The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by chappys4life, Nov 23, 2011.
Disagree on that I ran a flattie in the early 60's in fact still do so don't say no one...........
I take my flathead jalopy to a car show and watch the crowd walk past a row of boring 350/350s to get to mine where a crowd gathers.........And it ain't even shiney
Nosir, never stopped being king.
I think the early hemi would be the real beginning of the demise right? Garlits was setting records with a 331 in 56 with his rail dragster but it had been out since 51 with advertised hp of 180.
I had a 56 Plymouth 2 dr Plaza,that I bought as my first car. After high school I bought a 56 Imperal 354 Hemi and installed it in the 56. For a fact there wasn't a SBC powered car in my hometown that wanted to race me. I didn't know anyone with a Ford who wanted a SBC motor in there car. I see it all the time now and think it's stupid. I call them just, Chevy guys who have to drive a Ford to try to be cool. The fastest street 55-57 Chevys I saw had a 421 Pontaic & another had a 440 Chrysler. I guess the 265's went in the scrap.
Never been calmer...
In nineteen sixty two sbc's were running rampant where I grew up. so in highschool auto shop I put built a 55 chevy street gasser with a mild 392 chrysler out of a 57 New Yorker, dual quads, Clay smith regrind cam, 11.5:1 Jahnes pistons. 11.55 @ 120MPH. approx. 500 HP No SBC could touch me! BUCKD
Didnt the chevy straight 6 ohv spank the ford flat head v8s?? Imagine when the small block came out. Id have to say the olds motor was a ripper thoe.
No the Chevy six wasn't even close. The guys with early Chevy's (pre 55) were stuffing big 270 & 301 GMC sixes in to run with the Ford flatties and yes that made it = Even Steven.
The king died in 1955 (flathead), long live the king (Mouse Motor).
But there are an awful lot of articles of the Jimmy beating the flatty, when there weren't rules in place to put OHV engines at a disadvantage (weight penalty).
Side note, in the mid 70s a fella ran a Jimmy at one of the circle tracks against the finest the local GM, Ford and Mopar dealers could supply or support (something about torque off the corner, and a short track ).
Of course it didn't take the other racers long to get him outlawed ("no more truck motors").
Oh, and the flatty is definitely the crown prince of cool points.
Bill Fisher and Frank McGurk are most known for fast GMC inline 6's. But both of then reworked Chevy 6's and wrote books about tuning them. Bill Fisher described in detail making modifications to the old Chevy splash oil 235 street engine that in his words " will make more power than a full race stroked Flathead Ford V-8 at less cost.Fisher went on to make make the special heads for Chevy and GMC 6's.
I graduated HS in 65. This was NE NJ and I never saw any traditional Flathead V-8 hot rods,50's cars were the norm.Besides the usual SBC Chevys and early Olds 2 doors in the school lot,a 50's Stude coupe with a Caddy engine was probably the older baddest car.But the attention by this time was swinging onto the Muscle cars.
I was going to ask about new long block prices back in the 50's as I recall reading in back issue articles where a Hot Rod builder "installed a new from dealer SBC". Seems very reasonable for a new SBC upgrade. Wonder what a junkyard SBC went for?
As for the original question "when did the flathead stop being king"?
The O/P is referring to king of performance, not populariy.
Flatheads forever will always be in style and popular in our world, but for performance, the Flatty for the most part took a back seat to the OHV's by the mid 50's.
What's ironic, is that we've come full circle; plenty of old Hot Rods that had Flattys "upgraded" to OHV's in the late 50's, early 60's. Then in the early 70's, guys were pulling "boat anchor early Cad's, Buicks, etc. in favor of a "modern" SBC or SBF. Now those are getting yanked by the HAMB crowd in favor of a more "correct" Flatty, Early Hemi, Nailhead, etc!
CAL & Beaner are right that the competitive edge in rodding speed began to be eclipsed with the Olds 303 and '55 Chevy OHVs. But in terms of numbers employed in 'rods, the Ford V8 will always be king of the flatheads. An honorable mention goes to the Hudson 308 six and the Lincoln 12. But they weren't especially plentiful. The Fords and Mercs were affordable, available, so much easier to work with and just looked right in a rod. IMO, the Ford family of flatheads was, and will remain, far and away the King of the hill in the Flathead Realm and flatty lore.
Hate to burst your balloon but hemispherical chambers were around long before chrysler brought out their engines.
HotrodsTaHell, yours is a very succinct summation! Excellent! Ain't it funny how the world
turns? What's conventional wisdom and method one season turns to blasphemy a decade
later. Great historical note, brother.
"What's ironic, is that we've come full circle; plenty of old Hot Rods that
had Flattys "upgraded" to OHV's in the late 50's, early 60's. Then in the
early 70's, guys were pulling "boat anchor early Cad's, Buicks, etc. in
favor of a "modern" SBC or SBF. Now those are getting yanked by the
HAMB crowd in favor of a more "correct" Flatty, Early Hemi, Nailhead, etc!"<!-- / message -->
Jimi how true it is!
"History is always the distortion of the truth in the eyes of the beholder."
H&H flatheads sure do make a killing out of a dead motor.
Who said it was dead?
The original post was "I was watching American Graffiti last night and when Milner asks the guy "what happened to his flathead" I was thinking when would have the flathead not been king or a motor you would run when it came to racing? I am not talking official sanctioned drag racing but more or less in the lines of American Graffiti king of the area."
Unless it is just for the love of running the flathead, it has been a long time since that was the motor of choice for RACING!!
No one said they weren't cool.
I also figure about 1955 when the Chevies and Ponchos introduced their V-8s, but then we're talking about 1962 culture.. the assumption being that Milner is being sarcastic about Zuto's recently blown flathead.. "Aw, your mother!" (Note that the edited TV versions of the movie have Zuto saying "your brother!")
The only reason that I changed to a Chevy because
when Crusing on the Highway 500 mi from
your House & it broke Down you can go to any
junk yard & get a Chevy Part, try that with a Flathead engine!
most Yards probaly would Laugh at you
just my 3.5 cents
Back in the Late 50's I set a record with my 50 Merc/flathead
the 1/4 mile N stock 16 seconds it took somebody 12 years to
Break my Record, the Track sent me a Letter to see if I
wanted to Chanlenge it & I figured if it took somebody that long
to brake it, They could have it,
besides I was Racing BBC at the Time & was doing Very Good
even though I is a Ford Man
Just my 3.5 cents
Live Long and Die a Fool!
You guys with your recent posts keep stokin' the fire! Go vote the founder a five star at the top of the page, and let's keep this exchange goin'!
Long live the HAMB!
It stopped being King when all the Queens started racing cars.
A lot of them were still around, in early 60's, as I recall. By then SBC were getting plentiful in wrecking yards, and the prices came down to affordable.
I still run a Henry Flatmotor,...and love it !
First that made a name in this country and started a new era of performance, But you're correct most European cars had used hemispherical heads, often with overhead cams long before we caught on in the USA. Thanks for the input. BUCKD
Ed Cole killed the eff head in 1949 ..rocket 88
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