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Ford flathead engines Last updated on September 28, 2013

1932 Ford roadster On this page:
The Joe Davis DOHC heads
Ford flathead parts sources
Flathead sites

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In the 1960s, going to the lake was something that our family did every summer. The boat that was by far the nicest on the lake was a 1940s Chris Craft wooden runabout that was powered by a Ford flathead. And the best thing that I remember about going to the lake was being able to take a ride in that boat. It topped out at a bit over 40 mph, as fast as you need to go on a small lake, but everybody around could recognize the sound of the flathead-powered Chris Craft. There's nothing like the sound of a flathead burbling up through the water. In fact, that old boat was so neat, all you had to do is drive the thing around the lake and you were about as awesome as Buddy Holly.

Yeah, sure they look great, and their nostalgic appeal is equaled only by the likes of Jean Harlow, Ginger Rogers and Mae West. But the thing about a flathead that turns us on the most is that sound. Take a big crowd of hard-core motorheads in the pits at the drags, at a swap meet or a car show, and watch everyone's eyes light up when someone fires up a warmed-over and minimally-muffled flat-motor. It's like Gene Vincent had just walked over, plugged in and started rockin'.

The Joe Davis DOHC Cylinder Heads

Ford flathead with Davis heads The Davis heads were the work of Joe Davis, a talented pattern maker. They were cast in 1948. The first sets had a shaft drive mounted on the front of each head for the cams.

Joe Davis used to drive around Los Angeles in a 1932 Ford pickup with one of these engines sticking out of both sides of the engine compartment.

Bob Estes, a Lincoln/Mercury dealer, bought the engine from Davis and ran it in his Indy car in 1952. It did not qualify due to engine trouble, with water coming out of the exhaust. Dale Estes, Bob's son, still has the car, with the engine now having a gear drive.

In an article by Tom Senter in the May, 1971 issue of Rod & Custom, on page 29 there is a picture of an engine with these heads. The caption reads, "Rarest of them all. The Davies DOHC making a 1948 show. Meticulous hemi featured flawless castings, four cams driven off tower shafts. Raced at Indy in '52 by current owner Bob Estes."

Joe Davis made ten sets of these heads. The engine you see here has one of the four sets that are known to exist today. It belongs to John, a friend of mine in California.

When the project has progressed, I'll add some pictures of the car that this engine is going in.

Ford flathead parts sources

Cragar plate Ardun Enterprises — Complete Ardun OHV cylinder head kits and spare parts

Ken Austin's Rod Shop — Ardun, Ford, and Lincoln intake manifolds

Automotion — Tri-power carburetor systems that work, by Larry Fulton

Baron Racing Equipment — Cylinder heads, and manifolds for EFI, superchargers, or Webers

Capanna Company — Transmission adapters and Sharp Equipment cylinder heads

Dennis Carpenter Reproductions — Reproduction early Ford parts

Chelmsford Performance Company — Flathead parts including Chevy distributor adapters
48 Adams Street
North Chelmsford, MA 01863
(508) 251-2898

CMC Engine — Cylinder heads

Cornhusker Rod & Custom, Inc. — Borg Warner T-5 overdrive transmission conversions, Chevy water pump conversions, urethane and rubber engine mounts and aluminum timing covers

Donovan Engineering — Model "D" aluminum blocks, billet cranks and rods, cast heads and Winfield manifolds, custom valves, and complete engines
2305 Border Avenue
Torrance, CA 90501
(310) 320-3772

Bob Drake — Reproduction early Ford parts

East Coast Auto Electric — Starters

Edelbrock — Cylinder heads for '32-'48 and '49-'53, dual-carb intake manifolds for three-bolt Holleys or Stromberg 97s, and generator brackets

Egge Machine Company, Inc. — Flathead engine parts

Flat-O Products — Adapter kits and short tailhousings for C-4 automatic transmissions

Flatattack Racing Products — Complete 60mm and 65mm throttle-body EFI systems

Flathead Jack — Custom and performance parts

Flatlander Racing — Engine parts including stroker kits

Earl Floyd Engines — Flathead engine builder and parts source
28915 N.E. 82nd Avenue
Battle Ground, WA 98604
(360) 687-2202

