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Technical when did the flathead stop being king?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by chappys4life, Nov 23, 2011.

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  1. Lotek_Racing
    Joined: Sep 6, 2006
    Posts: 690


    You must be talking about Duesenberg..:cool:

    Or Offenhauser..

    Just messin with you a bit Buck. The Chrysler motor was certainly the most bang for the buck when it hit the market..

    BTW, when did people start calling them "flatmotors"? From what I understand, it was simply the "Ford V8" then it became the "flathead" when OHV engines became commonly available. "Flatmotor" just sounds dumb.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2011
  2. Germ
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 1,252


    when a MAN decided to put a hopped up 331 caddy in a 29 roadster.........

    It was the equivelant of getting a shitty rock-o-lola jukebox off of some doo-woppy hair gel kook in the 90's for an eight ball of coke, and some BIG E jeans you found in the "LONER" bin at the YMCA ......then hauling home your electronic turd and taking out the 50's garbage records only to replace them with some classic Reagan Youth records..........
  3. Henry Floored
    Joined: Sep 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,370

    Henry Floored

    If you want to drive a real hot rod build it with a Flathead Ford. It will always be the "King". Is the aircooled 45 degree V- Twin found in your Harley an integeral part of the riding experience? You can always find something more modern and efficient but that never delivers the "essence" of what it really is, now does it?
  4. blucar
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 118


    The days were numbered for the traditional street rod flat head Ford V8's in the late 1940's when Olds, Cad came out with their overhead valve engines.
    In 1949/50 I put a GMC engine in my '38 Chevy 2dr sdn.. With a few modifications, Mallory ignition, carburation and exhaust the engine ran very well... I could out run any flathead Ford in eastern Idaho, even the ones that had highly modified Merc engines.
    I consistently out ran a '36 coupe from Pocatello that was owned by the son of the local Ford dealer, C Ed Flanderal. The kid went crying to his daddy about how the '38 Chevy from Idaho Falls was blowing his '36 off of the road... Daddy took care of his little boy, he had the shop install a new Olds Rocket engine in the '36 Ford.. End of story, the Olds/Ford ruled the road for quite some time.
    The '49 and latter Cad engines made a sweet conversion in the Fords, the Olds was a little more difficult because of the left side starter which could be solved with a right hand bellhousing. The early Chrysler Hemi engines were not popular with the street rodders of the early 50's, the engine was to big and heavy for a full fendered car.
    The guys that discovered the early Buick V8 nailhead, 1953, etc., were really thinking outside of the box.. The Buick's had been generally regarded as being slow slugs that were driven by fuddy dutty doctors/bankers.
  5. Henry Floored
    Joined: Sep 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,370

    Henry Floored

    Hey that GMC powered Chevy sounds cool. I don't doubt it was a formidable combination in your car. I do however think it's peculiar that the owner of a Ford dealership went to an Olds engine for his kids Ford. The Lincoln Y block was right behind the Caddy and Olds OHV's. He would have known that a couple years in advance. Lincolns were very respectable and proved their worth in such places as the Carrera PanAmerica.
  6. speakfordadead
    Joined: Mar 17, 2011
    Posts: 79


    When the GMC OHV 270 wasn't allowed to race against Flatheads because the Flattie drivers were tired of getting spanked by a "truck" engine.
  7. CAL
    Joined: May 5, 2005
    Posts: 387

    from Neosho Mo.

    Wow, 1:03 am you most be dreaming and typing.
  8. metalhead426
    Joined: Sep 1, 2011
    Posts: 9


    Sorry Flathesds are still king in my world.
  9. 33-Chevy
    Joined: Nov 30, 2007
    Posts: 267


    I remember when they made it hard for GMC sixes to race. I don't remember all the details but that is something they do to cars that are winning. I was in the Air Force in Idaho in 1955 when people started installing Small Block Chevrolet V8 265s in Fords. They did it because it was cheap out of wrecked cars and almost as easy as installing another Ford V8, as they were then called. If you wanted a Chevrolet V8 in 1955 just put in a request at a wrecking yard near a big Military Base and wait for the weekend after pay day. Guys coming back from Korea would buy new cars with saved up money and a lot of them crashed soon after they got them. Not much of a drug problem back then but a real big booze problem. Even I bought a new Chevrolet V8 in 1956.
  10. oregonite
    Joined: May 11, 2011
    Posts: 18


    When the Oldsmobile Rocket 88 started hitting the wrecking yards. 1949 Olds Rocket V-8 was the first production OHV V-8. 303 cubic in. 135 horsepower@ 3600 rpm, 263 ft. lbs@ 1800 rpm with a 2-barrel carb. :cool:
  11. Lotek_Racing
    Joined: Sep 6, 2006
    Posts: 690




    Chevrolet had a OHV V8 in production in 1917.

