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425 Nailhead or Flathead.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by chopd54, Oct 27, 2011.

  1. chopd54
    Joined: Apr 20, 2007
    Posts: 256


    Trying to decide which motor to put in my model A coupe. I already have a flathead but would need to stick a decent amount of money in it to get the power and look that I want. Found a complete Nailhead for a pretty decent price the other day and really has me thinking now. Cant beat the looks of the flatty but sure would love the power of that nailhead. Thoughts?
  2. speed-kings
    Joined: Apr 10, 2007
    Posts: 447


    I'm partial to the nailhead. That's what I have for mine.
  3. nailheads have thier own head aches to deal with
    stearing clearance
    trans choice
    my .02
    Joined: Feb 12, 2008
    Posts: 548

    from iowa

    i would go with the flathead... way cooler but thats just my .02.

  5. mike hamel
    Joined: Nov 24, 2005
    Posts: 1,549

    mike hamel

    Go with a flathead! I wouldn't put anything else I'm my hot rods from now on. I'm tuning my flathead in my 34 3 window un corked and sounds absolutely killer. I have a nailhead in my 1936 international. The one in my avatar. I love it too but flathead are the absolute most traditional engine you can have.

  6. Well the nailhead will make more zot stock then you will ever get out of the flatty.

    The flatty is the new SBC.
    Joined: Nov 22, 2005
    Posts: 7,591

    from SIDNEY, NY

    Nothing wrong with the looks of a nailhead, and even a stone stock 401/425 will chew up all but a Bonneville flathead. Simple matter to run a TH400 behind one, too. Even if you want to run a stick, you can buy a new flywheel and bell housing and still come in less than you'd have in a ground up performance flathead build.
  8. Flathead! Mike is that a 2 row v8-60 radiator?how does it cool?I"ve got one I hope to use for my 31 with 51 merc flatty.
  9. chopd54
    Joined: Apr 20, 2007
    Posts: 256


    What about the 322 Nailhead? Ive got a line on one of those also..
  10. IMHO: Although the nailhead is cool the 2 coolest engines for looks are the Hemi and the Flathead. Seeing that the Hemi is not an option here, I'd go with the Flathead with some bolt-on goodies.
  11. Some fellas are just not satisfied with 100-150 HP I guess. :rolleyes:
  12. robertsregal
    Joined: Oct 2, 2008
    Posts: 743


    Both are cool engines, I would go with the nailhead 401 or 425.
  13. Stevie Nash
    Joined: Oct 24, 2007
    Posts: 2,999

    Stevie Nash

    Decide whether you are going for looks or power... that's it.
  14. mlagusis
    Joined: Oct 11, 2009
    Posts: 1,021


    What rear end and tranny do you want to use? If you are going with a Banjo rear, then I think the flathead would be your best bet. If you were open to other rear ends then I would run a 401.

    As for the mom has a mildly cammed 322 with a 4 speed in her 39 ford coupe. I drove the car a few times and it has some get up and go. She drives that car all over the place with out any problems too.
    Joined: Nov 22, 2005
    Posts: 7,591

    from SIDNEY, NY

    Still outrun a flathead unless it's got burnt valves. A few thoughs.....stay away from '53 engines, as they have several '53 only parts to them. Late '55 and all '56 cylinder heads have 1.375 inch exhaust valves, while '53-'early '55 have 1.25 inch exhaust valves. Around the same time they made the valve change, the camshafts changed from forged steel to cast iron. '56 engines that came with factory dual exhausts had some pretty hot looking exhaust manifolds. Don't buy a "322" that's out of a '54 or '55 Special, 'cause really it's a 264. Since the '53-'56 engines were popular hot rod fodder in their day, there is still a fair amount of aftermarket speed equipment floating around for them, moreso than for the later nailheads. On the downside, you can't bolt a TH400 to them like you can the '57-'66 blocks.
  16. twenty gallons
    Joined: Jun 7, 2010
    Posts: 443

    twenty gallons

    if you are building to be as period correct as this site is dedicated too, look at it this way

    In the mid 50's when these Hot Rods were being built as is generally thought to have been built at that time (according to all the experts here on HAMB) If you were a young guy building a Hot Rod, which engine would YOU have opted for? the little flat head or the big OHV Buick?

