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Hot Rods Best Ford power for your Model A, circa 1961?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Bigcheese327, Apr 30, 2012.

?

Best FoMoCo street motor, circa 1961

  1. 1948-1951 Lincoln/Truck Flathead

    3 vote(s)
    3.7%
  2. 1949-1953 Ford/Mercury Flathead

    23 vote(s)
    28.4%
  3. 1952-1961 Lincoln/Truck Y-block

    4 vote(s)
    4.9%
  4. 1954-1961 Ford/Mercury Y-block

    32 vote(s)
    39.5%
  5. 1958-1961 Ford/Edsel/Mercury FE

    10 vote(s)
    12.3%
  6. 1958-1961 Mercury/Edsel/Lincoln MEL

    9 vote(s)
    11.1%
  1. Bigcheese327
    Joined: Sep 16, 2001
    Posts: 6,305

    Bigcheese327
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    Curious to know what would have made the best street motor for a Model A coupe, circa 1961? I'm limiting things to postwar V8s and deliberately omitting the small-block Ford.

    In addition to your vote, please let me know your rationale.

    Thanks!
     
  2. scrap metal 48
    Joined: Sep 6, 2009
    Posts: 3,548

    scrap metal 48
    Member

    I would say the Ford flathead because of their abundance.....
     
  3. need louvers ?
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 11,887

    need louvers ?
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    None of the above... small block Chevy! Heh Heh...
     
  4. WornOutOldMan
    Joined: Nov 18, 2010
    Posts: 65

    WornOutOldMan
    Member
    from So Cal

    Well if you were talking 1964 I'd say 427 SOHC.
     
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  5. Bigcheese327
    Joined: Sep 16, 2001
    Posts: 6,305

    Bigcheese327
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    It would make sense. They were sort of the SBC of the time. No longer a technological frontrunner, but well-developed, firmly rooted in the performance consciousness, and with an abundance of speed parts available.

    True, HRM at the time is certainly full of 283s swapped into everything under the sun, but let's bench race about second place? Pretend I'm Doane Spencer and won't consider non-Ford power.
     
  6. Evel
    Joined: Jun 25, 2002
    Posts: 8,929

    Evel
    Member
    1. 60s Show Rods

    Old, Cadillac, Nailhead, Hemi.
     
  7. revkev6
    Joined: Jun 13, 2006
    Posts: 2,858

    revkev6
    Member
    from ma

    drop a 390 in it and call it a 352. a stock 390 will make more power than all but the raciest versions of anything else on that list. more reliable, cheaper, lots of parts still available....
     
  8. Bigcheese327
    Joined: Sep 16, 2001
    Posts: 6,305

    Bigcheese327
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    I'd call it an Edsel 361 probably. I've already got the valve covers.

    Are 390s really more powerful than a 430? Or are you making a power-to-weight statement?
     
  9. revkev6
    Joined: Jun 13, 2006
    Posts: 2,858

    revkev6
    Member
    from ma


    yeah, I forgot about the 430. pretty sure that is making more power than a stock 390 but with the weight difference and the cost of parts I think the 390 might win in the end.

    can you even get rebuild parts for those from anywhere other than kantor??
     
  10. born in the wrong era
    Joined: Jul 2, 2010
    Posts: 323

    born in the wrong era
    Member

    390 FE engine........if you want the best FoMoCo circa 1961 just a little biased though.
     
  11. Bigcheese327
    Joined: Sep 16, 2001
    Posts: 6,305

    Bigcheese327
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    Hard to argue with a 401 horse 390; but it's a lot of weight in the front...
     
  12. need louvers ?
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 11,887

    need louvers ?
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    My last answer was just for fun. I actually voted this time, and I cast my vote for a 8ba style flathead. They look just right, they are not too heavy, and they certainly pakage and work well. None of your choices sans the FEs ever really made tons of power in their streetable form, and in this case I would go with pretty. I have a super low opinion of Y blocks though...
     
  13. porknbeaner
    Joined: Sep 12, 2003
    Posts: 25,741

    porknbeaner
    Member


    Think hot rod Lincoln.

    In my time I haven't seen a lot of MEL/FE powered As. I have seen a few Y block powered A bones and a lot of those Lincoln motors.
     
  14. teddyp
    Joined: May 28, 2006
    Posts: 3,197

    teddyp
    Member

    in ford motors at that time you got to go with a y-block ford to many late overhead motors caddy,s nailhead,s old,s hemi,s they all made more h.p. then most hopped up flathead,and by 61 alot were running sbc,s
     
  15. willbe
    Joined: Feb 7, 2010
    Posts: 2,334

    willbe
    Member

    Around north central U.S. nobody used flatties for hot rods. I remember seeing hundreds of 'em rusting into oblivian behind old buildings and in junk yards and in ditches, even. Of course almost all of 'em had SBCs and a few caddy ohvs. Y-blocks were plentiful and cheap and horse power was getting up there. That woulda been my choice of what you offered.
     
