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History Flathead Heads made pre-war?

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by hotrodsjimmy, Sep 5, 2013.

  1. hotrodsjimmy
    Joined: Jul 19, 2006
    Posts: 222

    hotrodsjimmy
    Member

    Hey guys, I've tried searching and can't really find what Im looking for.

    Anyone know who was making aftermarket heads for the 24 studs prior to WW II? Is there any info on this that anyone knows of by chance? Was Vic Edelbrock or Offy doing them? Sharp? Fenton?
    James
     
  2. I'm speculating, but I very much doubt it. 24 studders only appeared in 1939, leaving very little time for R and D before WWII started. I think it fairly likely that various people were thinking about it, maybe even making patterns, maybe even casting and machining. However time would have been against them as far as gearing up for production, then marketing and distributing product.
     
  3. elmitcheristo
    Joined: Nov 10, 2007
    Posts: 341

    elmitcheristo
    Member

    I just thumbed through the Throttle magazine collection that were originally printed in 1941. Edelbrock is advertising "Genuine Ford Hi-Altitude Heads." There is no mention of heads made by them. Eddie Meyer was advertising heads, and they show V8-60's, but no mention if he was making both 21 and 24 stud versions. I found no other references to heads in any of the other advertisments. I am no expert, but I would guess that it is a strong possibility Eddie Meyer was making 24 stud heads prior to the war.

    Hope that helps,
    Mitch
     
  4. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,181

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member

    Ford! Ford made 3 different series of heads designed for high altitude or natural gas engines...the famous Denver heads. These were parts counter only, and were not factory installed on anything. I've always wondered whether the application mentioned was the real thing or whether Ford really intended to sneak a little help to the racers out the back door...
    The smallest chambers are listed as 60 CC. Specs on all are in the bulletins and in Blown 49's huge compression chart.
    These were made only prewar, and I think only really discovered postwar...so they were always rare. By the time racers were looking for them they were hard to find. They were especially valuable in circle track where many associations required Ford-made heads.
    Later racers turned to the slightly higher than standard compression postwar Canadian aluminum heads and then to cheater copies of those from Weiand.
     
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  5. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,181

    Bruce Lancaster
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    https://docs.google.com/a/drew.edu/...afe&zw&sig=AHIEtbQKbpnuDObJ7ZYU1_CylK6VktQ1Vw

    Not sure if that will link or not...Jim's chart. It carries specs for Denver and Canadian heads...note that the 221 and 239 applications are in different places. The racers naturally used the 221 Denvers on 239's, and Ford obligingly supplied spes for crossovers as well.

    PS...People keep thinking of putting the normal production 221 heads on later engines...this is generally not useful because the prewar 221's were very low compression and not an improvement over readily available postwar 239 heads.
     
  6. hotrodsjimmy
    Joined: Jul 19, 2006
    Posts: 222

    hotrodsjimmy
    Member

    Thanks guys, pretty much what I was thinking, that the Denvers and Canadians were all that were available to bump the compression unless you decked them then, or filled the chamber.

    Everything I've read and seen though, there were intakes to be had like dual carbs, but not many heads.
     
  7. hotrodsjimmy
    Joined: Jul 19, 2006
    Posts: 222

    hotrodsjimmy
    Member

    Bruce, the link actually asked me to sign in... but thanks, I'll find it I'm sure!
     
  8. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,181

    Bruce Lancaster
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    Shoot me your email...Here, it opens into a University program and I have no idea what to do about that. I'll send you and email with outside link, I think.
     
  9. hotrodsjimmy
    Joined: Jul 19, 2006
    Posts: 222

    hotrodsjimmy
    Member

    Thanks to Bruce, heres an absolutely amazing set of charts for Flathead compression ratios!!!
     

    Attached Files:

  10. carmuts
    Joined: Jun 17, 2009
    Posts: 875

    carmuts
    Member

    Actually the 24 stud engines were introduced in 1937. It seems both 21 and 24 stud engines ran down the assembly lines in 1937 and 1938. Rod
     
  11. ronnieroadster
    Joined: Sep 9, 2004
    Posts: 653

    ronnieroadster
    Member

    Never hear that before!
     
  12. hotrodsjimmy
    Joined: Jul 19, 2006
    Posts: 222

    hotrodsjimmy
    Member

    Yeah me either, I know 37-38 were 21 stud with insert bearings so they were a 2 year only thing, but I've never heard of a 24 stud 37-38? Just when you think you've read enough that happens!
     
  13. '54Caddy
    Joined: Sep 11, 2009
    Posts: 923

    '54Caddy
    Member

    I have a '38 24 stud. I was under the impression that '38 was a transition year where both 21 and 24 were made. Never heard of a 37 24 stud
     
  14. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,181

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member

    24 stud 221 came in during 1938, '38's used both 21 and 24. This first year 24 stud retained the '36-7 insert main crank and so was a significantly different engine than the '39-on long crank model!
     
