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Early Nailhead vs Late Flathead...Which and Why?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Fat Hack, Dec 8, 2005.

?

322 Buick Nailhead or 239/255 Flathead?

Poll closed Jan 7, 2006.
  1. 322 Nailhead, no doubt!

    53.8%
  2. Go Flathead, keep it all Ford!

    46.2%
  1. hey man,

    i say go with the flathead but run it infront of a 5spd. you'll get better diveability and alot more fun out of the car. i personally think either engine would look great in that car but being a flatty fan i voted that way. a full race flathead with "as cast" heads and intake just looks the biz. all speed and no glitz sums up the 40's salt racer for me and cast parts just smack of someone wanting to spend the polishing money on more parts instead. i think a solid flathead, with duals, heads and a 5spd would give you the look you're after and provide enough fun with the right foot to keep you happy. if you car you showed was a glossy ride with some vintage 5 spokes i would have said go for the OHV but for me, flatheads and salt racing in the 40's just go hand in hand.

    danny
     
  2. seymour
    Joined: Jan 22, 2004
    Posts: 5,125

    seymour
    Member
    from PNW

    and where do 5spds or 4spds for that matter come into play?
     
  3. Deuce Roadster
    Joined: Sep 8, 2002
    Posts: 9,519

    Deuce Roadster
    Member Emeritus

    332 inches of V8 Buick = big torque :eek:
    BIG Torque and Old Ford trans and rear end = disaster :rolleyes:

    If you are going with the old enclosed Ford driveline ( with the axle keys ) .....you are asking for trouble ...with the Buick IMHO....

    :confused:
     
  4. MercMan1951
    Joined: Feb 24, 2003
    Posts: 2,654

    MercMan1951
    Member

    My vote goes to: Early Nailhead...for parts availabilty sake. I would think the flathead would be harder to come by on parts...
     
  5. Model40-770
    Joined: Aug 24, 2005
    Posts: 273

    Model40-770
    Member
    from LOUISIANA

    I love to give an engine hell so the nailhead is the way i would go....but either one would be a fine engine.............just flip a coin........can't go wrong........
     
  6. striper
    Joined: Mar 22, 2005
    Posts: 4,498

    striper
    Member

    Since it's your dream car and it's fairly obvious which way you really want to go, I think you should just do it and don't worry about what anyone else thinks or even whether or not it's "period perfect".

    You want the nailhead and you know it is "period acceptable" so be the rich kid on the block c1954 and build the Buick.

    The A model I'm building is traditional-ish, except it is having a 401 because that's what I want.

    BUICK
    BUICK
    BUICK
    BUICK
    BUICK
    BUICK

    Pete
     
  7. 53Nailhead
    Joined: Aug 14, 2005
    Posts: 138

    53Nailhead
    Member

    Gotta go with the Nailhead...More cubes & looks cooler:cool: I'm very bias:D Also agree with Striper, you have to do what you like & to hell with what anyone else thinks. I think the poll is showing the results you want.
     
  8. 50flathead
    Joined: Mar 8, 2005
    Posts: 1,106

    50flathead
    Member
    from Iowa, USA

    If it's going to cost what it costs and take the time that it's going to take and it were mine, I'd go with a full house flathead. You are certainly building this car for you, not for the world's scrutiny! What do you really want?
     
  9. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,595

    zman
    Member
    from Garner, NC

    The Nailhead will beat the flathead... a '56 322 is rated at 255 HP, You can get 300 out of her with minimal work, and for a lot less than a flathead, plus she'll survive with that power. His rear end I'm not so sure about...
     
  10. Henry Floored
    Joined: Sep 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,370

    Henry Floored
    Member

    Hey FH for what it's worth I'm running a 12v generator in my `41 Coupe and the Flatty really likes it, especially on startup. It looks old and it is. I do however keep an extra starter drive spring in the glovebox because the starter is still 6v. When I push the button she really jumps to life.
     