    It only lasted until 1918 but it was a production, OHV V8.

    33sporttruck likes this.
  12. poor boy pumpkin
    Joined: Feb 27, 2011
    Posts: 21

    poor boy pumpkin

    Time to stir the pot again, this pic asks...... When was the flathead ever king?
  13. Ghost of ElMirage
    Joined: Mar 18, 2007
    Posts: 758

    Ghost of ElMirage

    As far as Im concerned the flattie still is King
  14. There's absolutly no dought that fords flathead was king for a hell of a long time.:cool: Up untill they started to get beat by the more modern ohv v8s:( and they made a comeback several times since with a veritey of hot engines still famos today.:p I will always love the flathead ford engine.:cool: As you know we all were kings for a little while :)D Glory Days :D) Like me they'r old but still going strong:D

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  15. big bad john
    Joined: Aug 11, 2010
    Posts: 4,727

    big bad john

    ......Flatheads have been always been king......Real motors don't have valve covers
  16. silver top
    Joined: Jan 8, 2011
    Posts: 15

    silver top

    The poor old flattie sure took it on the chin in 1957 when chevy came out with their 283-270hp-dual four offering. An uncle had one with a powerglide, and that was a rocket in it's day. And then came the inexpensive speed equipment for the chevy V-8, and rest is history.

    However I have not given up on the flattie, a 296 stroker like the one in my avitar will find a home in a model A shortly.
  17. robber
    Joined: Nov 25, 2011
    Posts: 1,819

    from Colorado

    In '56, Chevy offered a 265 cu. in. V-8 with a dual quad. This was one heck of an opponent right from the factory. If someone wrecked their Bel Air (or 210), the 265 would end up in a hot rod almost immediately!
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2012
  18. McDeuce
    Joined: Sep 16, 2008
    Posts: 258


    1955 when Chevy delivered the sbc , was challenged before that by the Buick and Cads.

    But still really cool .. Have 3 blocks in my garage.
  19. I absolutely love flatheads and have built quite a few, including three in the last ten years, but honestly, the "flathead is still king" stuff is just cliche and rhetoric.

    The flathead was on it's knees and got kicked while down when the higher ups at Chevy read & agreed with these words from then assistant engineer, Arkus Duntov, the inventor of the Ardun OHV conversion.........

    Thoughts Pertaining to Youth, Hot Rodders, and Chevrolet

    The Hot Rod movement and interest in things connected with hop-up and speed is still growing. As an indication: the publications devoted to hot rodding and hop-upping, of which some half-dozen have a very large circulation and are distributed nationally, did not exist some six years ago.

    From cover to cover, they are full of Fords. This is not surprising that the majority of hot rodders are eating, sleeping, and dreaming modified Fords. They know Ford parts from stern to stern better than Ford people themselves.

    A young man buying a magazine for the first time immediately becomes introduced to Ford. It is reasonable to assume that when hot rodders or hot rod-influenced persons buy transportation, they buy Fords. As they progress in age and income, they graduate from jalopies to second-hand Fords, then to new Fords.

    Should we consider that it would be desirable to make these youths Chevrolet-minded? I think that we are in a position to carry out a successful attempt. However, there are many factors against us:

    1. Loyalty and experience with Ford.
    2. Hop-up industry is geared with Ford.
    3. Law of numbers: thousands are and will be working on Fords for active competition.
    4. Appearance of Ford’s overhead V-8, now one year ahead of us.

    When a superior line of GM V-8s appeared, there where remarkably few attempts to develop these, and none too successful. Also, the appearance of the V-8 Chrysler was met with reluctance even though the success of Ardun-Fords conditioned them to the acceptance of Firepower.

    This year is the first one in which isolated Chrysler development met with successes. The Bonneville records are divided between Ardun-Fords and Chryslers.

