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UPDATED>> Hedman Headers?? on my '56 T-Bird?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by BIGREDTODD, Mar 3, 2009.


  1. I just posted the information I got, more or less confirming the story on these headers...scroll down...

    So I got a few more items from my Uncle for the '56 T-Bird, and he gave me a little more history on the Edelbrock-built 312 stroker that was swapped into the car in 1956. Won't bore you with the details on the engine, as it was blown up long ago but most of the accessories remain.


    A point of interest are the tube headers. The d/s header is still installed on the car. He just gave me the p/s side header (had been swapped at some point for a stock manifold). They look to be one-off headers, and are a "tri-y" design for lack of a better term.

    As the story goes after the engine was built the (Edelbrock) team called Hedman and ordered up a set of custom headers for the application. These are supposedly either set #1 of an early design T-Bird header, or just a one-off prototype that never made it to mainstream production.

    They extend out into the cavern behind the wheel well rather than hugging the engine like stock manifolds, or even the contemporary Sanderson headers. Another interesting point is that they don't have collectors. They route directly into a clamp/weld joint as a normal exhaust pipe would.

    Here's the d/s header (top view) as installed on the car currently:
    [​IMG]

    And from the front:
    [​IMG]

    Here's a couple pics of the passenger side header:
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    I am debating as to whether I should have the welds cleaned up and reinstall these as the period speed items they are, or just hang them on my wall for conversation. Not looking to sell, nor do I care what they are worth, but I would be curious to find out if anyone has ever heard of or seen a set like these. They are definitely designed for the '55-'57 Bird and its confined engine compartment, so I doubt there's much of a cross-over into another application...
    <O:p</O:p
    <O:p</O:p

    Anyone have information, or a different take on these?
    <O:p</O:p
    <O:p</O:p

    BIGREDTODD
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2009
  2. I should have also noted that there aren't any numbers, tags, or the like welded or riveted onto these headers...

    BRT
     
  3. there used to be a guy down your way that made headers to fit for folks with 292 and 312s, called himselfe Reds Headers. Don't know if he is still around but you might compare those with some of his work.
     
  4. Little Wing
    Joined: Nov 25, 2005
    Posts: 7,473

    Little Wing
    Member
    from Northeast

    Don't look like Hedman the style maybe
     
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  5. I'd definitely run em on the car!
    Just read the story on the car too. Very cool. My 56 has a cool history too,but only because it was owned by Universal Studios
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2009
  6. Little Wing
    Joined: Nov 25, 2005
    Posts: 7,473

    Little Wing
    Member
    from Northeast

    Maybe Jardine's ?
     
  7. He's still around, but these were made in mid to late 1956. I don't know that he was around then.

    The tri-y design reminds me of the Doug Thorley headers...
     
  8. Doug didn't really start making headers until 1958 and Doug Thorley Headers was run by his ex wife many years later after they divorced.
    Jerry Jardine's kid is on here, maybe he can shed some light.

    Bob Hedman was definitely a friend of Vic's so they certainly could have been done by him, or possibly partner Sandy Belond. Bob was heavily into header building by that time. Bob also was big on that 4 into 2 into 1 style, not really a true Tri Y.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2009
  9. Thanks for the input...I admittedly know very little about early headers. For all I know, Edelbrock may have provided the flanges. My uncle recalls Vic Sr. telling his racing partner (the original owner of the T-Bird) that Hedman made them...but that was a recollection of 52+ years ago...

    I am leaning towards running them on the car...they are really cool/different, and will likely make the Thunderbird elite very upset when they see tri-power, chrome, vintage headers, etc...

    :D
     
  10. 2manybillz
    Joined: May 30, 2005
    Posts: 827

    2manybillz
    Member

    There's a pic of Hedmans for '55 to '57 Ford in the '58 Hot Rod Handbook - They're the old style Hedman unequal length tube headers but the flanges look exactly like your's - I think your story is correct.
     
  11. The Brudwich
    Joined: Oct 3, 2005
    Posts: 790

    The Brudwich
    Member

    They very well could be Hedman Hedders. The flange in your pic looks exactly like the flange on the 55-57 Ford passenger cars headers in the their ad in the December 1956 Hot Rod (page 5).

    Also, in the January 1956 Hot Rod, they profile Vic Edelbrock building and dynoing a 265 Chevy. For the build, Edelbrock had Hedman make the headers.

