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Hot Rods 1919 to 1923 Essex four cylinder engines

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Six Ball, Oct 28, 2014.

  1. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 3,509

    Six Ball
    Member
    from Nevada

    I recently got a phone call from a friend informing me that I had a new 4 cylinder engine and transmission. When I asked what it was he said he didn't know but it was cool. When I picked it up we went over it and found no maker name. Because it had long been stored in an old railroad depot it made me wonder about a rail car engine. It turns out it is a 1919 or 1920 Essex F head.
    This engine was used with a few changes from 1919 to 1923 in all Essex model As. It is a 179 ci, 55 hp, F head. It has no water pump, a full splash oil system one intake port and four exhaust ports. The first years had all Delco electrical components. In 1922 and 1923 the distributers were American Bosch. Also in '22, I think, maybe '21 in an attempt to improve fuel flow they moved the spark plugs from the intake side to the exhaust side of the head. They also lowered the compression.
    Essex was built by Hudson and was third in sales behind Chevrolet and Ford. In a 50 hour endurance run they went a little over 3,000 miles and averaged 60.7 mph. In 1922 Essex set cross country records in both directions in a bid for US Mail contracts. Four cars, two from New York driving west and two from San Francisco driving east made an average time of 4 days 21 hours 32 minutes. No doubt this was on the Lincoln Highway which was only 9 years old and over 3.000 miles long. The Lincoln highway was marked coast to coast but little if any of it was paved in 1922. In 1923 Essex won the Pike's Peak race 18 minutes 47.75 seconds. Essex won many other races.
    So with this solid race and speed history I'm excited and considering a vintage racer build. Dirt track, speedster, or a 3 springer lakes style. Any information, knowledge, parts sources, or thoughts are welcome.
    [​IMG] [​IMG][​IMG]
     
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  2. volvobrynk
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,588

    volvobrynk
    Member
    from Denmark

    Thats a cool looking mill, with a lot of possibiltys!

    I would look in to SU or Stromberg carbs off of a Volvo 164, they are variable Venturi'es, simple and the SU would really look the part. Easly tuneable, and all parts is avalible.
    And better prized then new zenith :wink:
    Depending on direction of turning, the Volvo/bosch ignition or the vw ignition, for more avalible parts, and for slight power upgrade.

    Bump in compression and a special cam, would make a engine that begs to be beaten/used acordingly.

    We needs to see more, even the inside.

    Hope that was the kind of advice you was looking for, or else just ignore my post. :D
     
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  3. Grahamsc
    Joined: May 13, 2014
    Posts: 466

    Grahamsc
    Member
    from Colorado

    When we ran the Newport hillclimb there was an old gent with a bone stock 1924 Essex , he ran better times than any model A
     
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  4. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 3,509

    Six Ball
    Member
    from Nevada

    All advise is welcome. The Essex 4 won a lot of hill climbs and I guess they still do. I'd like to know who owns these two. The blue one was at the National Car Museum in Reno but I think it was sold. #19 has a later engine or at least head. The pligs are on the exhaust side. The oilers on the rocker are different than stock. It has nice headers and an alternator. I don't think the distributer is the later American Bosch. I'd like to see the intake side.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
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  5. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 3,509

    Six Ball
    Member
    from Nevada

    I got a radiator shell and a distributer rotor. I'm going to look a frame this week. I still need to find a distributer cap. I've seen two in the $150 range. I have an operator manual and a Delco ignition system instruction booklet that covers from 1912 to 1916 but the date on my distributer is 1916. I have a reprint parts book on the way. I think having part numbers will help. One of the coolest things about this is that having the Essex to build an early style car from it will let me build my '26 Chevy roadster in a little later style.
     
  6. Keep the updates coming. I love to see old iron like this brought to life. My Mom passed away in 1998 at 80 years old. I remember her telling me that her family had an Essex when she was a little girl. In the family it was affectionately known as the "Ass Aches".
     
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  7. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,292

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    Hudson and Essex were considered hot performing cars in their day. The Essex frame was often used for race cars and hot rods. Ed Iskenderian used an Essex frame for his first hot rod, built in 1938. Hudson was known for using the best quality steel regardless of cost.
     
  8. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 3,509

    Six Ball
    Member
    from Nevada

    Thanks guys. I seem to be better at gathering that putting stuff together but this could be a simple little assembly of something fun to run around the dirt roads in. There are still a couple of dirt sections of the Lincoln Highway out here.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2015
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  9. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,292

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    Gotta have the wire wheels lol.
     
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  10. david38rc
    Joined: Mar 24, 2010
    Posts: 71

    david38rc
    Member

    Great find!! I grew up knee deep in 4 cly Essex cars and parts. My dad was building a 1919 speedster and a 1921 touring. My dad, the cars and parts are long gone, but I remember stories of how fast the touring was when he drove it before WWII.
     
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  11. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 3,509

    Six Ball
    Member
    from Nevada

    Man I wish I knew what he knew. :cool: Do any pictures of your dad's cars exist? With twice the power of a T , a stronger frame and a real transmission the Essex made A was a force to be reckoned with. Too bad Hudson changed to the flathead 6 in '24.
    [​IMG]
     
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  12. david38rc
    Joined: Mar 24, 2010
    Posts: 71

    david38rc
    Member

    You'd think that with all the time I spent with him in the garage that I would know more than I do !! I'll check with family members about pictures, I'm sure some must exist. I hope you can gather up enough parts to put that F head back on the road.
     
