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$10,000 flathead??

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Russ Gaylord Fontana, Sep 7, 2008.

  1. As some have said, you'll not hit 300 HP on a "buy it in a box" flathead for $10,000.

    Once you start wanting more than 200HP, you will most likely be blown, fuel injected or both. The first extra 100HP will spend your $10K (easy), the next 100HP will spend another $10K+ . . . and that is not going exotic with Ardun heads, aluminum blocks, etc..

    What nobody has asked is what purpose do you want this engine for? Is it only for a sprint car and fun? In a sprint car, you'll probably not be running a blower - so we're talking mechanical injection if you ask me. Another thing to think about is if you want 300 HP on the street . . . that can be a VERY different engine from 300 HP at Bonneville. The way that the HP is achieved can be very different in a full-on race flathead versus a street engine.

    One is very purpose built and really only needs to make HP at the top-end, the other you want to be able to put some miles on and it needs to somehow idle, run on pump gas and get away from a stop light.

    If you're serious and need more information, let me know . . . I can point you a few directions. But, make sure you understand the intent of the final package . . . or the answers as to "what and how" can be very different.

    Drop me a PM if you need more info . . .
  2. What type of injection? If you're going MFI, there are quite a few folks who have run Hilborn MFI or other types . . . if you're talking EFI, there are not as many (though I've seen more than a few show cars).
  3. Gaters
    Joined: Dec 29, 2007
    Posts: 566


    I was out to look at my four-banger last week at my Pop's good friend Bill Robinson garage. He had a lineup of flatties from stock (about $4,000) to higher end ($40,000+). He not only does beautiful work but has the performance to back what he'd doing. He's been working on these motors for years. If anyone's interested, I can provide his contact info. He was showing me a couple of blown flatheads that he was building for his clients that were going to run out at Bonneville. All the trick shiny stuff!!! It was something to see and learn when he took me through the steps of putting one of these beauties together.
  4. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 28,723


    I'm not trying to piss anyone off asking this question, and realize I'm a body guy not a motor guy. With all the knowledge that is out there and computers with the ability to factor in all the info isn't there some point were the flathead development just flat ends? Once you stop using a FORD factory block it becomes another story IMO.
  5. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 8,743


    When you get into the $40-75K range for a Flathead motor, it seems to me you've left hotrodding far behind and now are in Land of Gold Chains.
  6. Bluto
    Joined: Feb 15, 2005
    Posts: 5,113

    Member Emeritus

    Yup that's why the last 10 hp costs as much as the first 300

    And $10,000 doesn't go far in a small block Chevy either.

    The cost of racing is always what the next guy will spend to beat you.

    In this case he'd be better off pulling the V-8 and getting a Dreyer
  7. Gemini EFI
    Joined: Jan 5, 2006
    Posts: 231

    Gemini EFI

    Gemini EFI

    Attached Files:

  8. Bluto
    Joined: Feb 15, 2005
    Posts: 5,113

    Member Emeritus

    When you get into the $40-75K range for a Flathead motor, it seems to me you've left hotrodding far behind and now are in Land of Gold Chains.

    I don't think that's fair. We are talking about race motors here. Not something to sit next to.
  9. I totally agree - and even if somebody wants to spend $40K - 75K on an engine, if they have the money, it is none of my business. Who on this site would not want to have a SCOT blown Ardun . . . or any blown Ardun in a hotrod? Some have the parts . . . some can afford to buy the parts . . . the rest of hotrod world (myself included) just wishes we did (probably with a bit of envy). I'd rather see somebody spend their money on hotrods (and buy what they can afford) . . . than buy gold chains anyway . . .

    There are guys that have spent way over $50K on a flathead to achieve a record at Bonneville - my hats off to them especially if they succeed. Racing has never been cheap . . . especially if you want to own records for engines that have been running for 75+ years.
  10. John50
    Joined: Mar 21, 2008
    Posts: 68


    I had a guy do some machining work for me (Joe from Hawaii Racing in Simi Valley, CA) and he was working on an all aluminum flattie, with original Ardun heads, and original blower. He claimed the motor had just north of 300 hp. It was show polished and looked killer. The guy had spent a fortune collecting the original parts and was into the motor for more then 80 k. I thought "80 k for a flathed?!" :eek:
  11. Saxon
    Joined: Aug 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,157

    from MN

    I think they start at 14k. Very cool though.
  12. hemi coupe
    Joined: Dec 25, 2001
    Posts: 1,162

    hemi coupe
    from so-cal

    I saw an injected one in the classifieds here for sale. It looked pretty killer, I dont remember the asking price though..
    Jimmy White
  13. hemi coupe
    Joined: Dec 25, 2001
    Posts: 1,162

    hemi coupe
    from so-cal

    Last edited: Sep 7, 2008
  14. Russ Gaylord Fontana
    Joined: May 12, 2007
    Posts: 58

