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Folks Of Interest The high cost of Aluminum, and stories from days gone by...

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Pinstriper40, Nov 7, 2022.

  1. Pinstriper40
    Joined: Sep 24, 2007
    Posts: 3,596

    Pinstriper40
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I know most of you guys have been around this old car business for decades longer than I have, and that this is no surprise to you, but DAMN! New performance parts for Flathead Fords have been really getting out of hand lately! The new Offenhauser heads for Flathead Fords are now $1200+ from Speedway motors, and a '49-53 Offy Super Dual intake manifold is $679! It was a mere 20 years ago (am I starting to sound old?!?) when I bought the very same intake manifold from Speedway for $220! (Still have it!)
    Granted, the offerings from Edelbrock are $833 for heads and $479 for an intake manifold, but Jiminy Cricket hisself can't wish upon enough stars to keep those prices where they are.

    I guess the only thing we can do is tell each other stories about that really good deal you got on some speed equipment... I'll go first!

    About 17 years ago, (when I was 18 years old) I pinstriped a set of wood spoke model T wheels and outlined the C cab one day for the local beekeeper. He had quite the collection of model T's and model A's. Anyhow, when I got close to done, he said, "You know, I've got something down in the basement that you might like! It's a set of Flathead heads!" So I figured it'd be a set of cast iron heads, and finished up the last spoked wheel while he dug around lookin' for em, and by golly wouldn't ya know it, he comes back with a set of GENUINE Sharp finned heads for a '49-53 Flathead! He says, "Do these get you excited?" Of course they did! I figured I was going to charge him about $100 bucks for the two hours of striping I had done, but he insisted he just give me those heads instead! I was tickled!

    Wish I still had em, but they went to Greg Sharp himself if I remember right, after I had tried to put them on my flatty in the '40 and they never quite sealed right....

    So let's hear your best stories about finding speed equipment on the CHEAP!

    (Photo stolen from the HAMB) Sharp heads.jpg
     
  2. wicarnut
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 8,806

    wicarnut
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    [​IMG] a few of my stories of cheap speed parts from back in/my day. 1964 I was 16, my first car (my avatar) I went to my local speed shop/junkyard and purchased a 59 Chevy 348 tri-carb engine with 3 speed standard trans for $ 150, my saved up paper route money, a spray can rebuild, chrome air cleaners, Hurst floor shifter, Sun tach and I was on my way as a car guy/street racer, fastest car in my high school. Back then I was always wheeling and dealing on/with used parts, mag type wheels, intake/carb set ups, etc., buying /selling cars, not much money involved but very profitable for me, Those were the days. Then I started in Midget racing in my Dad's deal, we were low buck racers and I decided I needed a better race engine, purchased a Chevy II Race engine built by a local speed shop with a spun rod bearing for $ 400 with mag and injection, rebuilt with a new crank/rods, ran it a summer, nearly won a feature with it, got most improved driver award, sold engine for $1200 and broke even money wise for season, 1 of 2 times in 21 years total of racing midgets, then wing Sprint cars. I could write a book on my years in the car hobby/racing hobby, it's always been my passion, still is, just got old so it's changed but the fire/passion still burns, flames gone, now in the embers glowing stage. LOL On the subject of flathead parts I have the Ford V8 60 speed parts my Dad purchased after WWII from Grancor, Sandezee, Tomshee for his Midget racer he built which I'm restoring, I have the original receipts for most of the parts, including the Kurtis aluminum body that he used, one of these days I will "Git R Dun"Note my kustom paint job that I did in1974, rainbow metalflake in clear[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2022
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  3. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 18,830

    alchemy
    Member

    The High Cost of Magnesium

    I once bought a pile of smoothie (no window) Halibrands at a swap meet for $300. I forget how many, but at least a half dozen. Now this was at least 20 years ago, but that was a screaming deal even back then.
     
  4. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 18,830

    alchemy
    Member

    I was a young guy, just married and living in our first apartment. Heard a fella that my Dad had bought a 32 coupe body from was looking to sell a pile of flatheads and parts. My brother and I went to his town with an S-10 and an El Camino to see what we would find.

    By the end of the day, both trucks were loaded full of a Z block flathead, a few other regular blocks, Merc cranks, new sets of bearings, as well as NOS bearings, many aftermarket intakes, piles of carbs including Strombergs, hot ignitions including dual H-C's, aluminum flywheel and Auburn clutch, Cad-Lasalle transmissions, hot cams and Johnson lifters, chrome water pumps and pan, a ton of original iron like heads and intakes, and the piece de' resistance a beautiful pair of Grancor heads. All for $1,000.