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  13. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 3,509

    Six Ball
    Member
    from Nevada

    I'd like to see anything you can find. I bought a reprint of a parts book but the illustrations were mostly black blobs and of no use. There were also no listings for the Delco electrical components. If any one know of an affordable copy of this booklet I'd like to have one.
    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 3,509

    Six Ball
    Member
    from Nevada

    I picked up the Essex frame Saturday. It is a later one but a really nice one. I'll add pictures when I get my camera fixed.
     
  15. david38rc
    Joined: Mar 24, 2010
    Posts: 71

    david38rc
    Member

    Found these off the web, an Essex and a Hudson super%20speed.jpg hudson%20racer.jpg
     
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  16. The "SMOKSTAC" engine site may be of help.
     
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  17. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 3,509

    Six Ball
    Member
    from Nevada

    David, Nice pictures. I haven't see those before.
    Scrapiron, I got some information there but I need to go back there now that I know a little more. Thanks.
     
  18. 2manycars2littletime
    Joined: Jul 1, 2009
    Posts: 88

    2manycars2littletime
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

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  19. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 3,509

    Six Ball
    Member
    from Nevada

    Thanks, I have a copy of that book and a reprint of a parts book. Too bad the illustrations in the parts book are just black blobs. I also found an early Delco manual for the period.
     
  20. kleinbike
    Joined: Dec 1, 2011
    Posts: 41

    kleinbike
    Member
    from Nor Cal

    Around ten years or so ago, a friend and I stopped in at Sears Point (I don't care what they call it now, it's Sears Point) to watch a vintage road race meet. Lots of late '60's musclecars, British sportscars, and old Porches going around the track, but the one car that really impressed me was a 1920 or so Essex. We talked to the guy in the pits and he showed us his photo album of the car at different events, it's restoration, etc. He was not at all afraid to really push the car hard, and judging by the grin on his face, he looked to be having more fun than any other driver out there. It was a kick to see, and I'll never forget the sight and sound of that car drifting around turn 11.
     
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  21. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 3,509

    Six Ball
    Member
    from Nevada

    I wish I had seen that. You guys are getting me fired up.
     
  22. Some Essex porn for ya. IMG_20150122_161620.jpg IMG_20150122_161636.jpg IMG_20150122_161700.jpg
     
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  23. First pic, 1920 Essex Touring.
    Second pic, brand new 1920 Hudson's and Essex four - passenger Phaetons, lined up outside the driveway depot in Detroit.
    Third pic, 1922 Essex production.
     
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  24. IMG_20150122_171719.jpg 1919 Essex Racer at Cincinnati Speedway.
    Demonstrating the cars durability and performance, 93 hours was spent doing tests, during that time a distance of 5,870 miles were clocked up under AAA supervision.
     
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  25. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 3,509

    Six Ball
    Member
    from Nevada

    I had not heard of the 93 hour test only the 50 hour one of 3047 miles an 60.7 MPH. Your numbers would be a little over 63 MPH. And that would be over 10 Indy 500s back to back. These must have been some car for the time.
     
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  26. Hello ,If you need help with your Essex,get a hold of the Hudson Essex Terraplane club,there is lots of members who would love to help you! Uncle Bill
     
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  27. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 3,509

    Six Ball
    Member
    from Nevada

    I went to their forum and got very little interest. I think you have to join the club before they care much.
     
  28. david38rc
    Joined: Mar 24, 2010
    Posts: 71

    david38rc
    Member

    Sent some info via first class mail today. Also have some info on some of the modifications my dad did.
    1) Modified the rockers so they were supported on both sides by using two stock supports welded to a "H" shaped base. I think he used stronger valve springs and bigger valves, maybe Chrysler L head 6 industrial parts.
    2) Used pistons from a Chrysler L head 6
    3) Had a full pressure oiling system, similar to what's done to model A ford engines. Was done at a shop that specialized in building ford engines
    4) Engine was set back 8" by moving the stock mounts.
    There was an 4 cly Essex that ran in the Great Race recently. It ran a Toyota distributer, front hyd.brakes from a mid 50's ford, and a GM third member. The stock Essex had no front brakes, and an external band that tightened on a drum for rear brakes My brother talked to the owner in San Antonio when the cars were on display downtown. He said the ground almost shook when he started it !!!
    I hope to have some pictures of my dad's cars and some more info, waiting on my brothers to get hold of me.
    David
     
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  29. david38rc
    Joined: Mar 24, 2010
    Posts: 71

    david38rc
    Member

    Try getting hold of the Northwest Vintage Speedster Club, limited to pre '34 4 cly cars.
    The contact I have is: Tim Knapp, N.W.V.S. Editor
    11615 S.W. Jamaica
    Wilsonville, Ore. 97070,
    and Pete Daun @ 503 667 5578. These contacts are from 1995, so may not be good.??
     
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  30. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 3,509

    Six Ball
    Member
    from Nevada

    David, Thank you for your interest and help. This is great information. Looking forward to more in the mail and here. One of my friends here belongs to that speedster club. He has a 100 + MPH Model T and a '25 Chevy that he just got running. I came across a lot of speedster pictures on their website.
     
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