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History Nailhead Curiousity?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by willy9fingers, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. sheltonfab
    Joined: Jul 18, 2011
    Posts: 52

    sheltonfab
    Member
    from Mo

    I am curious to when nailheads were popular powerplants and what gives them the nailhead term? Are they very reliable? I remeber stories from my dad tellin me when the bbc's were in he had to be different and built a few big nailheads because the bbc were too expensive. I would like to know some history on them, thanks in advance.
     
  2. Evel
    Joined: Jun 25, 2002
    Posts: 9,024

    Evel
    Member
    1. 60s Show Rods

    They were called nailheads cause the valves are vertical and resemble nails.. They are a low torque motor and were used allot in the mid 50's to mid 60's

    Try the search function I'm sure there's more info on here..
     
  3. sheltonfab
    Joined: Jul 18, 2011
    Posts: 52

    sheltonfab
    Member
    from Mo

    Alright thanks , I'll try that.
     
  4. Da Tinman
    Joined: Dec 29, 2005
    Posts: 4,226

    Da Tinman
    Member

    thats low end torque,, not low torque.
     

  5. Nailheads kick ass. They started in '53 with the 264 and went all the way up to dual quads and 425 cubes in '66, with 360 H.P., and 465 Ft. Lbs of torque. Big block Chevys came in on the Nailhead's coattails.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2011
  6. I always thought they were called "nailheads" because of the small diameter valves
    Buick used (made up for size with lift and duration) compared to other early OHV 8's.
     
  7. Yes.
     
  8. Evel
    Joined: Jun 25, 2002
    Posts: 9,024

    Evel
    Member
    1. 60s Show Rods

    hahahaa Yes Low end torque... forgot a word there.. :D
     
  9. 48 Chubby
    Joined: Apr 29, 2008
    Posts: 1,015

    48 Chubby
    Member Emeritus

    Back when Buicks were popular hot rod engines no one called them nail heads except in a derogotory way. It was actually a put down throwing off on those small valves. Some owners would consider "nail head" to be fighting words. Now days people seem to think it is a proper name for any Buick engine.
     
  10. Yeah it is funny but those little valves put out a lot of torque. Ask anyone who owns one. Now I sound like a flathead guy, except with 325 horsepower instead of 85 to back it up.
     
  11. BLAKE
    Joined: Aug 10, 2002
    Posts: 2,773

    BLAKE
    Member

  12. farmergal
    Joined: Nov 28, 2010
    Posts: 2,074

    farmergal
    Member
    from somewhere

    we just purchased a 401 for our '36 5 window. cant wait to stomp on it. let the fun begin
     
  13. bangngears
    Joined: Aug 30, 2007
    Posts: 938

    bangngears
    Member
    from ofallon mo

    I have a stock 65 425 dual quad Buick in my 40 coupe with the switch pitch 400.Love the way it runs although it is not a real fast car,it has plenty and goes down the highway all day long at 80.
     
  14. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,347

    Atwater Mike
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Hot Rod Magazine first coined the phrase in '54, (or thereabouts) "The Nail Valve Special", referring to the Buick engine that powered Max Balchowski's "Old Yeller" specially prepared road race car. (this American Hybrid Hot Rod was sweeping up on the 'Tea Baggers' and Ferraris.
     
  15. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,555

    zman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Garner, NC

    There are a ton of good threads on here concerning them as well as a social group. http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/group.php?groupid=266

    '66 was the last year...

    The kind of look like nails stuck in wood with the horizontal top surface.


    Blake's link is a good one as well.
     
  16. sheltonfab
    Joined: Jul 18, 2011
    Posts: 52

    sheltonfab
    Member
    from Mo

    Thanks for all the great info guys!!
     
  17. texasred
    Joined: Dec 3, 2008
    Posts: 1,082

    texasred
    Member
    from Houston

    When did they become unpopular???????? Think outside the bowtie for change..
     
  18. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,555

    zman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Garner, NC

  19. BUICKS & NAILHEADS Forever !

    i ran the shit outa my 55 buick with the stock (never rebuilt or messed with) 322 up and down the coast of california for years, just add oil.
     
  20. sheltonfab
    Joined: Jul 18, 2011
    Posts: 52

    sheltonfab
    Member
    from Mo

    Good idea, bowtie= same shit different day :)
     
  21. farmergal
    Joined: Nov 28, 2010
    Posts: 2,074

    farmergal
    Member
    from somewhere

    this thread is so fricken exciting to us! thanks for all the favorite thread links! Our nailhead will be sitting in the corner of the garage for awhile before we can use it...but we really can't wait to dress it up and run it. this is almost as good as christmas
     
  22. Agreed, but did they not cut the power rating back in '66, and lose the dual quads?
     
  23. How about four Nailheads?
    [​IMG]
     
  24. J scow
    Joined: Mar 3, 2010
    Posts: 489

    J scow
    Member
    from Seattle

    What engines are considered Nailheads? 264, 322, 401, 425, and what else?
     
  25. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,555

    zman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Garner, NC

    Nope the MZ coded engine in '66 was still a Super Wildcat 465... And the single 4 barrel engines were up from '65 with the Quadrajet.
     
  26. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,555

    zman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Garner, NC

    and 364... the year range is from '53 to '66 for the Nailhead. No other engines are Nailheads...
     
  27. telriv
    Joined: Aug 24, 2005
    Posts: 67

    telriv
    Member
    from Conn.

    And, they can be made to run the numbers. How about a 10.8ET@125MPH in a 4spd. street driveable '66 Skylark GS at about 3500 pds. with driver.

    Tom T.
     
  28. QB409
    Joined: May 27, 2009
    Posts: 81

    QB409
    Member

  29. How about a "what do you think" question?
    See these marine headers in the photo....
    IMG_0699.jpg
    If I ran this engine in a car, and decided to run these headers because I thought they were bitchin', would they hold up to exhaust heat?
    (they'd be run dry of course).

    Your 2 cents please.
     
  30. Dakota
    Joined: Jan 21, 2004
    Posts: 1,535

    Dakota
    Member
    from Beulah, ND

    not a chance. the heat would kill them, they are water cooled in boats.
     

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