January '20

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44 THE SHOP JANUARY 2020 PRECISION ENGINE "Later, 1949-'53 8BA engines are catered for by Holley, which makes a Mallory dis- tributor. Holley, of course, also makes carbs to suit the various compatible intakes avail- able from Austin, Edelbrock and Navarro." For those who desire and can afford the ultimate flathead there is always the ARDUN conversion that converts the archaic flattie to an overhead-valver. The OHV heads were created in 1947 by Zora Arkus-Duntov, the so-called Father of the Corvette, who was commissioned, along with his brother Yuri and designer George Kudasch, by Ford Motor Co. to improve the output of its aging flathead V-8s. Their design was named the ARDUN, which was a contraction of ARkus-DUNtov. It fea- tured hemispherical combustion chambers, looked great and increased the power— however, they were somewhat tempera- mental. Only about 200 sets were made in the U.S. before Duntov moved to the UK to work with Sydney Allard, where a few more sets were made for Allard's J2 sports car. For many years, ARDUN heads were a much sought-after hot rod accessory— until the mid-'90s when Don Orosco began to reproduce them. He made about 30 sets before the tooling was sold to Don Ferguson, whose family continues to pro- duce the heads (albeit updated with some modern technology along with a compat- ible cast-aluminum block). Companies such as H&H are known for building complete ARDUN engines, but they don't come cheap—a complete, SCoT-blown ARDUN with an aluminum block will set you back around $55,000 depending upon the specs—the heads alone are $14,000 before polishing. Even in the transmission department there are lots of options, from an original gearbox to the traditional hot rod choice of a LaSalle to Chevy T-5s or a TREMEC five-speed using one of the various adapters available from H&H. There are also clutch components from Centerforce, McLeod and RAM Clutches. WORLDWIDE POPULARITY Despite the cost and complication involved in restoring or rodding a flathead (they are not easy to rebuild) they remain popular throughout the world, from Australia to Scandinavia. Numerous events cater solely to bangers and flatties, including the RPM Nationals here in the U.S., and beach racing at Pen- dine in Wales, UK, and Rømø in Den- mark. There's even a popular class for them in endurance rallying events such as the Peking to Paris. Flatties do have a well-deserved reputa- tion for overheating, as it was a compro- Bangers&FlattiesForever Max Herman's "Marvelizer" roadster. Mike Herman literally wrote the book on rebuilding flathead engines. A Dixon OHV conversion. An ARDUN roadster example. Dan Clare shows off a typical modified flattie V-8.

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