  11. Brad54
    Joined: Apr 15, 2004
    Posts: 6,015

    Brad54
    Member
    from Atl Ga

    The cross overs between the heads are different between the three families (264/322, 364, 401/425). The water neck will interchange. Up through at least the '58 364, the neck was the bent style, kinda like a small block Chevy. The later 401s came straight up off the cross over.
    The '53, '54 and possibly '55 water necks are cast steel. I've seen '56s that are aluminum, and I've seen them on a couple '55s too. Same "bent, SBC-like shape" but aluminum.

    Hey Fat: Yeah, you could go with the later front engine piece (timing cover, water and fuel pumps, and water neck) and then paint them that '54 Buick Green paint to hide them. If you're going for performance, that'd surely take a good number of pounds off the front of your engine. Don't know how many exactly, but the timing steel timing chain cover and water pumps are pretty heavy. You might lose as much as ten pounds going with the aluminum pieces and the physically smaller single action fuel pump. Maybe more, maybe less, dunno. But I think it'd be worth doing just from a weight saving stand point...plus, fairly available water and fuel pumps. Damn, and aluminum multi-carb intake would also save a ton. Then you'd really be cookin' with gas! (bad "period correct" saying)

    -Brad
     
  12. HEATHEN
    Joined: Nov 22, 2005
    Posts: 7,591

    HEATHEN
    Member
    from SIDNEY, NY

    I'm going with an early nailhead in one of my projects because I've always liked the look of them, and what the hot rodders learned in the '50s still holds today---a mildly modified OHV will make more power than a radical flathead, but will be a lot easier to drive on the street. I'm going with the first generation nailhead because of the nostolgia angle, and since they were much more popular in rods than the '57-'66 engines, there's a lot more speed equipment still floating around for them. God knows standard shift flywheels and bell housings are easier to find for the '53-'56 engines! Besides, I lucked into lifting the hood on a '49 Ford F-2 and finding a '55 nailhead in it, complete with flywheel, clutch, and '32-'48 Ford gearbox adapter. Lastly, I remember a nailhead powered T that ran around my parts when I was a kid, and it made a lasting impression.
     
  13. blown49
    Joined: Jul 25, 2004
    Posts: 2,212

    blown49
    Member Emeritus

    I voted for the flathead but then I'm partial to them. I feel that the weakest link by far with either motor is gonna be that old 3-speed tranny but to be period correct it need to be in there. My senior year in high school (1956) a buddy went through 16 trannys in his '40 sedan. :eek: My flatty developes around 250 HP with the "air conditioner" on the intake w/4-barrel carb but could be setup with 2-97's and prolly perform equally well. Blowin' and strokin' a flatty can be expensive.

    I'd say use whatever your pockets can afford! :D
     
  14. Brad54
    Joined: Apr 15, 2004
    Posts: 6,015

    Brad54
    Member
    from Atl Ga

    '54 Buicks were 12v generator systems. I'm not sure about the '53, but they were from '54 up.
    The factory battery for '54-at least '58 was the long, narrow battery that looked like a 6v. I've heard it refered to as a truck battery when old timers describe it.
    SO, with the '54 cut-off on the Nailhead, it would have been a 12V conversion back in the day.
    -Brad
     
  15. Gee I didn't know there was a such a thing as too much torque.:D

    I think I would probably go with the nail myself but the truth is well built one will be just as dependable as the other. Both are 50 year old motors.

    I haven't done any real research on the subject, but the nail unless I'm seriously mistaken should make more torque stock out of the box than the flatty. That adds up to taller gear and smoother cruising at speed, with less work.

    The nail head might be a little heavier than the flatty, but it probably isn't a big difference. You might need to slide it back in the chassis a little to keep it from being a pig, but thats rodding right?

    Now for my disclaimer I'm not sure that either would be my first choice for a mill. I do like early cad valve in head motors though.:D ;)

    BTW Hack my friend. You do come up with good questions to stir the thought process.
     
  16. HEATHEN
    Joined: Nov 22, 2005
    Posts: 7,591

    HEATHEN
    Member
    from SIDNEY, NY

    Buick, Olds, and Cadillac all went 12V in '53, with the possible exception of the straight 8 powered '53 Specials.
     
