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.”
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Vast distinctions exist among overhauling, rebuilding, restoring, and blueprinting engines. As a customer, you should know exactly what you are seeking from a machine shop. Communication, clarity, and a clear understanding of terminology are critical to achieving the desired result.
Basically, an overhaul could include deglazing cylinder walls,re-ringing existing pistons, a possible bearing change, and installing new gaskets, just to get the engine running. Rebuilding may include new parts but not necessarily complete machining of cylinder bores or crank grinding; it might require only a polish. Restoration usually includes all new parts and complete machining to factory specs as outlined in the factory manual. Blueprinting includes installing all new premium parts, complete machining to specified tolerances, balancing, and more to achieve optimum performance and durability.
Depending upon where you live, finding a machine shop to tackle your block may or may not be easy. The flathead is not a complicated engine, but it does have its idiosyncrasies, and a shop that typically rebuilds small-block Chevys might not be the place to go. We mean no disrespect, but the shop needs to know flatheads. If it doesn’t, don’t pressure the shop into learning or experimenting on yours. It might be a costly mistake for both parties.
Be sure to take plenty of photographs of your block and any little identifying marks it may have. You don’t want to hand over a fairly good block but receive a different and perhaps poorer-quality block after the work is done. You might even want to put your own mark on the block before handing it over or shipping it out of town.
I heard one story of a guy shipping a complete, brand-new rotating assembly to an engine builder. When the engine came back, however, it soon seized. Tearing it down revealed that the builder had switched out the good internals for a set of not-so-good originals. It pays to be aware of such possibilities.
It’s always smart to do plenty of research before you settle on a machine shop. You can learn a lot about a shop by checking the Internet, where people are quick to air their grievances. You can also ask fellow enthusiasts about their experiences. Caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) is the phrase to keep in mind
Blueprinting and Balancing
These words hold much mystique, and summon images of a black art. However, they mean nothing more than making sure that parts are balanced and that the engine is assembled to certain specifications and tolerances recommended by the manufacturer for optimum performance for the desired application, such as street use, racing, or touring.
If you are rebuilding a stock engine, it’s fairly easy to follow the Ford specifications found in the various service bulletins. Most people building hot rod engines use components from a variety of sources. Nevertheless, you should still follow specs for main bearing clearances, ring gap clearances, cam timing, head port and chamber volumes, torque for bolts, and so on.
Factory specs are parameters that suffice for mass-production engines (taking into account time, labor, materials, and so on). They meet the driving needs of the general public with a broad range of driving styles. A blueprinted engine meets and exceeds those factory parameters.
Theoretically, there is no tolerance for a blueprinted engine. It either is or it isn’t, and there’s no in-between. If you build two engines to factory specs, there will always be variances between rod and main bearing clearances, variances in piston clearances, deck height differences, valve-spring pressure differences, and intake and exhaust port and chamber volume differences. If you blueprint an engine for racing at Bonneville, for example, there should be no variances. It should be built to a specific race spec.
Properly blueprinting an engine takes many hours, a lot of patience, and a lot of skill. To achieve a properly running, reliable engine, you need to follow procedures and not just throw it all together.
Balancing is also worth worrying about, because a well-balanced engine is like a well-balanced checkbook: Keep it on the good side and life will be good. Theoretically, to do it correctly you should preass emble the engine before balancing the components, so that any subsequent machine process or task does not affect the balancing act. The order of the day is: pre-assemble, machine if necessary, and balance.
If you are running a mixture of aftermarket components (crank, rods, pistons, and so on, all from different suppliers), it is essential to balance the parts. Of course, you can avoid this work if you buy a rotating assembly from one manufacturer. Even if you do, it is still worth checking the parts for quality. I was a crank grinder in my youth, and there were days when I ground good cranks and days when I was in a hurry and just wanted to get it done. Those grinds were within tolerance but were not my best work.
Weight matching and dynamic balancing are the two steps to balancing an engine.
To weight match, you weigh the pistons and the rods individually on a balancing scale to determine the lightest of each. Then, remove a little metal from each, until all of the pistons weigh the same as the lightest piston and all of the rods weigh the same as the lightest rod. Parts are usually measured within .25 gram.
A balancing fulcrum is also used to determine how heavy a rod is at either end. If a rod is a little heavier on the big end (the main bearing end), a little weight is removed from that end to balance the rod. (The procedure employed at H&H is outlined in this chapter.)
Dynamic balancing is the process of balancing the rotating assembly, including crank, rods, and pistons. Although the crank itself is put in the balancer, bob weights are installed to replicate the rod and piston assemblies. Be sure to record all of the weights for the rods, pistons, and associated components; they will be needed later when you balance the crank.
Almost no factory production engine comes precision balanced. Even some so-called performance engines aren’t balanced to within 1 gram, as are the engines balanced by H&H on its Hines electronic balancer.
Does balancing make any difference? The answer is yes. According to Mike, “A well-balanced flathead makes for a smooth-running car. It produces efficient power by eliminating power-robbing vibration and imbalance.” A flathead is balanced internally, as opposed to a 454 Chevy, a 400 Chevy small-block, and 460 Ford trucks, which are balanced externally; each uses a harmonic balancer.
