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Projects flathead vs sbc engine in a ford coupe

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by clips221, Dec 24, 2013.

  1. Build what YOU like. THATS ALL THAT MATTERS!!
  2. 4oldfords
    Joined: Sep 30, 2009
    Posts: 158

    from Texas

    be different - flathead?? sbc?? drop a honda CRX Si "4 banger" in there - great mileage and with a coffee can exhaust it will sound soooo sweet. consumer reports says it is very reliable too. get a tweeker to tune it and............ twerk.........your off to the races
  3. hilltopgaragede
    Joined: Apr 8, 2010
    Posts: 159

    from Delaware

    If it's a real Merc motor, I'll trade you for a SBC, PM me anytime
  4. primerhotrod
    Joined: Feb 2, 2013
    Posts: 98

    from ILLINOIS

    A streetable N/A flathead can make around 300hp easily, many do, just depends who you spend your money with. I was just quoted 7k for a dyno proven 300+ hp brand new build, I supply the block. Half down, the rest paid after watching it on the dyno, take it home warm.
  5. aonemarine
    Joined: Nov 2, 2013
    Posts: 500

    from Delaware

    Man thats $23.33 per hp plus a block!! :rolleyes:
  6. jhaas63
    Joined: Jan 15, 2013
    Posts: 136


    Youll get your money out of it with the flathead in it.
  7. MAD 034
    Joined: Aug 30, 2011
    Posts: 775

    MAD 034
    from Washington

    Electric conversion would be best as electric cars have been around for 100 years and are very traditional. Just kidding -- my coupe is running a '57 283 powerpack motor with a '39 gearbox and stock rearend. Very happy with the whole package
  8. klawockvet
    Joined: May 1, 2012
    Posts: 580


    You asked for opinions and here's mine with the pros and cons as I see them. The SBC is a good engine and certainly meets the traditional requirements if you use the SBC's before 1965. There were lots of them used and I put one in a 33 back in the day. However, I was always sorry that I did that as the flathead I took out was close to the same power and it held its own at the stoplight drags. If you look down the road to the time you will be selling it I doubt if any prospective buyers will turn away because it has a flathead, however I spent the last two years looking at 40's and I never looked at a SBC powered car. I think there is a growing trend towards keeping a Ford in a Ford and a Chev in a Chev and that is a good reason to stay with FOMOCO. As for being a daily driver, there is no doubt the later motors have advantages as you can get parts more readily with later motors. I drive through remote parts of the west and Canada yearly and its a real PITA when your vintage Ford has a problem. For that reason I went with a SBF in my 40 tudor. The cons are that its a slightly harder swap than a SBC but not so much that I would rule it out. I have a friend who just paid more for a 40 PU with a SBF than one with a SBC just because he's a Ford guy. On the other hand, if someone is a dyed in the wool Chevy guy he wouldn't be looking for a Ford body anyway. All that being said, I drove flatheads as daily drivers for years and never had a problem. I looked for a flathead powered car for a long time and gave up for a SBF for reasons listed above but if I had a flathead car I would keep it and go with a good rebuild. I have noticed a lot of people asking what I'm running in the tudor and I get a lot of thumbs up when I say its a Ford motor. While that gives me a warm fuzzy feeling it might not make a damn to you and if it doesn't, go with what you finally decide on and screw all of us who don't like your choice.
  9. aonemarine
    Joined: Nov 2, 2013
    Posts: 500

    from Delaware

    Im not so sure about that any more. The die hard hot rodders are getting on up there in age and manual steering and brakes can really take the fun out of things when you have arthrits. I had a gentleman make an offer on the 40 for 30% more than what one would normally sell for just because it was something he was able to drive with the right look for him.
    "todays youth not interested" Yea they just dont get it, but with age comes wisdom, and sometimes a detour from tradition and origonality will get us behind the wheel of something we really love.
  10. thirtytwo
    Joined: Dec 19, 2003
    Posts: 2,639


    Hmmm 300 hp ... With a flathead?.... For 7k?.... HOW? ... Nitro or a blower
  11. teddyp
    Joined: May 28, 2006
    Posts: 3,197


    it,s your car put your money where it makes you happy me i,m tired of flatheads just to look cool so if it was mine it would be sbc or if i wanted to be a ford in a ford (boreing )it would be a y-block
  12. clips221
    Joined: Nov 17, 2010
    Posts: 243


    thanks HRP. Mr Spearman gave me Andy's number earlier this week. I have the engine down to pulling the crank and pistons. valves and valve guides were stuck bad. one piston wall has some pretty deep scratches.
  13. edwardlloyd
    Joined: Aug 2, 2003
    Posts: 2,072

    from Germany

    As long as you're not going for mega horse power you can get adapter plates to adapt Y-blocks, Nailheads, Olds/Cad and probably SBCs and SBFs to the original Ford 3 speed transmission. That makes the conversion cheaper because the closed driveshaft can remain.
    Changing the engine is easy. It's the trans, driveshaft and hanging the rear axle which will cost time and money.
  14. Hurley50
    Joined: Feb 3, 2012
    Posts: 596

    from NC

    I have a SBC 283 in my roadster only because I know how to work on it. I plan on driving it a lot and I want to be able to fix it if needed... maybe one day I will own a flathead and learn.
  15. Rickybop
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 9,644


    "DAMN your eyes!"