    I know the wife couldn't believe all the dirty junk I had spent good money on, but over the years I have sold a few items and made my initial investment back a few times already. And I still have the key parts, including that Z block and the Grancor heads.
     
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  5. I used to throw metal next to the alley behind my garage for the local scrap collector; he came by one day and said he found something in the trunk of a car he thought I might like. He gave me a Fenton flathead intake with two 97's. Thought that was pretty nice of him.
     
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  6. Welcome to 2022, supply and demand,

    Ya gotta pay to play! :rolleyes: HRP
     
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  7. Pinstriper40
    Joined: Sep 24, 2007
    Posts: 3,596

    Pinstriper40
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I would bet demand is lower now than 20 years ago... And we've always had to pay to play!
     
  8. R A Wrench
    Joined: Feb 4, 2007
    Posts: 507

    R A Wrench
    Member
    from Denver, Co

    I got out of the army in 68, rode my motorcycle from N. Carolina to N. Dakota. Got a job & needed a car before winter. Found a 55 Chevy 2 door for $65. Drove it home & went to work. The 6 cyl broke & I dropped in a 283. Got the car into a body shop in a vo-tech school, body work, paint job, (69 Vette yellow) diamond tuck interior, all done for $175. DAMN--I wish I still had that ride.
     
  9. hemihotrod66
    Joined: May 5, 2019
    Posts: 799

    hemihotrod66
    Member

    I remember trying to find a ashtray radio and factory hot air heater when I restored my 34 but good radios were sky high back in the 70's and never found the heater....Don't need them now but demand usually dictates the price....
     
  10. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 7,780

    jnaki

    upload_2022-11-9_4-29-58.png 1964
    Hello,

    For us, the Douglas Aircraft Surplus Yard next door to the Long Beach Airport, was a gold mine. The aircraft company made a lot of stuff and used aluminum. So, in going to the scrapyard, there were tons of sheets of all sizes, chunky blocks of aluminum, thick rods, bars and rectangular pieces just sitting in one section of the whole large scrap yard. It was a machinist’s dream location. Anything that could be taken off of a commercial prop plane, then jet, and other projects that was deemed not for public installations was sent to the surplus yard.
    upload_2022-11-9_4-31-46.png Thanks, @elgringo71

    So, where did the aluminum sheets and thicker bars, rectangular thick sheets go? Enterprising hot rod builders and machinists that had access to the yard went to town on their custom projects.

    Since Atts Ono was a certified machinist, his work was outstanding. My brother and I used some small pieces to create things like shift levers, arms, machined plates and small blocks turned into gas distribution parts with simple drills and tapping. But, we had to use the high school automotive shop stuff and the next door metal shop machines to get our custom work done.
    upload_2022-11-9_4-34-9.png phase one

    Atts Ono worked in a machine shop and did some amazing work in the late hours.
    upload_2022-11-9_4-34-28.png phase two
    and in a later stage: phase three

    upload_2022-11-9_4-36-16.png

    Jnaki


    So, those activities from the old days late 50s to 1966 gives one thoughts on the search for surplus aluminum pieces from all sources available in a lot of places…YRMV


    upload_2022-11-9_4-38-1.png
    phase four


    The last known photo in the latest version of the immaculate build. Photo by Don Hale
     

    Attached Files:

  11. With prices being higher you just have to be more creative. Maybe we don’t need the ultra rare parts to have the same fun?
     
  12. Bearing Burner
    Joined: Mar 2, 2009
    Posts: 1,039

    Bearing Burner
    Member
    from W. MA

    I bought a truck load of Flathead parts from a old racer who needed money for his wife's medical expenses for $600. Heads, 2&3 carb manifolds,cams Cranks, pistons bearings including ones in military's wrap and cad silvers. However I was only making $5000/yead as a graduate engineer.
     
  13. das858
    Joined: Jul 28, 2010
    Posts: 882

    das858
    Member

    In the late '70's I bought an Edelbrock STR intake for 413-440 Mopar new in the box from a garage sale for $60.00 , the last time I saw one for sale it was $1400.00 . A year or so after that a friend of mine gave me a factory inline 2 four barrel intake for 361-383 Mopar for me loaning my car trailer to him .
     
