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Flatheads - Cadillac vs Ford

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by CutawayAl, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. CutawayAl
    Joined: Aug 3, 2009
    Posts: 2,144

    CutawayAl
    Member
    from MI

    For a race or hot rod engine, the Cadillac flathead seems like a better starting point than the Ford flathead. Heads and intakes were available for the Cadillac, but for some reason there seems to have been very few Cadillac powered cars. Did the Cadillac have some fatal flaw I am not aware of? Did the engine have an inherent power limitation? Was the Cadillac's size or weight a problem? The Ford flathead was cheaper and more plentiful than the Cadillac flathead, maybe that's the reason? Why wasn't there more Cadillac powered vintage race cars and hot rods?
     
  2. I think you have essentialy, answered your own question.
     
  3. Rex Schimmer
    Joined: Nov 17, 2006
    Posts: 743

    Rex Schimmer
    Member
    from Fulton, CA

    Caddy weight: 900 lbs
    Ford flat head: 550 lbs

    Rex
     
  4. smarg
    Joined: Nov 18, 2008
    Posts: 1,069

    smarg
    Member

    Not only more expensive, I think the Cadillac engine weighs alot more than the Ford, am I wrong?
     
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  5. smarg
    Joined: Nov 18, 2008
    Posts: 1,069

    smarg
    Member

    Beat me to it.
     
  6. CutawayAl
    Joined: Aug 3, 2009
    Posts: 2,144

    CutawayAl
    Member
    from MI

    I have handled a few Cadillac flatheads. I didn't realize they were so heavy. I was younger then.

    The 350 pound difference between the Ford and Cadillac would be a weight increase of almost 25% on a 1,500 pound T-Bucket!:eek:
     
  7. Henry Floored
    Joined: Sep 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,370

    Henry Floored
    Member

    I think a better comparison would be the Caddy vs. Lincoln Flathead. But to answer the question at hand, the points cited above are surely some of the biggest reasons. Let's not forget though that the Ford Flathead was a very good engine in and of itself. Being a small V8 it kept car balance low and to the rear. Some of those big inlines of the day required a pretty long wheelbase to achieve the same balance. The intake ports are short fairly smooth and all gathered near the carb for excellent fuel distribution. The crank and rotating assy was tough and since `36 revolving inside insert brgs. I used to hate the exhaust ports on a FH Ford but as I get more learned I realize that's a pretty efficient way to scavange exhaust on a sidevalve V8. They are gentle in their shape and fall nicely away from the exhaust valve pocket. Some grinding on the entrance and exit is all you need. The exhaust port on top like on the Caddy actually are more abrupt in flow direction change. There is a lot of stuff that may not be immediately obvious. The Flathead Ford was not a cheap engine to manufacture I suspect. I think the low cost came from the fact that Ford produced millions and amortized the expense over many units.

    It's funny but the comparison is usually between the FH Ford and the sbc. Certainly the modern ohv's could eventually out run the FH at high speeds, but to this day a healthy FH Ford will pull real nice out of the hole and be real respectable for a city block or so. I think the stock stroke of a FH being 3 3/4" and an easy 4" with the Merc crank has a lot to do with that punch. Realize that a 4" stroke is greater than that of a 460 Ford. A torque'y street engine will make you smile = )
     
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  8. chrisntx
    Joined: Jan 20, 2006
    Posts: 1,790

    chrisntx
    Member
    from Texas .

    For many years a Cadillac flathead V8 has sat out by the street on Highway 80 in Bossier City Louisiana serving as advertising for an engine rebuilding service that the city has decided must be torn down as part of their 'beautification' process. Dont want any real business operating, ya know!Certainly not a greasy grimy business in the oh so pretty city limits. Thats three Very knowledgeable old guys who will lose the jobs. They are not to old to build you an excellent engine but they are too old to move the contents of the building and set up shop in some other location. Anyway that engine will go for scrap SOON.

    Bossier Automotive Machine Co Inc

    409 E Texas St, Bossier City, LA 71111
    (318) 742-9110
     
  9. 38FLATTIE
    Joined: Oct 26, 2008
    Posts: 4,350

    38FLATTIE
    Member
    from Colorado

    Lot's of factors here.

    The Caddy does weigh far more, but also makes far more horsepower-135hp when the 'new' model was intoduced in 1936. By 1942, they were up to 150hp,260 ftlbs torque, simply with a higher compression head.

    Fords were lighter, therefore were used at the race tracks more. Being used more, the hi-po parts were developed for them, and not the Caddy. There really never were any 'hi-po' parts developed for them.

