Monday, June 7, 2010

Power Plant Preference


What scores highest in power plants for traditional hot rods?

In my opinion, the best engines to power a 1932 Ford roadster are:

10 out of 10 is the Ardun OHV conversion on a flathead
9 is a hopped up 24-stud flathead Ford
8 is a stock flathead 24-stud, OR vintage early race engine; Offy OHC for instance
7 is souped-up 4-banger Model A or B
6 is an ‘other’ brand vintage V8 engine, ie; Nailhead, Rocket 88, Chrysler hemi, Ford 292
5 is lesser Ford flatheads
4 is a vintagly dressed-up early Chevy V8
3 is a less-then vintage V8; Ford 289, FE, 429, Mopar, or anything late 60’s & newer
2 is a plain-jane Chevy 350 or Ford small block V8, or anything fuel injected
1 is any import engine

At the top, only one engine deserves to score a 10 out of 10, honestly it isn’t even really the engine but an add-on; It is the historical Ardun overhead valve conversion for the Ford flathead V8. No part can deserve as much respect from hot rod guys; its presence alone is awe inspiring, even to well-seasoned parts junkies.
Numbers 10-7 are all early Fords due mostly to tradition. But number 8 included race engines from the 30’s to the 50’s, because I couldn’t think of a better place to put it, and they can be some of the coolest looking things you ever did see.

At the bottom, numbers 3-1 are the least desirable, least imaginative choices for engines. If you are bothering to build semi-nostalgic ’32 roadster, steel or even fiberglass, and are considering any engine at the bottom of my list, Stop Now! You are wasting your time, nobody want to see a Ford 302 or a LS1. It just shows poor planning, a lack of imagination, and come with sorry excuses. Vintage engines are still available and worth any extra effort to use them, plus make great conversation pieces.





Here is what a legitimate Offy race engine looks like in a Model A. It's just so rare to see. Owned by Bob Anderson.

10 comments:

  1. The lesser Ford flatheads must be the little 60. The '32 roadster may be a bit too heavy for any known form of the 60 although it may be enough for a lighter open wheel roadster where the flathead look and sound play into a retro theme that for the most part, never was. Streetable performance will be tough to achieve however. Good Luck! Fred A

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  2. Lighter yet is the new modular motors, like the 4.6, 5.0, and 5.4. FRPP (ford racing performance parts) sells all of these as crate engines, but they are quite a bit more high tech, and are really suited more to fuel injection than carbeuration. That leads to a lot of wiring, but it's cool when people pull it off.

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  3. Up to this time, Ford had produced only one "model" at each time with range of body options and retained the idea of a single basic platform, despite the engine choice and two associated model designations. This explains why the colloquial name "Ford V‑8" by itself was sufficiently descriptive in the early 1930s; it was the Ford with a V‑8, unlike in later decades, when the paradigm of various models to a make became universal.

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