[Land-speed] Ford Flathead

Kirkwood saltfever at comcast.net
Fri Aug 6 00:36:15 MDT 2010

The vintage class is about a level playing field. There is not a person here
that does not respect the mechanical creativity and accomplishments of those
in that era. The pursuit of a vintage record today is still about competing
fairly against records of old. They had to play with Henry's metallurgy and
all its inherent foibles. And yes, they were creative and massaged that old
iron into hard to believe configurations. All the things Mayf mentioned, and
many more he didn't mention, have all been tried at least 70 years ago. So
there is really not much new in mechanisms that has not been tried in the
vintage area. What has changed is metallurgy and casting techniques. The
cast iron flathead starts to bend in the middle around 300HP. It can sag
.006"-.008". The old timers tried many things but the inherent weakness was
always there. The French blocks were made, under license, for their military
up until about the mid 80's! Their metallurgy is profoundly better. Some
evidence indicates they are STEEL blocks! It is undisputed that the French
foundry core technology was incredibly better than Ford's. Internal exhaust
passages are far superior to a vintage flathead. There is no comparison in
strength or finish of a French block to a vintage flathead. How could you
have any pride in your technical ability beating a vintage record with a new
steel French block!

As an aside, my 1907, single cylinder, Fairbanks Morris has a ROLLER cam.
Most WWII radials and V engines all had roller cams. Other than modern
electronics there is very little that is new.

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