    Russ Gaylord Fontana
    from Home

    I think that might be the engine I'm going to have to buy!!!!
    It seems that anything more than two hundred ponies is going to be more gold chains than I have at the moment.
    To answer some previous questions, it would be for racing with maybe a bit of fun on the road and as far as injection, it'd have to be mechanical.
    If Dr. Bluto's still out there, could you post a picture of your car porn Ardun??
  15. A Chopped Coupe
    Joined: Mar 2, 2004
    Posts: 1,133

    A Chopped Coupe

    Bored&Stroked pretty much "hit the nail on the head", to build HP and be the "fastest, meanest kid on the block", takes cubic bucks, and unless you are going after a record of some type.............................the guys with bucks spend them.........and yes, sometimes I feel a little envy..........................

    For you guys thinking a 300HP street flathead is beyond mortal capabilities, here is one..
    I borrowed this off the FordBarn site............

    I'm not sure how much money he has into the motor, but I would assume he is in the $10k ball park.

    Here is a mine, which should be on the dyno soon and expected to make about the same.

    And for you guys who can't understand why someone would spend that kind of money on a's not about how fast you can go or how much HP you can make, it's about the sound and the fact these flatheads are the neatest motors since sliced bread, and there is no instruction book (like a SB/BB overhead) on how to make HP and keep it reliable.

    Sure I could have taken my money and built a 500/600HP SB or 600+HP BB, but my drag racing days are over, and besides there is always going to be someone out there that has a deeper wallet and more HP than you, so what is the point?

    Why don't you ask some of the people on this forum that run healthy flatheads why they choose a flathead over an overhead motor?????


    Attached Files:

  16. 8-Track
    Joined: Jul 26, 2008
    Posts: 396


    I have a flathead being built right now by Rick Schnell, it will be real pretty when it is done and if i'm lucky it will break 200hp. i expect to have around $ 14,000.00 into it
  17. axle
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 3,897

    from Drag City

    Thats a decent price for that engine. Break it down and add up all the parts....$ up real fast !
    Joined: Jun 15, 2006
    Posts: 3,408


    Interesting post , Steve at Uncommon Enginering down the street from my shop here in Indy just built a blown 300 plus hp flathead (dyno tested) for a customer for right at the 10k mark for a customer and has been doing it for some time.

    His web site is
  19. Joshua Shaw
    Joined: Feb 7, 2007
    Posts: 2,191

    Joshua Shaw

    I don't know much about flatheads, never had much interest. But the last couple years I've built a few cars with them and can give you two interesting examples..

    This Flatty was built by an old timer in Tenn. for $6500 Its dressed up nicely, got a good cam, and internals. About 270 c.i. I think..

    I'm sure it will run strong and be dependable.


    Then there is this Flatty. It was about the same c.i. with all the goodies, BUT! The owner spent $17,000 buying the original S.C.O.T. blower and having it rebuilt to use... (That's seventeen thousand for the super charger ALONE) Then payed me to beat the engine up and make it look old. I'm sure this was a $25-30,000 Flathead. The super charger is cool looking, but is "cool" worth the price tag? Probably.. (I say, "If you got it to spend.. do it! You can't take it with you!")



  20. Flat Ernie
    Joined: Jun 5, 2002
    Posts: 8,406

    Flat Ernie
    Tech Editor

    I just watched a street flatty pull 300+ HP on a dyno last week. I don't know what they have in the engine, but I doubt it's $10K.

    284" (4-1/8" crank, +.125" bore), 400Jr cam, iron heads, 1.6 valves, ported/relieved, steel main caps, & a 144" blower. Watched back to back pulls. The engine made 200+HP before the blower with a 3x2 on it.

    Nothing exotic about the engine at all. Well built with some flow mods, but built with attention to detail (torque plates when boring, carefully matched porting/relieving, etc).

    This is at least the third engine with this "recipe" to pull 300+HP (and 315lb/ft from about 2500-5200 - flattest torque curve I've ever seen).
  21. BigVinDaddyMac
    Joined: Feb 17, 2008
    Posts: 195


    If I had 10K clams to blow on a flathead and needed 300HP, I would buy 2 that make 150 reliable HP on crappy pump gas for $5K each and go the TV Tommy Ivo route.
  22. Pir8Darryl
    Joined: Jan 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,488


    I hope you didn't take my original post as an attack on anyone who would spend $$$$$$ on a flathead, as it was not meant to be.

    I'v owned 2 flat head ford V8's, and 2 flat 6 Mopars... And if I can sweet-talk the old lady down the block, I might end up owning a cherry all original 54 ford before the year is out.... In other words, I "get it".