  14. denis4x4
    Joined: Apr 23, 2005
    Posts: 4,008

    denis4x4
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Colorado

    In the early seventies, I was looking at the prices of used flathead intakes and heads at Pomona. The following week I was having lunch with Fred Offenhauser and asked if he still had flathead parts tooling. Turns out he did and Victor Gasket still had dies for Offy stuff. Fred's brother Carl and Ollie Morris cleaned up the tooling and started production of flathead heads and intakes again. Marketing was based on the fact that it was the original tooling using modern materials and manufacturing techniques and why buy used Offy stuff when you could get brand new stuff. We also pointed out that it was not reproduction items as they were made using the original tooling. It was rumored that Edlebrock junked their flathead stuff when they moved from Coral Circle and had to make new molds.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2022
  15. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 16,416

    Squablow
    Member

    20171203_154258.jpg
    4 years ago I found these laying on the ground outside at a junkyard that was cleaning out. They had apparently fallen out of the rusted out trunk of one of the cars that had gotten dragged out and crushed that week. I bought enough stuff that day to fill my van, and the total including these I believe was $285.

    A few years prior, I won the bid on a pair of Edelbrock script heads on eBay (cheap) but the seller informed me that he had mistakenly listed them twice and already shipped them to the first winning bidder. He said if I was willing to chip in a few more bucks he'd substitute a pair of Evans scrip heads and send those to me, so of course I did it.

    I've also got a Sharp 2 carb intake I bought when I went to a guy's house to buy a 50's Ford truck tailgate, he had his garage done-up with a bar and old posters/signs and such, and he was using that intake as a key rack. I asked and he was kind enough to sell it to me.
     
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  16. Corn Fed
    Joined: May 16, 2002
    Posts: 3,183

    Corn Fed
    Member

    In about 1990 I was still a punk kid and went to the local salvage yard. There I saw a box in the corner of the front room. In it was a 6x2 intake (probably Edelbrock) for a 348 or 409 complete with carbs and chrome frog mouth scoops. I bought it all for $50. When I sold it a year or so later for $150 I though I had made the deal of the century! If only I had held on to it for 30 years.
     
  17. hfh
    Joined: Oct 22, 2012
    Posts: 404

    hfh
    Member
    from Western MA

    Many years ago I bought these Edmunds heads at Hershey for $85.00. They were the first parts that I bought for my roadster and I have loved B36D30B0-C761-4496-81FD-7EA5B384361D.jpeg F7A3033C-195E-40FE-92FD-4592F96B5EF3.jpeg using them for 25 years at least.
     
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  18. As far as the flathead shit goes, when I got my (running) flathead, the guy I bought it from said he'd knock twenty-five dollars off the asking price if I took the four sets of Grancor heads, the three dual carb and two triple carb intakes, and the milk crate full of Stromberg carbs. Looking at all that shit I countered at fifty, we settled at thirty-five. I ended up giving the guy 115 bucks and to this day I still think he fucked me.
     
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  19. Fortunateson
    Joined: Apr 30, 2012
    Posts: 4,862

    Fortunateson
    Member

    When I went looking for a Flathead for my ‘32 5W I met I guy who said he had a Merc engine. Went to see it and since around here they are tough to find I paid the $500 bucks. Well the engine did have Merc heads.... When I took it apart it e also had a Merc crank! When I was leaving the fellow place he said I should also take some parts he would not be using. They were a Fenton 3x2 intake with three 97s, early and post war Eddie Meyer heads in perfect shape, and five, I think Truspoke wire wheels, that will fit my ‘47 Buick. I think I did ok...
     
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  20. ray
    Joined: Jun 25, 2001
    Posts: 3,784

    ray
    Member
    from colorado

    ah, but supply is down even morerer. they really don't want to have to try to get another batch made. every company in manufacturing in the US that is worth half a damn is picking and choosing the best work to do. heck, where i work at a med device manufacturer, we are turning down work in our stated field of specialty because opportunities serving chip manufactures came knocking and are more profitable.
     
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  21. Pinstriper40
    Joined: Sep 24, 2007
    Posts: 3,596

    Pinstriper40
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    That makes sense. As long as there isn't a salsa shortage we'll be OK.
     
  22. I was given a 52 flatty with EAB heads.
    Was rummaging through my friends junk pile yesterday and found a 94 carb. He gave it to me. Now I gave a complete set for a future build.
     
  23. guthriesmith
    Joined: Aug 17, 2006
    Posts: 7,805

    guthriesmith
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. H.A.M.B. Chapel

    One of my best finds years ago was from a guy moving out of town selling some of his stuff. I ended up with a set of magnesium 15x4 five spoke wheels with a 5 on 5-1/2 bolt pattern with some wide whitewall bias plus mounted for $40. I had a buddy building a Model A roadster and the only thing I owned with the Ford pattern was a 55 F100 at the time. So, I gave him a good deal at like $50 if I remember right. :eek: Pretty sure they are worth a little more now.
     

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