  16. milwscruffy
    Joined: Aug 29, 2006
    Posts: 2,036

    milwscruffy
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  17. SOHC427
    Joined: Apr 5, 2009
    Posts: 868

    SOHC427
    Member

    Hummmm, Somehow, I must agree!
     
  18. Bigcheese327
    Joined: Sep 16, 2001
    Posts: 6,305

    Bigcheese327
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    Well, so far the Y-block is way out ahead. Perhaps more interestingly, the flathead (in second place) is beating the FE! No surprise that the orphaned Lincoln motors are in the bottom half, with the Rouge 337 flathead sucking the bottom.
     
  19. Russ B
    Joined: Jun 13, 2010
    Posts: 622

    Russ B
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    Back then, if Ford, it was a flathead, and when it wore out, or you wanted more power, in went a sbc. Simple reason for both, they fit, they were readily available, and lots of available speed equipment. Everything else took more money and time. Most rods were primary transportation and you wanted it back and running ASAP. Very few folks chose anything but a sbc when they put an ohv in their Model A, too much of a struggle to make it work.
     
  20. 32Tudor396
    Joined: Sep 14, 2010
    Posts: 163

    32Tudor396
    Member

    Dad told me a really good story about a t-bird 312 he had in 53 ford car...that was like a legend when I was a kid.
     
  21. FrozenMerc
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 1,599

    FrozenMerc
    Member

    In '61, Both the Flathead and Y-block would have been Cheap, Easy, and Reliable. But for pure smoke the tires, go way to fast fun, unlimited budget, the 1958 400 HP Super Marauder (430 MEL) would be the way to go.

    Fun Poll and thought experiment though.
     
  22. scrapiron
    Joined: Oct 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,145

    scrapiron
    Member

    Move up a couple years and go with a SBF, most bang for moderate weight gain, if any.
     
  23. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 19,541

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member

    Are we talking a Model A with basically stock layout or one that can have extra wheelbase?
    FE and MEL are heavy and large, with extra length added in front casing. Length would make them a hard install in a Model A of stock wheelbase, and they may even be too wide to recess into the wall.
    Lincoln FH is also heavy and bulky and not all that powerful. Practically no one was interested in that route then.
    Y block is closest modernish Ford fit, but is a worse fit than the older and usually bigger displacement/more power potential Cad and Olds choices. Those engines are not bad in length and overall fit and might even leave you room to bring your feet with you when you get into car. Older versions of these were the cheap choice for modern power in '61 too, newer versions are same bulk with lots more power and displacement. Ever notice that by '55 the soup your Y articles disappear from magazines and are replaced with swap your Y for anything GM or Chrysler articles???
    The hot and actually expensive choice in '61 would have been the SBC...it had been recognized as the perfect replacement for the flathead, and was still expensive because every one that hit the junkyard was IMMEDIATELY sold to a rodder...yes, 283's and even 265's were still actually scarce used in '61 because demand was practically infinite. The later and the more Vette goodies the more expensive; a good running takeout fronm a wreck was almost as expensive as a crate one from the dealer!
     
  24. Fenders
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 3,908

    Fenders
    Member


    That is the last motor I would put in my ride today (too belly button) but although you may have said that in fun, I believe in 1961 that would have been the most popular motor of choice.
     
  25. Bigcheese327
    Joined: Sep 16, 2001
    Posts: 6,305

    Bigcheese327
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    It must be a cultural artifact that if I had a '52-'53 Ford I'd want to install a Cadillac V8. That and Fordillac is fun to say.

    How do the dimensions on an Olds 371 or Cadillac 365 line up against the SBC?
     
  26. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 19,541

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member

    A bit wider, only a little longer with simple front accessories. Very compact for basic designs that can go way beyond 400CI

    (PS...both are heavier than SBC, the Olds by the most. Good and bad...heavy but has room for massive overbores and has very strong block webbing)
    (Best Olds parts and interchange guide was pubished in Popular Hot Rodding, circa early 1960's)
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2012
  27. flatheadz-forever
    Joined: Jun 16, 2011
    Posts: 501

    flatheadz-forever
    Member
    from new jersey

    tri power flathead
    tri power 390 hp
    tri power 312 with thunderbird valve covers
    cant go wrong with any of the above a ford belongs in a ford and a mopar in a mopar chevy in a chevy glad to see your pole doesnt include sbc I compare guys who put sbc's in their hot rods with yankee fans they get on the bandwagon just because everyone else is doing it doesnt mean you have to good luck keep a ford in it
     

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