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SBC vs Flathead

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Strong-arm, Jul 30, 2011.

  1. Mopar Mama
    Joined: Nov 19, 2007
    Posts: 234

    Mopar Mama
    from Boise, ID

    IMHO, this is the best advice. I have had my Desoto for 5 years, un-running, because I am to damn stubborn to give up the old flathead in it. I have the Plymouth too, which I am working on now because it's closer to driving. But the point is, I could have been driving my Desoto LONG ago if I had just put my Chevy 250 (inlines are my favorite) in it and been done with it. In hindsight, I wish I had just thrown that engine in and built the original while driving the thing.
    I have NO fabricating experience, but would it be too hard too switch back to the flattie later if they are both V8's?
  2. FLATHEAD. if you are trying to convince yourself otherwise, you are fooling yourself. a flathead is a fu**ing flathead, end of story.
    anyone can have a sbc. but hey, go ahead, be everybody else.
  3. Von Rigg Fink
    Joined: Jun 11, 2007
    Posts: 13,426

    Von Rigg Fink
    from Garage

    I got to page 3 and stopped reading

    put what ever you want or can afford and close the hood..

    than get out there and show it off driving it.
  4. ironfly28
    Joined: Dec 22, 2003
    Posts: 969

    from Orange, CA

    No, it's not that easy, it involves transmissions and radiators and fabricated motor mounts not to mention electrical.........same with your boat anchor 250 It doesn't just bolt right in because it has the same number of cylinders.........
    To the what ever you want, just do it! get that car on the road!
  5. johnybsic
    Joined: Oct 8, 2009
    Posts: 612

    from las vegas

    Quote- "Almost Every small block built for 10 years straight wore the cam lobes off within 25,00 to 60,000 miles."

    "GM engines are poorly designed with the distributor sitting directly behind the carburetor. At the slightest hint of a gas leak the distributor handily lights the engine compartment on fire and the result is that GM gets to sell you a new truck/car "

    I'm sorry, and im not bashing the poster... But this seems like a truely ignorant statement.

    I understand what camp some people are in. But all opinions aside I would think that the 90,000,000 + SBC's made, the crate engines the general is still pumping out (and selling!) including some of the most iconic muscle cars to rip asphalt off this planet. The street cars I see around here killin the streets night after night... would show the truth.

    This isn't a superiority battle, time has weeded that one out already. The OP had a question that alot of people go through. I hope He gets the thing going soon and enjoys it...No matter whats under the hood.
    put what you can afford in it (Hopefully a choice that saves some $$$ for fuel!!!)
    Andddd were back at square one :p
  6. Go with your own instincts, you really know deep down what you want. I have three flatheads (39&40 Mercs & an 8BA) but changed out the 8BA in my '50 for a late model 350 with throttle body injection. Why you ask, because that is what I wanted. A really funny thing happened not long after I got it running and on the road, a flathead guru (self proclaimed) commented on my youtube post where we started the car and drove it for the first time. His expert comment on listening to the engine exhaust... "there ain't nothin' that sounds like a flatty through nice pipes". My first car was a '50 Stude Champion with a flathead and I liked it, I just didn't like what parts cost for it when I was making a $1.50 an hour. It's your car, build what YOU want and drive the wheels off it.
  7. 1 KooL "MoFo"
    Joined: Aug 16, 2011
    Posts: 310

    1 KooL "MoFo"

    Flathead all the way !! F---ck SBC
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 8,300


    After all of this, and I mean I've just learned some shit that I thought was immpossible, I've made my mind up for good. I'm puttin a flathead Ford in my 54 pickup. I don't even care that it's an AD Chevy. WTF...

    Threads like this make me wanna slap a Model A coupe together with a SBC in it just to tweek some of the wannabes. Maybe I could put an FE in my 61 bubbletop? Better yet a MEL motor. Gotta be period correct, right. I mean we all have money to burn so lets drop $5-7K immediately on a hopped up flattie. In a kustom? Sure. Nobody really sees it gong down the road but we'll all know it's in there. Now if you'da asked "I got this dual quad Nailhead for it or this worn out flattie...", 1/2 of these guys against the SBC would be blowin ya by now.
  9. How about thses figures:
  10. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,792

    Member Emeritus

    Wow. 17 days on this shit? Really?:confused:
  11. Old&Low
    Joined: Mar 13, 2010
    Posts: 410


    Geez my head hurts, . . . to think all the decades I wasted driving Old Fords to work and back, some with Flatties, some with SBCs, all SEEMINGLY reliable enough to put hundreds of thousands of miles on, . . . if I'd only known what chances I was taking I might have bought a Moped! The only thing this thread has done to/for me (only 3 or 4 pages thank God) has kept me out of the shop. Bye, and to the OP: I'm with the guys that say do what YOU want; the worst that can happen is you'll learn something new and have some fun. BTW, thanks for your service!
  12. Did you ever decide on the engine?

    I'll re-affirm what I said before. If you were customizing a Merc in say 1957, and you needed an engine, maybe you'd do a flathead. If you had the cash and desire to be quicker you'd do something else. I don't think the go-to engine for a Merc in the 50's was a SBC, seems like other engines were used quite a bit... a 330 Hemi for example.

    And when it comes to customs, I'd rather see the hood shut. I'm more impressed by seeing rounded hood corners, the chop, the chose of chrome, whether it has real Appletons, the stance, the choice of grill, the choice of taillights.

