January '20

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JANUARY 2020 THE SHOP 43 PRECISION ENGINE for a high-stress racing application. After the block is readied, Herman installs brand-new valve seats, regardless of the condition of the existing seats. "It's a weak spot in the flathead and new seats are good insurance," he explains. Cylinder bores are also sleeved as neces- sary and it's interesting to note that, despite the flathead's age, all of these parts and many more are readily available, as they are for the four-bangers. For example, we spoke to Tom Lieb at SCAT Enterprises, which continues to produce a good range of early-Ford inter- nals, who notes, "categorically, that's a hot market segment. SCAT makes parts for all the early Ford engines and we only just keep up with demand. We sell two rotating assemblies every day and that adds up to a lot of parts in a year. Flatheads are like Volkswagens—they just keep rambling along. No doubt at some point we will run out, but that doesn't seem to be the case. If you've got a block and an oil pan, you can build an engine." Indeed, all other engine internals—from Federal-Mogul/Sealed Power main bearings to Ross Racing pistons to a wide selection of cams—are readily available. As with the internals, externals for the flattie are likewise available—everything from ignitions and starters to headers, intakes and even blowers. In fact, besides the two blower kits available from H&H there are others from Roadrunner Engi- neering and TR Designs. Meanwhile, Powermaster makes two lightweight starters for the 1932-'52 engines and another specifically for the French flat- head engine that was produced in France for military use right up until 1990. FLATHEAD FANS Somebody who has invested heavily in the flathead is Clive Prew at Stromberg Carburetor. Prew began remanufacturing the legendary Stromberg 97 carb that was fitted to the 1937 Ford V-8 more than 10 years ago. "There are hundreds of precision parts in a 97," Prew says, "and each one has to be sourced from a different supplier to ensure the best quality at a reasonable price. It's a nightmare of supply and demand that chal- lenges manufacturers because the numbers are small and the exchange rate is a killer. Nevertheless, we've enjoyed steady demand causing us to introduce both smaller and bigger 97s in a wide range of finishes suit- able for multiple setups on later OHV engines such as the small-block Chevy. "Interest in flatheads is so strong that we have developed our own crab-style distribu- tors that mount to the front of the early engines from 1932 through 1948," he adds. Four-bangers (front) and V-8s (rear) have found a niche, as Dan Clare's examples show. Barney Navarro, left, was a post-World War II hot rod pioneer. His company is now part of the H&H world. Max Herman Jr., left, and Max III help keep things rolling at H&H Antiques, a sister company to H&H Flatheads. Mike Herman and kids repping H&H Flatheads.

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