Jerry Frear — Performance Flathead engine builder
2117 N. E. Fleser
Roseburg, Oregon 97470
(541) 672-1515

H&H Antique Ford Engine Rebuilding

Virgil Hanson Automotive Machine — Billet aluminum cylinder heads

The Hot Rod Works, Inc. — Modern driveline components for '32-'48 Fords

Joblot Automotive, Inc. — Stock replacement parts

Kanter Auto Products — Stock replacement parts

Doug King Enterprises — Steel main caps and center main bearing block girdles, and Ardun gaskets and literature
(510) 537-3909

Mac's Speed Equipment — Flathead engine parts and tranmission adapters that fit

Mike's Early Iron — Flathead engine builder
1000 South East End Avenue
Pomona, CA, 91766
(909) 629-3182

The Modern Flathead — Engine parts
9103 East Garvey Avenue
Rosemead, CA 91770
(626) 572-0938

Motor City Speed Equipment — Mark Kirby's engines, engine blocks, and parts

Roy Nacewicz Enterprises — Authentic reproduction early Ford fasteners

Nordian Services, Ltd. — Engine parts in England

Navarro Engineering — Cylinder heads and intake manifolds

Offenhauser Sales Corporation — Cylinder heads and intake manifolds
5300 Alhambra Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90032
(323) 225-1307

Don Orosco — Eddie Meyer heads, and Ardun and Eddie Meyer intake manifolds
10 Harris Court, Suite B-1
Monterey, CA 93940
(831) 649-0220 days
(831) 626-2660 evenings

Patrick's — Flathead parts and speed equipment including Mallory dual-point and electronic distributors

Red's Headers — Flathead deck plates, headers, pistons, and rings

Riley Two-Port Company — Cylinder heads for four-cylinder 1928-1934 Fords
Charlie Yapp
570-A Rock Road
East Dundee, IL 60118
(847) 428-6626

Roadrunner Engineering — Supercharger kits, and Joe Abbin's book "Blown Flathead", which is loaded with information on both normally-aspirated and blown flatheads.
P.O. Box 53296
Albuquerque, NM 87153
(505) 296-7678

Ross Racing Pistons

Alan Schurman Iron Ranch — Flathead engine builder and parts source
23100 N.E. 10th Avenue
Ridgefield, WA 98642
(360) 887-8156

Speedway Motors — Flathead parts

Stromberg Carburetor, Ltd — new Stromberg 97 carburetors

Vern Tardel — Engine builder, and the scource for the book "How to Build a Traditional Ford Hot Rod", written by Mike Bishop and Vern Tardel, and illustrated by Steve Amos

Tatom Custom Engines / Vintage Vendors — Engine building, pulleys and wire looms

Uncommon Engineering — Flathead engine building, and parts including blower drives and manifolds

Vintage Carburetion Technologies, Inc. — Holley and Stromberg carburetors for early Fords

Rick Williams — Reproduction Eddie Meyer cast aluminum air cleaners and fuel blocks
1450 Third Street
Pomona, CA, 91766
(909) 865-0375

More Ford flathead sites

Flathead-powered '29 Tudor

1932 Ford convertible sedan

1932 Ford convertible sedan

1932 Ford convertible sedan
Flatfire — Ron Main's high-tech, flathead-powered streamliner

Flathead Fords and Nostalgia Drag Racing

Flathead Porting Basics — by Mike Bishop

Flatheaders.com — by Eric Brown


The Ford Flathead V-8 Engine

Ford Six Performance — has information on Ford flathead inline sixes

Nostalgia Engines — Ron Holleran's book on flatheads

Frank Oddo Enterprises — publisher of the "Ford Flathead V-8 Builders Handbook"
P.O. Box 9902
Brea, CA 92822

Piranios Antique Automotive — Model A engine rebuilding

Replica Engines — quarter-scale V8-60 flathead engines that run

Tom Teixeira's 35pickup.com

Time Warp Racing — flathead dragster

Uncommon Engineering

Western Racing Association — Ford V8-60-powered midget racing

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