    I'm rocking maybe 300hp (cammed SBC) and I wish I had 400. I also wish I had OD I have a TH350, my car doesn't get great fuel economy. but I can drive it 50-200 miles without really thinking about it (except for fuel economy).
  13. Russco
    Joined: Nov 27, 2005
    Posts: 4,196

    from Central IL

    BTW I am just about ready to start assembling my new 286CI Flathead motor and I am not anywhere near some of the numbers being tossed around for the cost to build a Flathead. Matter of fact I am under 3500 dollars Including machine work.
    Parts list: Balanced stroker kit (Scat crank & H beam rods & Ross pistons), new Isky cam & lifters, Isky valve springs, retainers,keepers, guides & clips, main bearings, crank gear and big bore gasket set for a total of 3480.00 I still have to get a few things but I'm pretty sure I'll be well under 4 grand when finished.
  14. big bad john
    Joined: Aug 11, 2010
    Posts: 4,727

    big bad john

    .....No-brainer.....anybody can use a sbc.....flatheads are the coolest of the "Cool"
  15. 1950 silver bullet
    Joined: May 11, 2011
    Posts: 175

    1950 silver bullet

    i agree . i just sold my last flathead v8 to a fellow hamber because as bad as they look and sound they just dont make the HP i need. for what i would spend to put together a 250 hp flathead i could put together a 500 hp SBC. NO-BRAINER
  16. 48FordFanatic
    Joined: Feb 26, 2011
    Posts: 1,335

    from Maine

    9 times out of 10 , a non running Flathead is going to have serious problems. You might be lucky and not have a cracked block, but from what I've seen you will have less than a 50/50 chance of that. You just can't beat a small block chevy for performance or reliability. The SBC would be the best choice .
  17. 1950 silver bullet
    Joined: May 11, 2011
    Posts: 175

    1950 silver bullet

    and how much hp will that flatty be makein ???
  18. Harry o
    Joined: Jan 19, 2012
    Posts: 200

    Harry o
    from Georgia

    I love SBCs but dang be different ... 80% of the hot rods has SBCs ... olds , pontiac , buick , ford ... any thing but a SBC ...
  19. Russco
    Joined: Nov 27, 2005
    Posts: 4,196

    from Central IL

    More than enough to power the OP's Merc at freeway speeds and above. Did I miss where he said it needed to be fast. I drive both my Flathead powered cars all over the midwest. If he's looking to go racing then I'd say get a SBC too. 50 Mercs dont usually make great racecars but, they do make pretty nice customs.
  20. 1950 silver bullet
    Joined: May 11, 2011
    Posts: 175

    1950 silver bullet

    i dont build racecars i build drivers and i like HP. my 50 is not a merc its a studebaker and i drove it a while with a 80 hp engine.... and it just was not enough for ME. thats all i'm sayin. with a sbc it will be a fun rod to beat around in or take down the 1/4 now and then. i wouldnt tell anyone how to build their ride just like no one can tell me what to put in my the way you want-em. FAST OR SLOW- HIGH OR LOW.
  21. holy fuck this post is gettin out of hand, put a olds j2 in it or an old Cad or rebuild the flattie with a blower for maybe 200 hp, but keep the chev out of the shoebox
  22. There is a reason you find SBC engines in about every brand and type of hot rod car or truck in the world. Parts are readily available and at relatively low cost when compared to other engine brands and types.

  23. nukeGM
    Joined: Apr 27, 2007
    Posts: 103


    Here Here!
  24. teddyp
    Joined: May 28, 2006
    Posts: 3,197


    i use sbc,s because i like them i would put a sbc in a 50 merc because i like them both my 2 cents is the ahole who thinks someone car is boring by what he or she used for a drive train is boring i also love y-blocks ,nailheads and caddy,s
  25. Henry Floored
    Joined: Sep 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,370

    Henry Floored

    Something is wrong with the Flathead in your `39 Ford. The stock 221" Flathead in my `41 is far from fresh in fact it's probably never been rebuilt but it hauls that big ole tubby fat `41 with plenty of gusto. Never ran a `37 Chevy before and I'm sure that big six has plenty of balls, but I have run plenty of Flattys wound out at high interstate speeds with no fuss. Does the babbit lined and splash oiled bottom end in your Stovebolt take to that very well? I'd be more worried about that.
  26. I just purchased a Flatty for my 31 Tudor. I hear all the stories about the reliability issues and horsepower limitations but,imo, you just gotta have a flathead in your stable.
    My 31 Roadster's got a 265 that i'm building with tri power. You really can't go wrong either way but like other posters have pointed out, think about the type of driving you'll be doing. If you plan on taking her on some nice trips then SBC is the ticket.

    I'd keep the flathead that came with her and build it when time/$ allow, but in the mean time you'll be happpily cruising in you ride.
  27. Yeah I don't think folks are keeping in mind that it depends on what you are building, what era you are striving for (if any era at all)... That all factors in. By my own build I should be wanting an early Caddy mill since my cutoff is before the availability of the SBC. That's how I look at it.... it's specific to the build.
  28. nonipshere
    Joined: Feb 20, 2012
    Posts: 141


    If you don't want the flattie, then go old school small block or Olds rocket or Cadillac 332 or Buick nailhead 322. I'm sorry but, 350 crate is soooooooooo common and sssooooooooo boring even if they do run great.
  29. VonKool13
    Joined: Feb 16, 2008
    Posts: 1,039


    *331 caddy

    But he is right. If your after HP on the cheap, then sbc is the ticket. If your after being the cool kid in town, alot of great coversations at car shows, and the best sounding motor on the planet then you need to go with Toyota 22r motor!.....:D J/K.....Flattie
  30. jack orchard
    Joined: Aug 20, 2011
    Posts: 238

    jack orchard

    my first choice would be a flathead. after that i like early 50s Olds, then early Cad, then early nailhead. all of them with a 5speed. thanks for your time...jack

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