  15. Slick Willy
    Joined: Aug 3, 2008
    Posts: 2,991

    Slick Willy
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    drylakespeedshop likes this.
  16. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,181

    Bruce Lancaster
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    The Denvers were prewar only...so they are sure as hell correct!
     
  17. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 12,411

    Squablow
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    I don't mean to hijack, but what dual carb intakes were available pre-war? I just got a 26 roadster with no part newer than 1940 and I was thinking about twin carbs but I'd have to have the right intake not to spoil the period-correctness.

    What companies or styles of intake could you get? Is there a good thread or some other resourse to research the periods of flathead intakes?
     
  18. OzyRodder
    Joined: Dec 11, 2012
    Posts: 254

    OzyRodder
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    Did see Monterey Speed and Sport has the Eddie Meyer heads for 24 stud and the matching intake. They might know something
     
  19. out plowing
    Joined: May 5, 2010
    Posts: 364

    out plowing
    Member

    How do you identify a "Denver head"?

    Sent from my DROID RAZR HD using H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  20. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,181

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member

    You need a lot of luck and close study of the numbers on the casting...I have found exactly one set (the smallest chamber that all the racers wanted), 81 as heads, in 50n years of fleamarketing. The elderly racer at Hershey said that he had brought them for about 15 years and I was the first to notice that they weren't standard passenger car heads. Will post the details...
     
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  21. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,181

    Bruce Lancaster
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    Ford prefixes on part #'s identify the intended use and the model year the part was introduced.
    Denvers were made in 3 versions--
    99AS ('39 239), 19AS '41 239) and 81AS, 1938 221...these last have the smallest chambers.
    The first numeral is year, second is engine...9 is 239, 1 is 221.
    A is for passenger car (this is from the initial design, not total usage, because of course many flathead parts were the same in all uses).
    The S is the zinger here...I would guess it means something like "special", and it designates a part that was service only with no OEM application.
    Actual visible markings on head are the tricky part...and variable, too.
    On the normal 81A heads, used with minor changes '38-42, only the A was usually cast in big letters on top. This just distinguished them from 81 T truck heads for the assembly and parts guys.
    The 81AS set I have has only a cryptic "AS" cast on it, utterly meaningless to most of the human race.
    The rest of the PN on these early 24's is sometimes cast in small characters on top, sometimes in small characters at top edge of head near manifold where you can't really see it when installed.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2013
  22. flatheadpete
    Joined: Oct 29, 2003
    Posts: 8,538

    flatheadpete
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    from Burton, MI

    Wow Bruce.....Just, WOW!
     
  23. Slick Willy
    Joined: Aug 3, 2008
    Posts: 2,991

    Slick Willy
    Member

    "AS" = Awesome Stuff! :D
    Thanks, Bruce!
     
  24. out plowing
    Joined: May 5, 2010
    Posts: 364

    out plowing
    Member

    Bruce, can you post a pic showing the "as" markings?

    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
     
  25. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,181

    Bruce Lancaster
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    Hmmm. Hambers got me an electric camera to try to get me posting pics. Another Hamber gave me a lecture and encouragement on connecting the thing. Maybe.
    The computer stuff is way beyond me in general, and the camera is more complicated and smarter than I am, but I am getting close to trying this.
     
  26. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 21,993

    The37Kid
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    The problem with early speed equipment catalogs is the fact most are not dated. I'd give Robert Roof credit for offering the first aluminum heads and intake for the 21 stud Ford flathead. I'm down to one crappy camera that can't take a good closeup of the photo in the Roof catalog I have. Most of the ROOF equipment was for four bangers, he mentions Model A & B along with Model 40, that would be the 33-34 Ford correct? So he had aluminum heads for the 21 stud around 1934-35 IMO. Bob
     
  27. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 21,993

    The37Kid
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  28. A Rodder
    Joined: Jul 13, 2008
    Posts: 2,475

    A Rodder
    Member

    I bought a 29 roadster project a few months ago that Mitch is working on. He just identified the heads as the Denver heads.

    Ill see if he can post some detailed pics. They are new old stock.
     
  29. hotrodsjimmy
    Joined: Jul 19, 2006
    Posts: 222

    hotrodsjimmy
    Member

    So Bruce, if you've only come across one pair in 50 years, I have a snowball's chance in hell of getting a pair then huh?!? I was hoping they werent THAT rare...geez, way to ruin a guy's whole hot rod project with realism! :)
     
  30. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,181

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member

    I guess you just have to keep peering at ordinary-looking heads you wouldn't have thought to focus your eyes on...
    I think I found mine simply because they were about the only stock Ford looking things in a booth fully of ancient sprint car parts...and I wondered why a collector of shiny aluminum goodies had brought filthy old iron heads!
    The other thing to keep in mind: We can easily build larger flatheads now more easily than anyone before the war or into the early fifties could. Before there were stroked '49 Merc cranks, big engines required a lot of money and effort. With more cubes, you might well churn up enough compression with stock iron...retaining the better transfer area and potential efficiency of iron over aluminum.
     

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