    If you got the $$$, and the love for the flattys... Go for it.
    But $10k for a motor is megga-bucks for someone like me. I could swallow $4k for a hot rebuild... Even $6k for a performance buildup if I streched it out over a couple years. But If I was going to sink $10k into a mill, it would be a HEMI or maybe even a nailhead.

    All I'm saying is that if your gonna invest that kind of scratch, it makes more sense to me to invest it into a motor that's gonna give more bang for the buck... And a the $10k level, the flatty just sorta,,, well, falls flat on it's face, and an OHV engine starts to make much more sense.

  23. I was at a John Force show,with R Cole,and there was a red 48?, Ford conv. with a French block,Flathead that he told me,if I remember correctly,was over $40k!
  24. That motor is from a friend of mine named Pete . . . he is one heck of a guy. He has been building flatheads for over 50 years . . . and has raced them at Bonneville, at the dirt track, etc.. I don't know if he still has that engine, but for the price - it is actually a deal. He built it for a spint car . . . so if you're looking for a sprint car flatty that makes big HP, this would be the ticket. It would be worth contacting hiim . . . he is a totally stand up guy.
  25. hemi coupe
    Joined: Dec 25, 2001
    Posts: 1,162

    hemi coupe
    from so-cal

    That motor is a killer deal, like Axle said if you start crunching the numbers, It would add up to way more then that!! If I had the money, and I was looking for a race style flathead, I wouldnt even think twice about that engine!!
    Jimmy White
  26. Bluto
    Joined: Feb 15, 2005
    Posts: 5,113

    Member Emeritus

    Yup ....What bored and stroked said ....... if that front gear will fit in your slanty nose car

    I have an original SCoT set-up anyone can have for a lot less that $17,000
    Came from Neal East years ago. PM me .....OK NOT CHEAP but not $17k either

    My engine's on the left ...... Sorry I keep using the same photo it's the only one I have and it's a long trip to get another

    Attached Files:

  27. 39cent
    Joined: Apr 4, 2006
    Posts: 1,569

    from socal

    MY buddys full fendered 32 roadster turned around 96 in the quarter with as I recall, a 296" flatty, sharp heads/3 pot, H&C mag, potvin eliminator cam, and 3:54 gear[Ansen built motor in 1954]what kind of horsepower would that be? It made a believer outta me,was sure fun on the street! Did 110 on the speedo thru santa ana canyon. If I had the money I would like to have a flatty that good.
  28. gotwood
    Joined: Apr 6, 2007
    Posts: 264

    from NYC

    I just called H&H last week for a flattie. They quoted approx $10k for a fully dressed 180hp engine. For a blown engine they explained it was at least double as the additional prep work gets expensive. Nice guys on the phoine who take the time to answer questions.

    Not really sure the parts add up that quickly if you deduct the cost of buying several blocks to find a usable one. Really the parts are fairly reasonable. Heck even the $13k Ardun heads are on par with a set of Arias heads for a BBC. You are paying for the unique quality and the cool factor.

    Just like Porsche engines you can do it yourself for a lot less or pay one of the experts for their knowledge. An engine is an engine, well sort of.

    That Motor City deal is like waiting for the great pumpkin. Either get it out there or stop promoting it. It is getting old.

    What does "Gold Chain" crowd mean??? If it is about the cost of building a Rod I think a lot of guys should check the prices of traditional cars. Gennie 32 Body $25k Flattie engine $10k and up, Divco wheels $6k. Not exactly cheap hobby either just different styles.
  29. Rick's pretty reasonable in cost, too. My father had Rick build his ARDUN and it wasn't too outrageous for the level of attention given to the build. Certainly much better than going to H&H for the same quality of product. Since H&H blew me off at Columbus when I asked about ARDUN stuff, I'll probably be heading back to Rick or Matt when my avatar is due to be built.

    People can call me a gold chainer for the stuff I've bought; doesn't bother me. I'm just a punk kid with the parts they secretly wish they had.
  30. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 8,743


    What it means is spending big time money to thumb your nose at all the rest of the folks. No question that flatheads are cool motors and Ardun heads and SCoT blowers are fine, rare bits. And, if you're racing, all bets and all price constraints, are off. It has always cost major money to go faster. However, if you're building a $150000 "traditional" hot rod so you can either get into a magazine, win a major car show or lord it over everyone at the McDonald's Cruise In, then you are a Gold Chain Guy.Just like the boys spending $2 million on a muscle car. It ain't worth it, you just got to prove you have the jack to spend on it. And by the way, those original "traditional" cars were built by guys scounging and combining the parts they could find and rarely buy to build their rods. They were definitely not buying new Ford bodies and custom made mills. If you have the money, you can build any damn car you want, any way you want and you don't even need my permission. But please don't tell me it's "traditional".

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