Although not the first V-8 engine ever produced, Henry Ford’s side-valve V-8, launched in 1932, certainly qualified as the first mass-produced V-8 sold to the public. Because of Henry Ford’s stubbornness, the first versions were less than ideal. The technology was in its infancy and cost-cutting measures limited the output and reliability of the early models. Over time, however, the “Flattie” became the go-to powerplant for a whole generation of new hobbyists who were called “hot rodders.” The engine maintained its position in the hobby well into the 1950s, even when more modern overhead-valve designs started coming out of Detroit. It’s hard to overstate the impact that this simple little engine had on a whole generation of enthusiasts. Even today, people choose a flathead for period-correct builds over far more powerful options. The style and sound of a modified flathead is an iconic part of American history.
In Ford Flathead Engines: How to Rebuild & Modify, veteran author Tony Thacker and flathead guru of H&H Flatheads, Mike Herman, take you step-by-step through rebuilding a vintage flathead. One of the most important steps is to actually find a good, usable core; many have been sitting for a very long time and the engine design is prone to cracking. Running changes are also an important consideration when selecting a core, and include cooling system, ignition, and transmission mount. After you have selected a core, Thacker and Herman take you through the entire process of a rebuild, including teardown, parts inspection, machine shop processes, replacement part selection, re-assembly, start up, and break-in.
Also covered is a unique performance build completed at the H&H shop for legendary race car team manager and all-around enthusiast Ray Evernham. It all adds up to more than 500 color photos and insider tips on building what could be called the most iconic engine ever built, the Ford flathead V-8.