  17. Jeff Norwell
    Joined: Aug 20, 2003
    Posts: 13,276

    Jeff Norwell
    MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    nailhead....cause I like to drive.
     
  18. Bud
    Joined: Jun 28, 2005
    Posts: 577

    Bud
    Member
    from Orange, CA

    How can you ask that? Let's see, Fat Hack......Theres an F and an H. Seems to me the signs point to a Flathead.:D
     
  19. 53Nailhead
    Joined: Aug 14, 2005
    Posts: 138

    53Nailhead
    Member

    53 is 12Volt
     
  20. Greg-You get your 33 34 ..........and I'll GIVE you a complete 54 Nailhead 322 engine and tranny and rear end.
     
  21. A deep cycle Marine battery is a perfect fit for the long battery box and available at Walmart.....;)
     
  22. Judd
    Joined: Feb 26, 2003
    Posts: 1,894

    Judd
    Member


    Clark
    I gave a friend a 55 322 crank, ballancer, and dual pulley so he could add air to his 53 (cast single pulley) and his machinest said it was ballanced different than his 53 Dynaflow flex plate. I think a 264 has a 10" clutch and a 322 has a 10.5" that may be the difference? 264 and 322 share a common crank so parts should bolt on and may just be ballanced different. The 322 Standard shift bell housing is bigger than a 264 bell. I matched my 56 322 bell housing to a Chevy 4 speed and it looks like an easy adapt by ovalling out the top trans bolt holes, machining the hole for the input shaft housing, and drilling two lower holes to match the chevy. The Buick pilot shaft bushing fits the chevy perfect.
    Judd
     
  23. SnoDawg
    Joined: Jul 23, 2004
    Posts: 1,013

    SnoDawg
    Member

    Go with the flathead, I was going with a slant six but a good 59BA dropped into my lap Throw a blower on it and go like hell.
    Of course there is always dem Vega injuns:D:D or maybe Vegetarians shit I forget...

    Dawg
     
  24. Bigcheese327
    Joined: Sep 16, 2001
    Posts: 6,691

    Bigcheese327
    Member

    OUCH!
     
  25. 53Nailhead
    Joined: Aug 14, 2005
    Posts: 138

    53Nailhead
    Member

    The 'FIREBALL EIGHT' moniker of the Nailhead should seal the deal for you... flathead...? Give me something guys..:D lets keep it going..
     
  26. Merlin
    Joined: Apr 9, 2005
    Posts: 2,546

    Merlin
    Member
    from Inman, SC

    Me like flattys!
    [​IMG]
     
  27. racer5c
    Joined: Nov 30, 2002
    Posts: 2,218

    racer5c
    Member


    if they woulda had emed em
     
  28. racer5c
    Joined: Nov 30, 2002
    Posts: 2,218

    racer5c
    Member


    make that if they Woulda had em they woulda used em
     
  29. The Bomber
    Joined: Dec 10, 2005
    Posts: 530

    The Bomber
    Member
    from mass.

    I ran a 322 nailhead in my model A roadster.great motor.ran and looked good

    either moter, nailhead or flathead in your rod will grab a lot of attention,both classic hot rod engines. But,
    a nailhead will grab more attention because you don't see many nailheads as often as you see flatheads. flatheads ran hot too,but ,with today's cooling systems,it's probably better.one other thing,one of the reasons the Buick engineers designed the heads that way was so the valve covers would sit straight up,thus eliminating valve cover leaks.a lot of people don't know that.the proof is ,have you ever seen a nailhead leak oil out of the valve covers?
    they also have plenty of torque and reliability.
    But, on the other hand,the flathead is THE- PERIOD PERFECTclassic hot rod motor.it's a tough choice either way.look through some old magazines,or an online hot rod site.find a photo of you year car with a flathead and one with a nailhead.cut them out,tape them up side by side,keep looking at them,in a while you'll pick the photo you keep going back to.hope this helps.......dennis
     
  30. seymour
    Joined: Jan 22, 2004
    Posts: 5,125

    seymour
    Member
    from PNW

    I fuckin hate when ppl say that. Such a lame-ass argument.
     

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