    The 2x2 intake, made by Edmunds and Burrell, were copies of OEM intakes. Frank Burrell developed the 2x2 intakes for military use, and was given the rights to it after the OHV came out. His son, Barry Burrell, still makes the Burrell intake- nice intake too.

    Edmunds also made heads, but in truth, they only raise the compression about a point. Same with the Cyclone heads. CycloneKevin makes the Cyclone heads, and I believe( may be wrong here), that they are the old Cook head. VERY nice head.

    There is a lot more HP to be made with the Caddy, compared to the Ford engine. To do it, however, be prepared to spend a lot more time and money. There are more and more Flatcads being built everyday, so parts will become more available.

    In August, at Bonneville, there will be 2 Cadillac flatheads running, and both should be over 400hp. One is in a coupe, and is blown, and one is in a liner, running Nitro!

    A third Cadillac flathead, blown, that should put out over 300hp, will also be there, in a roadster.
     
  10. CHEVILLAC
    Joined: Sep 15, 2009
    Posts: 36

    CHEVILLAC
    Member

    The only specs I can find online say that the 346 weighs 699lbs not 900. Have you guys weighed your engines and is it 900 with or without the trans? I want to put one in my '51 BelAir AKA The Chevillac for the cool/nostalgia factor, not to mention it would has a couple more hp than the 292 I was gonna use and it will fit in the car without a bunch of firewall mods and whatnot. But if it's gonna be 270lbs heavier, I don't know if it's worth it.
     
  11. Dale Fairfax
    Joined: Jan 10, 2006
    Posts: 2,586

    Dale Fairfax
    Member Emeritus

    Ak Miller is quoted in the SO-CAL SPEED SHOP re flathead Cadillacs: They were hard to work on-requiring special tools to do a valve job and they had weak bottom ends. 4500 R.P.M was max. He use them because he could get them cheap, they were bigger (displacement) and thus torquers. He never put money into them-buy cheap, run it til it blows, and replace with another one.
     
  12. CHEVILLAC
    Joined: Sep 15, 2009
    Posts: 36

    CHEVILLAC
    Member

    I was mistaken, it's a 270lb difference between the Chevy 216 l6 and the reported 900lb Cad 346. It's a wopping 339lb difference between the Cad and the 561lb (dry weight with clutch and flywheel, no trans) Chevy 292 l6! UNLESS... The dry weight of the Cad is actually 699lbs. I'd really like to know the actual dry weight of the Cad so I can make the right decision. I'm.not trying to build a race car but I don't need a boat anchor since I don't own a boat. Help is much appreciated.
     
  13. Ebbsspeed
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 4,621

    Ebbsspeed
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Special tools to do a valve job on a Cadillac flathead? I've taken a couple of them apart, no special tools required. Nothing like that inverted bifurcated fork bineachihead thingie that is needed to get the guides out of a Ford flathead.
     
  14. 38FLATTIE
    Joined: Oct 26, 2008
    Posts: 4,350

    38FLATTIE
    Member
    from Colorado


    Dale,

    Read what I believe to be a quote from pages 53/54/55. It's a preview of a So Cal book..
    This section deals with the famous Ak Miller & his use of Caddys.
    Precis:
    - he ran 'em on the street in a 32 Ford
    - used Caddy motors, in the 40's considered worthless as valve jobs
    difficult when they started to smoke
    - he ran a twin deuce manifold & with 2.87 in the rear & a Colombia
    overdrive, relying on the big bottom end torque, ran 128 mph.
    - seems that 4,500 was the best they could pull
    But.. hears the cool news, to improve on this top end..
    - Winfield ground him a cam that idled OK ( text mentions 700 rpm as a build
    trget) but revved out to 5,500, perhaps even 6,000!


    Garry Odbert ran his Bonneville roadster, with a STOCK Cadillac flathead and 5lbs boost this year, 5500 rms's, to a record 142+ mph.

    3524 XXO BFMR Retarded Sparks Special; 132.771, 141.648, 142.062, 142.062



     
  15. RADustin
    Joined: Aug 16, 2011
    Posts: 192

    RADustin
    Member
    from Louisiana

    flatcads are cool. Im starting my build in 2 weeks.
     
  16. RichFox
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 9,691

    RichFox
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Ford flatheads were more popular than Cads because they came in Fords. There were ten Fords to every Cad on the street. The whole car was a light, good handleing (at the time) package that a young guy would like. Sort of like today. The Northstar engine might be a better platform that the LS6, (or not) but how many guys do you know blasting around in new Cads?
     

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