was the sole Ford car bodied by Carrozzeria Viotti of Turin. This car forms part of Sotheby’s Monterey auction in August 2022.

This car is a far cry from the standard machines you would expect to see a Ford V8 engine in. The results of the Viotti metalwork and the Ford V8 though are truly stunning. Allegedly, the car got built at the request of Count Giovanni “Johnny” Lurani, an Italian count who was also a noted racing driver.

The car also at some point found itself in Argentina, before its discovery in the 1960s and then exportation to the United States. This is where it remained in a private collection for some four decades before it was then acquired by Oscar Davis in 2015.

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Randy Breternitz right in his element – Dave Shane @MidlandDailyNews

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Randy Breternitz of Midland looks over a 1950 Ford flathead six industrial motor on the grounds of the Midland Antique Engine Association. Dave Shane/for the Daily News

At an early age, Randy Breternitz of Midland became interested in farm tractors and the engines that powered them.

“I grew up on a farm and I was around the stuff early on,” Breternitz said. “I was always working with my hands on stuff.”

Now, after spending 46 years as a truck driver, the now-retired Breternitz is getting all the mechanical challenge he can handle as the property manager at the 13 acres of the Midland Antique Engine Association at 3326 S. Meridian Road. The non-profit club has a mission to spread the history and mechanics of engines, tractors and other large equipment.

The group has about 90 families that are members. Breternitz noted that you don’t even have to own a tractor or engine to belong.

If you like antique engines, “this is the place for you,” he said. “All you have to do is have an interest.

Breternitz has a history of getting old things to work again. He has refurbished both a 1949 Allis-Chalmers Model C and a 1962 Oliver 550. He and his 17-year-old grandson are now tackling a 1953 Ford Jubilee.

He said there are two ways to tackle an old tractor. Some like to make it look almost as nice as it looked the day it was sold. Others like to make it operate, but keep the rust and age just the way they were before it was fixed.

And other club members are more into tractor pulls and competitions.

Breternitz said the club has a refurbished sawmill, a couple of old threshers, a 1913 engine from the Porter Oil Field, a blacksmith shop, a museum and a general store among the many things on its grounds.

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The Rearview Mirror: One-Upping Chevy; the 1932 Ford V-8 – Larry Printz @TheDetroitBureau

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Chevrolet was eating Ford’s lunch. But Henry had a better idea.

It’s 1932, the height of the Great Depression. Nearly a quarter of all Americans are out of work. What money is being earned buys less, as a 1931 dollar is worth 90 cents in 1932.

The President, Herbert Hoover, is a pariah — so much so that during his re-election campaign, Detroit’s mounted police are called to protect the president from jobless auto workers chanting “Hang Hoover.”

Of course, things aren’t going well for automakers either.

The previous year, 1931, Ford sold 395,000 Model As, down significantly from the million-plus vehicles sold in 1929. But the whole industry is down, having sold 1.1 million units, down from 4.5 million in 1929. 

But the slump in sales hadn’t deterred Henry Ford’s plan to beat Chevrolet: build a Ford with a V-8 engine. Unheard of in a mainstream car, it was introduced 90 years ago this week, at the height of the Great Depression.

Henry Ford, above, developed an affordable 8-cylinder engine that could be mass-produced cheaply in a single casting.

A wild idea to top Chevy

Whereas Ford once commanded 50% of the car market with his Model T, his refusal to change it gave competitors a chance to catch up, offering more power, more comfort, more amenities and colors other than black. And it wasn’t just Chevrolet. Mid-priced brands like Oldsmobile, Nash, Dodge, Hudson and others nibbled away at his dominance. While Ford still had the industry’s largest market share, it was sliding. By 1926, it stood at 36 percent.

By 1932, Chevrolet topped Ford with more style and more cylinders, as seen on this the 1932 Chevrolet BA Confederate Deluxe Phaeton . Photo Credit: RM Auctions.

The Model T was losing its luster.

So Ford shut down his factories as he developed his next car, the Model A. It would be a sea change from the Model T, with markedly better performance, thanks to its 200.5 cubic-inch 4 cylinder that produced 40 horsepower, double that of the Model T. It boasted a far more modern design and employed a 3-speed manual transmission, rather than the T’s planetary gearbox. 

But while Ford’s factory shutdown cost him the lead in sales, it would reverse itself in 1928, with the arrival of the Model A. By mid-1929, Ford sold 2 million of them.

While Ford thought the car was good enough to last a decade, Chevrolet one-upped him, introducing its 60-horsepower “Stovebolt Six” and overtaking Ford. 

Something had to be done. 

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