    Consider that from someone that used to build these cars when in High School in So Cal in the late 50's early 60's. Look at all the hot rods FROM that era. what were they running?? Cad v-8, Chevy v-8, Olds rockets, Chrysler hemi, Buick Nailheads, even a few fords here and there.. (that ought to piss a bunch of people off)

    But if you want to be on the bandwagon with what these young guys (mostly) here, that know how it was before they were born then opt for the engine they envision.

    don't get me wrong here, Flatties are a great engine, just not comparable to a built OHV if equally built. Just saying how it was, if that is part of the consideration of what you are trying to do.

    Been there,......done that.... LOTS of times.
  17. mart3406
    Joined: May 31, 2009
    Posts: 3,055

    from Canada

    It depends whether you just want to have a
    really cool "traditional" hotrod (flathead power!)
    - or have a really cool "traditional" hotrod - with
    enough power to make you get religion on every
    powershift:)D)!!! - (nailhead power!).

    P.S. Another way to think about this too....just
    ask yourself - "WWTID?" (- ie - "What
    would Tommy Ivo Do?
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2011
  18. chopd54
    Joined: Apr 20, 2007
    Posts: 256


    Thanks for the great replys, lots to consider...
  19. farmergal
    Joined: Nov 28, 2010
    Posts: 2,074

    from somewhere

    nailheads can build some really awsome engines and there is plenty of nostalgic parts to dress them up with. when dressed up they make really eye-appealing engines and on top of that they are a lot of power & torque stock. We would've loved to go the flathead route with out '36 coupe project but a good solid flathead to start costs a pretty penny and on top of that they cost a pretty penny to rebuild and dress up. We just dont have that kind of we went for big power at stock and an engine that was clean, clean, clean.

    Nailheads were first made in the 50's, so no matter what you chose to run...both the nailhead and the flathead are very traditional. Keep in mind that a lot of region's hot rodding didnt turn into a craze until the early 60's so the nailhead fits in just about everywhere in terms of traditional.

    Nailheads are pretty easy to work on but the one issue with them is steering clearance in some cars. if you have a good gameplan then it will be fine.

    Our nailhead in our 36 wont be fired up for at least another year but i can promise you that the stories we've heard about the nailheads is they are a LOT of fun to drive and are pretty reliable to boot. Nailhead all the way. Dare to be different
  20. farmergal
    Joined: Nov 28, 2010
    Posts: 2,074

    from somewhere

    we have a super clean 401 nailhead for sale in the classified section but we're in CT. that prob wont help you hahaha
  21. chuckbob
    Joined: Aug 5, 2009
    Posts: 145


  22. 40FORDPU
    Joined: Mar 15, 2009
    Posts: 3,005

    from Yelm, Wa
    1. Northwest HAMBers

    I like both choices. Whichever you decide, make it your decision..not someone elses.
  23. I'd vote flathead. The little nailheads are nice but you have a 425 which is too big IMO.
  24. Jeff Norwell
    Joined: Aug 20, 2003
    Posts: 13,176

    Jeff Norwell
    Staff Member

    Both are beautiful you want to go?
    or go slow?
    HA HA

    My flathead friends are gonna kill me....... hahahah
  25. arkiehotrods
    Joined: Mar 9, 2006
    Posts: 6,225


    When Jim Jacobs built his now iconic 34 3-window in 1973, bucking the trends of the day and going for a traditional look, it was powered by a '57 Buick 364.

    I can still remember watching (and hearing) it at the Street Rod Nats when I was 19 (with my 289-powered '30 Ford coupe)

    I love flatheads. I drive a car with a flathead. But in your case, I'd go nailhead.
  26. Larry W
    Joined: Oct 12, 2009
    Posts: 731

    Larry W
    from kansas

    401 gives you more options.
  27. 1960impala283
    Joined: Sep 20, 2011
    Posts: 43


    Nailhead with finned valve covers, finned wire covers, finned valley cover, and a U-Fab intake with bunch of 97's on top....
  28. scottb356
    Joined: Jun 10, 2011
    Posts: 172


    get another car and use both. I've got a 401 for my 53 chebby pickemup, and a 337 Lincoln flatty for my someday deuce
  29. Hdonlybob
    Joined: Feb 1, 2005
    Posts: 3,924


    Both would be cool, but I would go the Nailhead...
  30. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 27,804


    NAILHEAD, next question.

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