The Ford V-8 Engine Workshop
Flathead V-8 -- 1932 to 1953
Factory bore/stroke combinations are shown in bold. 296 represents a 3/16" overbore and 1/8" stroker crank.
Henry Ford had long dreamed of putting a V-8 engine in an affordable car.
This would only be possible if the block could be produced as a single casting.
After several years of hard work by a team of his best engineers and foundrymen
including Emil Zoerlin, Carl Schultz, and Ray Laird,
the famous Ford flathead V-8 became a reality. With a displacement
of 221 cubic inches, only 20% more than the 4-cylinder Model A, the 1932
flathead produced 62% more power, 65 HP @ 3400 rpm. Overall weight
is 585 lbs.
In 1939, the flathead underwent a major design to correct a few service problems and increase performance. Water pumps were moved to the more traditional location in the block where they were better able to move cool water into the block rather than the previous scheme of moving water out of the heads. The cylinder heads were attached using 24 rather than 21 studs for better sealing. Higher compression resulted in increased output to 85 HP @ 3800 rpm for the 221 CID Ford and 95 HP @ 3600 rpm for the 239 CID Mercury.
The performance potential for these engine was not overlooked by hotroders. The forged Mercury crankshaft had large rod bearings that could be offset ground to easily accomplish a 4.125" stroker. Being thickwall castings, most blocks could be overbored a full 3/16"! Bored and stroked to the max, a the displacement reached 296 CID. In days gone by, the aftermarket in flathead performance pieces was booming. Anything and everything was available. Immortalized by the Beach Boys in "Little Deuce Coupe".
1932 - Model 18 - 65 HP @ 3400
1933 - Model 40 - 75 @ 3800
1934 - Model 40A - 85 @ 3800
1935 - Model 48 - 85 @ 3800
1936 - Model 68 - 85 @ 3800
1937 - Model 78 - 85 @ 3800
1938 - Model 81A - 85 @ 3800
1939 - Model 91A - Ford 85 @ 3800, Mercury 95 @ 3600
1940 - Model 01A - Ford 85 @ 3800, Mercury 95 @ 3600
1941 - Model 11A - Ford 85 @ 3800, Mercury 95 @ 3600
1942 - Model 12A - Ford 90 @ 3800, Mercury 100 @ 3800
1946/48 - Model 59A - 100 @ 3800
1949/53 - Model BA - Ford 100 @ 3800, Mercury 112 @ 3800
|At one time the Flathead Ford V-8 was king of the hill in the aftermarket performance world. An unbelievable array of products was available. Every imaginable intake manifold setup with multiple carburetors and fuel injection, special high compression aluminum heads, ignitions, special cranks and pistons, cams, etc. Some were pretty exotic like the Ardun overhead valve conversion.|
|This Offenhauser finned aluminum high compression cylinder head is typical of what was available. Some companies continue to produce these today.|
|I believe this to be a "Denver" or "Canadian" head, popular with some racers decades ago.|
|This flathead has Offenhauser cylinder heads, exhaust headers (which you can't see), dual carbs, and who know what inside. And, ahem, a late model single-wire GM alternator.|
|These Flatheads are resting in peace in the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey. That greenish tint on the cast iron, is moss.|