Tag: Ford Flathead V8 – 1932 thru 1953

Ford Flathead V8 Specifications – VanPelt Sales LLC

Ford Flathead V8 Specifications – VanPelt Sales LLC


Really useful Ford Flathead V8 specification reference page from VanPelt Sales

The Flathead V8 engines produced by Ford Motor Company included basically three versions. The most popular being the 85-125hp that was first produced in 1932, and continued until 1953 (except for Canadian and Australian production which ended in 1954). Ford also designed and produced a smaller 60hp flathead V8 engine from 1937 until 1940. Lastly, the big 337 cubic inch flathead V8 engine, which was produced mainly for truck use and for Lincoln cars from 1948 to 1951. Ford’s flathead V8 engines when introduced in 1932 were the first mass-production V8’s where the block and cylinder assembly were poured as one single casting.

Click on the links below for general descriptions, general specifications, and tune-up specifications on each series engine. Horsepower and torque curves are available on some

Click here for the information

So-Cal Speedshop SF Flatheads Stage 1 to 3 Mercury/Ford Flathead V8 Blocks


Stage 1

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

Stage 2


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.

Stage 3 


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!

History-Making Hot Rod At Mecum – Andy Bolig @RodAuthority


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.

Read on

Remember When You Just Couldn’t Wait to Get Behind the Wheel? – Pete McCommons @Flagpole.com


At a recent birthday supper, Sonny Thurmond, Bill Boswell and I entertained our wives with stories of our underage driving while growing up in Greensboro. The ability to drive, the freedom to do it and an available automobile marked a dramatic rite of passage out of the world of childhood—a trip we were longing to take. If you couldn’t drive, you were still just a kid.

Bill’s family had a new Buick and a long driveway, and they early on allowed him to drive on their lot. We would all pile in, and Bill would chauffeur us to the end of the driveway, returning in reverse: back and forth all afternoon. We admired Bill extravagantly, and he became a very good driver and put it to good use when he managed concessions at his father’s drive-in movie, picking up the food to be prepared and the preparers and taking them all out to work. Not sure if this occurred before or after his learner’s license.

When you got your learner’s license, that was it. You were street legal in Greensboro. The chief of police and the sheriff knew exactly how old we were, but around town, we were OK, even without the learner’s. Without wheels, though, we couldn’t compete, a fact painfully impressed upon me the last time my mother drove me to my girlfriend’s home, so that we could walk to a movie. Plenty of older boys were ready to drive her to the movies, and they soon did. She was no longer a kid, but I still was, because my driving at that point was only when my father needed me.

We had a 1951 Ford flathead V-8, in case that means anything to you. Those things would run. My father was a fast driver and taught me how to drive fast—I suppose on the assumption that the best he could do was at least prepare me for it.

Read on

Canadian Flathead Block Identification By Fred Mills


Canadian Flathead Block Identification By Fred Mills


Useful information on identifying Canadian Flathead engine blocks from Fred Mills over at the Flathead Ford Support Group.

A list of the production line blocks, this list does not include replacement blocks:

  • 1932 – straight down drain cocks, no recessed area at front of motor
  • 1933 – early had angled drain cocks, no recessed area at front of motor
    • late had angled drain cocks, start of recessed area
  • 1934 – same as late 33
  • 1935 – start of crankcase ventilation, late castings have insert mains
  • 1936 – insert mains and poured mains mixed in production
  • 1937 – relocated water pumps
  • 1938 – early, same as 37
    • late, 24 stud heads
  • 1939 – Ford similar to 38 with larger mains
    • Mercury larger bore
  • 1940 – same as 39 both Ford and Mercury
  • 1941 – No freeze plugs in oil pan rail, intake area now looks raised
  • 1942 – same as 41 both Ford and Mercury
  • WW2 – no one really knows
  • 1946 – the 59 series engines, valve angle changed, fails pencil test, etc
  • 1947 – same as 46
  • 1948 – cars same as 46-47. new pickups get 8BA
  • 1949 – 8BA: removable bell housing, changed water passages
  • 1950 – 8BA sometime around here the intake valve seats were eliminated
  • 1951 – 8BA
  • 1952 – 8BA sometime around here the exhaust valve seats were eliminated
  • 1953 – 8BA
  • 1954 – Canadians and others used 8BA for last year, no USA flatheads

Here is the 221-239-255 cube flathead block story with pictures, to the best of my knowledge and ability to collect pictures so far.

Read the rest of Canadian Flathead Block Identification By Fred Mills here 

RelatedFord Flathead V8 – The engine that gave birth to Hot Rodding is back!!

Picking A Good Flathead Block


Picking A Good Flathead Block

Good article from Nate Cooper at the Flathead Ford Support Group on how to pick a good Flathead V8 engine block

Read the story here

Related – The Life Cycle of the Ford Flathead V8: 1932 – 1953 – Albuquerque Tumbleweed Ford Flathead V8 Club

The Forgotten “Elvis Roadster” is For Sale! – Zach Martin @HotRod


The Forgotten “Elvis Roadster” is For Sale! – Zach Martin @HotRod

On August 31, 2019 the roadster that Elvis Presley drove in the hit film Loving You will be auctioned off in the Kruse GWS Auction titled The Artifacts of Hollywood & Music at the Hollywood Hard Rock Café. This car only had one owner, and it wasn’t The King. It was owned and built by hot rodding pioneer John Athan in 1937. It is a Ford Model A body sitting atop 1932 Ford frame rails powered by a Flathead V8 with twin Stromberg carburetors.

The car was driven by Elvis himself in his first role in the 1957 film Loving You. It was all but forgotten even by his biggest fans because according to GWS Auctions, Athan had a lot of sentimental attachment. So much so that one of the biggest music and pop culture icons, Elvis Presely, couldn’t even buy it.

Read the article here

Related – Rare Vintage Photos of Deuce Roadsters Racing on California’s Dry Lakes – Robert Genat, Don Cox – Photographer

Engines Exposed: Ford’s Hot Rodding Pioneer Flathead V8 – Brian Grabianowski @CARBUZZ


The engine that started it all.

By now V8s are popular enough for just about every auto manufacturer to have one of their own. Even Mazda developed a V8 for a luxury brand, Amanti that was eventually disbanded, but that V8 was never used. The first ever V8s were used in speedboats and aircraft around 1904, but it would be several more years before the V8 would find itself in the engine bay of a car. The red-letter year for a mass-produced, affordable production V8 was 1932 when Ford developed the Flathead V8, which at the time was just referred to as a Ford V8.
Read the article here

The Life Cycle of the Ford Flathead V8: 1932 – 1953 – Albuquerque Tumbleweed Ford Flathead V8 Club


Great timeline on the Ford Flathead V8 from Albuquerque Tumbleweed Ford Flathead V8 Club

Read all the interesting facts and figures here




In the age of mass production, a man could change the world with a single idea. Henry Ford had several. With the Model T, Ford was not the first to conceive of a car for the masses, but was the first to accomplish it. Other ideas that made the Model T possible, including the moving assembly line and the five-dollar day, weren’t originally his ideas either. But Ford made them his own by being the first to make them work. He was often credited for inventions not entirely his own, much like Ford’s hero Thomas Edison. To hear his critics tell it, Edison never had an original idea either.

Read more about Henry’s parting shot here