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How Uncommon is this "OBAS" Ford Flatty?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Southfork, Oct 11, 2008.

  1. Southfork
    Joined: Dec 15, 2001
    Posts: 1,463


    I've been into Ford flatheads for a long time, but recently picked up one that's kind of strange (to me). Anybody got any info on the OBAS model?

    Attached Files:

  2. That is one manly generator.
    I have never seen an OBAS engine, so I can't help much.
  3. thunderbirdesq
    Joined: Feb 15, 2006
    Posts: 6,876


    I'm thinkin I saw one in a fire truck once. That would explain the mondo-generator to run all the lights/pump/siren/etc...?
  4. Southfork
    Joined: Dec 15, 2001
    Posts: 1,463


    I hadn't seen one either --- not until this one. Of the post-WWII flastheads I've had or seen many of the 59 series (59A 59AB, 59L, 59Y, 59Z) and of course the later 8BAs and Merc equivalents, This one has water outlets on the heads like the '49 and newer 8BA and Merc blocks. but what's with the "OBAS" casting in the middle of the heads???

    The Generator is original Ford as far as I can tell.

  5. I sure don't think that generator is an original Ford. I think thunderbirdesq is right and that is a high output generator for something like a fire truck.
  6. thunderbirdesq
    Joined: Feb 15, 2006
    Posts: 6,876


    I think it is an original ford generator, but it's a high output model specifically for fire trucks, ambulances, emergency vehicles, the batmobile, that type of thing. Certainly not a passenger car application.:D
  7. yep-original ford gennie i`d say fire truck type -to run all the extra gear, special manifold also from factory to suit with extra clearance for the gennie-quite rare-stroked36
  8. Southfork
    Joined: Dec 15, 2001
    Posts: 1,463


    Come to think about it, the guy I got the Flatty from said something about it being a "cop" flatty. Maybe he got the motor out of a highway patrol car or some such. Those would have accessories like sirens and flashing lights etc. that would require greater amperage.

    Nobody knows what the embossed "OBAS" on the heads connotates? Where are the HAMB Flathead gurus?
  9. Maybe if your post was on trying to ID the generator on this flatty, maybe by now, someone would have told you all about a "OBAS" head casting. :D
  10. Bill Van Dyke
    Joined: May 21, 2008
    Posts: 810

    Bill Van Dyke

    One Big Alternator Special ? I know it's a generator but sorry just couldn't resist...Seriously never heard or saw one like that. Bruce??
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2008
  11. LIMEY
    Joined: Nov 5, 2002
    Posts: 1,986


    Quick thinking......... very funny! :) sort of thing i think of after beer.

    Ask on Fordbarn some of those guru's on there would know....... where's Bruce?

  12. 31whitey
    Joined: Jan 2, 2007
    Posts: 2,214


    by doing a two second search I came up with this



    the rest we will have to wait for the experts....I have no idea if this is valid info.

    All I did was take the time to search...all of two seconds
  13. 31ACoupe
    Joined: Nov 14, 2005
    Posts: 1,416


    My Tex Smith book shows OBA as a 1950 Model. No S listed though, might mean something like plant of manufacture.
  14. stillkruzn
    Joined: Apr 10, 2007
    Posts: 981

    from Conway, AR

    It isn't real clear in the picture, but that 'S' looks like an '8' to me...
  15. What he said, looks like an 8 to me too.
  16. If it came out of an old cop car, it might be a higher than normal compression head and hotter cam. I would pull the heads and volume check them. And get the cam spec'd out to. you might have a fairly rare peice on your hands.
  17. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,682

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member Emeritus

    S in that position=special in Fordspeak. Same symbol used on Denverheads, fat tire setups, super radiators in earlier rigs. Pretty sure these will prove to have smaller chambers than stock '50, probably police/high altitude.
    Ford offered a LOT of generators, including some real monsters, for Police/Ambulance type use. All are now very scarce except the base passenger one. Early communications radios ate a LOT of electricity. Show pics of whole manifold are and of exhausts...maybe there are other goodies in there. I know there was a special dual exhaust manifold at one time...very interesting motor.

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