  16. "too late"
  17. Speed Gems
    Joined: Jul 17, 2012
    Posts: 6,433

    Speed Gems

    He does.:rolleyes:

    It all boils down to how much money/ knowledge of the flathead you have. Most guys don't know much about the flathead anymore. As much as I hate the idea of seeing yet another sbc in a Hot Rod if it was me I'd go with a 283,327, or 350 if money is really tight.(265's can be a little tricky) Since it's hard to go wrong with a three deuce set up and some finned valve covers I'd find a set of '55-'59 heads with the staggered bolt pattern valve covers to slap on and drive the crap out of it.:D
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2013
  18. olscrounger
    Joined: Feb 23, 2008
    Posts: 4,773


    I agree with speed gems
    283 or 327 would be my choice, there were quite a few 40's with small blocks around in 59/60/61. One vividly recall was in 61 then I was in college. A black 40 coupe with a dual quad solid lifter 283 and a 3spd with an open drive rear from Reedley I think. It ran very strong for the time--saw it win a lot of street races-seldom beat. Just passed on a real nice 40 cpe because it had a fresh flatty and running gear and the price reflected it.
  19. flat34pu
    Joined: Jun 9, 2007
    Posts: 453


    I am building a '68 327 that will have 275 hp, with a fresh powerglide tranny and putting it in a '35 fordor. (no room for me and my nephews in the little '34 pickup with warmed flathead any more )

    three times the 85 hp of stock flathead.

    the wiring will be cloth covered because i like the way that looks.

    I will also change the gear ratio.

    recently divorced, close to retirement, and want to drive the wheels off this soon to be daily driver now.
    as you see, im using time and money to decide which way to go.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2013
  20. 40FordGuy
    Joined: Mar 24, 2008
    Posts: 2,907


    Yes, to the Flatmotor !!

  21. highboy
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 96

    from marin

    This has turned into quite the debate...There are many factors to consider number one being $. Two being Horsepower. Three whether you actually give a damn what your piers (fellow hot rodders) think. I've seen many a friend jump through fabrication hoops hoping for the adulation and that ticker tape parade that never comes. I have both a small block chevy model a roadster and a Flathead 32coupe and I'm not sure how much longer the flathead will stay. probably gonna replace it with an early cad motor because of the stigma with sbc's..That being said i will go on the record as saying that the 327 that pulls my model A was the best $700.00 bucks i ever spent. It has driven literally thousands upon thousands of trouble free miles. on long multi state trips. Its got more ponies than are safe on that platform. And it's never left me stranded. And a recent observation... The Flathead is getting so popular these days that it too will be frowned upon soon because of the "every rod i see has a flathead" factor which is what haunts the chevy... So in the end put the motor that fits you driving needs. you'll probably swap it out in a few years anyway
  22. forty1fordpickup
    Joined: Aug 20, 2008
    Posts: 298


    Run a flathead. Anyone that says they can't go the distance does not know what they are talking about. This one ran from VA to Bonneville and back. [​IMG]
    The engine is nothing exotic. Just a 221" with a 2 carb adapter. It ran like a Swiss watch.
    Just do a basic refresh on the flat motor you have.
  23. aonemarine
    Joined: Nov 2, 2013
    Posts: 500

    from Delaware

    Look up a few posts, looks like the op is tearing down the flatty and having it checked out... Now its just a matter of how it checks out.
    Stay tuned for more of as the crank spins......
  24. woodbutcher
    Joined: Apr 25, 2012
    Posts: 3,310


    :D Subscribed.
    Good luck.Have fun.Be safe.
  25. colinsmithson
    Joined: Jan 27, 2013
    Posts: 383


    From a financial point Flatheads are rising in price every year
    sbc engines are dropping every year
    I want my engines and cars going up in price if possible
  26. Hurley50
    Joined: Feb 3, 2012
    Posts: 596

    from NC

    Great looking car when I saw it at the Goodguys poker run! My next one will hopefully have a flathead....
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2013
  27. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,856


    I absolutely love flatheads, but I just don't believe a streetable naturally aspirated flathead is capable of 300+ HP. Show me I'm wrong and the builder gets a new customer.

    That being said, even with less HP, I'd keep the flattie in the Ford. Unless you're actually building this thing for racing the flathead beats the SBC hands down.
  28. Rich Wright
    Joined: Jan 9, 2008
    Posts: 3,922

    Rich Wright

    I have to agree with forty1fordpickup... No reason why a good running FH can't be dependable.
    My sedan has a stock 99T. I drove it Bonneville in '08...about 1,000mile round trip... 17MPG, 65-70mph.

    As I said in my previous post....either engine is a good choice. I have both and drive them as often as as far as I can with exactly the same results.

    However...I'd just as soon have a nice running FH.
  29. dsiddons
    Joined: Mar 6, 2006
    Posts: 1,541

    from Indiana

    I just threw up!

    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
  30. Larry W
    Joined: Oct 12, 2009
    Posts: 742

    Larry W
    from kansas

    I think the flathead is way over rated, go sbc. More dependable,more power,less problems... JMO

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