    I know I've seen an ad/review of those t-bird headers somewhere in my library, but which magazine? I'll see what I can dig up. But for now, I'm putting my money on that they're Hedman Hedders.
     
  12. 2manybillz
    Joined: May 30, 2005
    Posts: 827

    2manybillz
    Member

    Here's a scan.
     

    Attached Files:

  13. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 12,033

    alchemy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I'm no ol' timer, but all the Hedman's I've seen (and own one pair) have a big square-cornered one-piece flange. Never seen a Hedman with a trimmed flange like your's.

    But, the tubes on your's look exactly like I would expect a Hedman to look like.
     
  14. The flange looks the same, no doubt...

    What's interesting is that the picture looks like the header hugs the engine much like a stock manifold. Mine sweeps over the steering shaft into the open area behind the fender well, then the head pipe dives down towards the mufflers and have (relatively) smooth transitions...

    My uncle said the original exhaust system had cut-outs on it too, as the car got a lot of challenges on the street.

    I am loving all of the input guys. Much appreciated
     
  15. Last edited: Mar 3, 2009
  16. Those ones from Reds look like a perfect knock off of yours with a one piece flange to me.
    [​IMG]
     
  17. Yeah, your'e right...I missed the second page...:eek:

    I wonder how long Red's has been in business, or what, if any connection there is to anyone from Hedman's old crew? Talked to my uncle again, and he said Hedman made them...don't get me wrong, either way, they are just cool old speed parts that will probably find their way back onto the car...just curious about the origins...
     
  18. Well, I called Red's Headers and recounted my story and the time frame, and these headers are a Hedman design that was discontinued many moons ago...he said the Hedmans have round-port flanges (like mine) and slightly larger primary tubes than the Red's product.

    He went on to say that they are an amazing improvement over stock manifolds or even block hugger style headers based on a T-Bird he installed them on.

    So as far as I am concerned it seems that these are at the very least an early set of Hedman's, if not the first prototype. The welds would suggest that they may very well be the prototype, as production-type welds are much cleaner...

    Anyway, thanks to the information and historical references that everyone contibuted. I think these are going to get refinished and reinstalled when the engine compartment gets detailed...

    Todd
     
  19. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 12,033

    alchemy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Grinding the welds will make them just like the later production parts, and ruin their "prototype-ness". Just give them a sandblast and high temp paint.
     

  20. That's a very good point...

    I found some .0625" copper manifold gaskets that should help seal them at the head, too.
     
  21. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,759

    tommy
    Member Emeritus

    [​IMG]

    Yep original THUNDER BIRD HFT-1 Hedman headers. You can see that the Ford truck were similar but a different part # The sedan picture is on the facing page and comes up and to the rear from the head. Not even close. This is a 1963 catalog.

    Yes don't modify them. They are not a gold mine but they are unmolested pieces of history. The beautiful thing about them is that they would probably work just fine on a Y block equipped hotrod.
     
  22. Very cool Tommy...thanks for that!

    Still interesting that my flanges are the same as the real early header's in post #11 & 12...The value doesn't really hold much importance, but the more and more information I get, the validity of the prototype story my uncle recounts holds water...

    Looks like high-temp black paint will be the way to go with these...

    Again, thanks to everyone who has conrtibuted information on this thread...
     
  23. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,759

    tommy
    Member Emeritus


    Yes I was hung up on the difference between the T bird and the sedan tube design. They must have changed the flange design sometime between 56 and 63 but the tube design remained the same for both body styles. I'd say that yours are very early.
     
  24. y'sguy
    Joined: Feb 25, 2008
    Posts: 353

    y'sguy
    Member
    from Tulsa, OK

    well, as usual I got here late, but I was going to say Hedman because I have been around tbirds for awhile and have seen similar ones before on birds. No pictures or real facts unfortunately. And I used to have a set back in the day that were never on my car.
    Back then they had many problems with leaking and fit etc. But if the point here is with something unique-vintage, etc. period style, go for it. I consider myself one of "the Thunderbird elite" which includes "do what you want it's your car! So I do. And that's a good thing.
    I would try a dark ceramic coat on those, though because they are thin as I remember and rust can happen quickly to 'em, I have also seen them thrown away for that very reason!
     

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