    Like all people, hot rodders are attracted by novelty. However, bitter experience has taught them that new development is costly and long, and therefore they are extremely conservative. From my observation, it takes an advanced hot rodder some three years to stumble toward the successful development of a new design. Overhead Fords will be in this stable between 1956 and 1957.

    The slide rule potential of our RPO V-8 engine is extremely high, but to let things run their natural course will put us one year behind – and then not too many hot rodders will pick Chevrolet for development. One factor which can largely overcome this handicap would be the availability of ready-engineered parts for higher output.

    If the use of the Chevrolet engine would be made easy and the very first attempts would be crowned with success, the appeal of the new RPO V-8 engine will take hold and not have the stigma of expensiveness like the Cadillac or Chrysler, and a swing to Chevrolet may be anticipated. This means the development of a range of special parts – camshafts, valves, springs, manifolds, pistons, and such – should be made available to the public.

    To make good in this field, the RPO parts must pertain not only to the engine but to the chassis components as well. In fact, the use of light alloys and brake development, such as composite drums and discs, are already on the agenda of the Research and Development group.

    These thoughts are offered for what they are worth: one man’s thinking aloud on the subject.


    Zora Arkus-Duntov
    December 16, 1953
  20. customrod48
    Joined: Oct 10, 2010
    Posts: 201


    It's not you'll be telling me there is no easter bunny, Santa Claus or tooth long as I think it is... it is.. and that's all that matters.............
  21. nwbhotrod
    Joined: Oct 13, 2009
    Posts: 1,246

    from wash state

    when this came out

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  22. ronnieroadster
    Joined: Sep 9, 2004
    Posts: 739


    To many of us the flathead is and always be King. Just look at the speeds still being reached by little old flathead Ford powered cars. Bonniville single engine flathead over 309MPH not to shabby still King. Rick Snells flathead on fuel over 900 HP not to shabby still King.
    My little 290 cube flathead just getting the tune up sorted out runs over 162 MPH in the mile from a standing start still King.
  23. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    from florida

    Long before the sbc started hitting the wrecking yards flatheads were being pulled out and replaced with Olds, Caddy, Studebaker, and Chrysler OHV V8's. The sbc put the last nail in the coffin, but for 5 years before it came out every company in the industry was selling motor mounts and bellhousing adapters to install the first OHV's into cars that previously had a flatmotor.

    The only thing that resurrected the flathead was the nostalgia thing and I can remember a time when very few rodders stuck with it and you couldn't give one away. That may be fighting words to some diehards, but is historically the truth.

    When I was growing up in the 50's I can only remember one local car that still had a flathead and even he swapped in a 265 Chevy when they became available. Don't get me wrong, I think flatheads are cool, but the questsion was, when did the flathead stop being king.

    33sporttruck likes this.
  24. 296 V8
    Joined: Sep 17, 2003
    Posts: 4,672

    296 V8
    from Nor~Cal

    I was lookin a old drag racing stuff on you tube last night.
    1964 winter nationals

    Yellow (altered ?) 27 roadster runnin an injected flathead …. may not be king but still runnin
  25. big bad john
    Joined: Aug 11, 2010
    Posts: 4,727

    big bad john

    Terry....settle down and have a beer....everybody knows you have the sweetest flathead in the Madison area...
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 8,043


    King or not, personal preference aside, they'll always be royalty.
  27. A Boner
    Joined: Dec 25, 2004
    Posts: 5,594

    A Boner

    Flathead 1932-1954..... 22 years
    SBC 1955-2012............57 years and counting

    I guess the answer is around 1955.
    33sporttruck likes this.
  28. ill deuce
    Joined: Jan 20, 2012
    Posts: 4

    ill deuce
    from Atoka,TN

    i'll use my first post to hate on the flathead:D

    i don't wanna blow lots of money to get a 190hp engine that might blow it's beefy 3 mains.

    don't get me wrong i love nostalgia (i'm pricing studebaker larks now) i just think it's better ways to go about it.

    back to the serious topic,i think i read somewhere that the flathead aftermarket peaked in 1958.
  29. jcmarz
    Joined: Jan 10, 2010
    Posts: 4,636

    from Chino, Ca

    Amen! Chevrolet U.S.A-1
  30. Silverado85
    Joined: Mar 29, 2009
    Posts: 211


    Nothing sounds as good as a flathead! But then A/c and P/s is good too.
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