Balancing and Honing the Rods
Although the rods produced by companies such as Scat are extremely well balanced, Mike likes to double-check them because balancing flathead internals is important to a smooth-running engine. In addition, Mike suggests that if you’re reusing stock rods, you should definitely resize the big ends, because years of wear will have forced them out of round. Moreover, you should definitely balance them, because Ford’s tolerances were more liberal. Ford service bulletins give an acceptable weight of 451 to 455 grams; with a little care, all of the rods can weight exactly the same.
Assuming that your desire is a smooth-running, long-lasting engine, then taking your time and being careful will be rewarded. Precisely honing both rods is paramount.
You can balance connecting rods at home, and with a little care, you can match them exactly. You will enjoy a feeling of satisfaction for a job well done.
Every car nameplate has a beginning, and this is where the F-Series from Ford started, in 1948, with the F-1 pickup, a vehicle that made history by becoming the best-selling car in the world.
Just three years after WWII, Ford introduced the F-1 pickup on the market. The vehicle sparked a debate within the carmaker since it was not a truck nor a passenger vehicle. But it was exactly what the customers needed: a light utility vehicle that could take the average Joe to work and back. Soon, this vehicle became the most preferred vehicle by contractors, farmers, and self-employed workers.
While this F-1 pickup is far from what the F-Series became today, it reveals its true nature right from the start. It is definitely not a pampered vehicle. Despite the refreshed red paint, it sports the wear and tear of a working vehicle. It has some scars on the bodywork like it is still employed and works to bring food to the table for the entire family. The bed, although, was refreshed with new planks.
Inside, it is the same story. It’s the kind of cabin that shows boot-prints and worn plastic pieces. But, at first glance, the vinyl upholstery on the bench looks fine. There are some missing parts around, but nothing to worry about. Yet, I would ditch that plastic cup holder, even though it matches the car’s red color.
Canadian snowbirds are plentiful in Arizona this time of year, but this rare and unusual Mercury 2-door sedan seems to have roosted in the dry, warm climate permanently, judging by its remarkably original survivor condition.
The Pick of the Day is a 1947 Mercury 114x, which still wears its original 74-year-old paint and shows just 48,000 miles on its odometer, according to the Tucson, Arizona, dealer advertising the car on Classiccars.com.
The Mercury 114 was built by Ford of Canada for the home market as a more-affordable model, compared with the slightly bigger Mercury 118, the numbers noting the 114-inch and 118-inch wheelbases. The 114 was basically a rebadged and dressed-up Ford, although with a totally different grille treatment.
This sedan coupe, as Mercury called the 2-door configuration, is a rarely seen upmarket Super Deluxe version, designated by the x in its numeric name. It is therefore wearing some nice chrome accents and powered by Ford’s famous flathead V8, which in this model produces somewhere between 93 and 100 horsepower, the dealer says in the ad
Only a tiny percentage of the 10,393 Mercury 114s built for 1947 were Super Deluxe 114x models.
“The 1947 Mercury 114x offered here is one of only 34 produced for US and Canada, as noted in Jerry Heasley’s ‘The production figure book for U.S. cars’,” the seller says. “It remains largely original with only 48,000 original miles since new.
“The car is completely rust free and retains all of its original panels and floors. The paint is largely original and still shines very nice. It has multiple chips, dings, and scrapes from over 70 years of service. Both front fenders have had touch ups, but I cannot find anywhere else that has had paint work on the car.
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!
Most of us remember the Jensen brand from the 1960s and ‘70s, when it was equipping its British grand touring cars with American V8s, as well as providing the bones for the Jensen-Healey sports car.
But the Pick of the Day, a 1935 Jensen-Ford Shooting Brake, is a rare oddball that shows Jensen’s ingenuity from the prewar era. While the appearance seems like the kind of woody wagon that might have been built on a Rolls-Royce or Bentley chassis, a peak under the hood reveals a Ford flathead V8.
“This exceptionally rare Jensen-Ford Shooting Brake is the sole surviving example of an estimated two or three built in 1935,” according to the St. Louis, Missouri, dealer advertising the wagon on ClassicCars.com. “Based on a Canadian Ford Model 48 V8 chassis, it is one of the twenty-odd Fords imported and bodied by Jensen in the ‘30s.
“However, Jensen did much more than simply tack a new body onto the existing frame – to achieve their desired look and lower center of gravity, they repositioned the engine and lowered/raked the radiator, resulting in a dramatic and sporty appearance.”
This unusual shooting brake, as the British call 2-door wagons, was nearly lost to the ages after being stored away for more than 20 years.
“In the early 1980s, the car resurfaced via a Jensen Owner’s Club UK newsletter article, describing a wood-bodied Jensen in a complete but rather sorry state, lurking in a garage in Dorking, Surrey,” the seller explains. “With the threat of the car being sent to the breaker’s yard, the author issued a plea to save it.
“Help arrived when the owner contacted a fellow Jensen Club member for a valuation. When he saw the car sitting in the junkyard, he immediately decided to buy it and bring it home for restoration. A piano restorer by trade, the new owner painstakingly refurbished the ash framework, taking great strides to preserve as much of the original wood as possible.
The 1936 Ford Deluxe Sedan was an amazing value for its time. Despite being sold right in the middle of the worst economic crisis in American history, it was still a great selling car. It came standard with a “Flathead” V8, and wasn’t very expensive with a retail price of around $625. Come along as I walk through some of the interesting features of the car, and then take it out for a drive on modern roads.
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