QOTD: How Would You Have Designed the Flathead Ford?


The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI recently raised the hoods for its “Engines Exposed” exhibit, and among its many exhibitions was this unmachined Flathead Ford engine block.  The flathead’s architecture has been discussed here before, and every time, Henry Ford’s decision making skills are mentioned.

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The old story goes that the engineers ran the exhaust port right through the V8’s water jacket at Ford’s behest; therefore, flatheads anecdotally need a hell of a radiator to keep cool in the summer.  Of course, the flip side is that flatheads also have among the mellowest of exhaust notes, perhaps as a result of gallons of liquid muffling before said notes even enter the exhaust manifolds.


This Cadillac V8, which is appropriately powering a Ford, shows one alternative–running the exhaust manifolds adjacent to the intake manifold.  Of course, this could have created packaging problems in Ford’s smaller bodies. Therefore, we’ll pose this question: If you were Henry Ford, designing an engine that would become a hot rod legend, how would you have (or would you have?) designed it differently?