View Full Version : Flathead V8 ?

09-28-2002, 11:18 AM
I was wondering if the ford flathead V8 was ever used in boats, if it was
are the engines still available or the equipment to convert an auto engine
available. Thanks Curt

Rich VanValkenburg
09-28-2002, 01:04 PM
My father built a plywood speedboat in the '50's and used a Ford flathead V8 for power. I remember it well. A magneto that looked like a football, flame arrestor on a plain single barrel carb, marine conversion exhaust manifolds. I assume you have one. He says that there were two models that he could remember. A '60' and an '85', but the '60' was really only rated at 35 hp. The boat he stuck it in was 14', and he said all he could get was 30 mph. I didn't think that was so bad, but he was disappointed. No transmission, so you aimed it, and then started it.
I never got to drive it. It ran great, though. I'll see if he has any pics.


[ 09-28-2002, 02:20 PM: Message edited by: Rich VanValkenburg ]

Peter Malcolm Jardine
09-28-2002, 07:01 PM
The ford flathead V-8 was one of the first v8 engines built starting in 32 and stopping in 53 0r 54 if memory serves... it had a number of configurations in stroke including a massive 1949 or 1950 crankshaft that I disremember the size but you had to grind the block to get it to clear. 239 cubic inchs is the basic engine, with hydraulic lifters and the generator on the front (6 volt) and a mechanically driven fuel pump up front too... with a hollow copper rod off the camshaft. Osco built a marine conversion in the late forties and early fifties with manifolds and trannies and water pumps and so on to convert... huge amounts of these engines were around, but I couldn't tell you how many marine conversions were made. The most notable marine conversion was with the Ardun aluminum heads that converted the engine to overhead valve with 1 15/16 intake valves and solid lifters, Aluminum exhaust manifolds and water pumps too. but that conversion is probably a museum piece now. A great engine, with the only draw backs some of the mechanicals linkages (like the fuel pump rod..it would wear and stop pumping) and the fact that the engine was a three main block, so if you spun it up too high with out reinforcing the main bearings or balancing the crank things could come apart. but spinning too high was about 7000 or more in an automotive application so no worries in marine. Where you get parts marine-wise I couldn't tell you, but I would check with the ford clubs to see.... lot of flatties still out there I would think.

Peter Malcolm Jardine
09-28-2002, 07:17 PM
oh and that engine in a stock configuration was between 90 and 110 horse depending on the year. :cool:

09-28-2002, 08:13 PM
Usta be an outfit in California called Speed-O-Motive. I bought a stroker assembly for a circle track car in the 60's. They dealt in a lot of flathead stuff. Don't know if they are still in business but if so they might be able to put you on somebody if they can't help.

09-28-2002, 09:20 PM
radman, found it - here's a link Speed-O-Motive (http://www.speedomotive.com)
Didn't see any flathead stuff but you could contact them.

Rich VanValkenburg
09-29-2002, 03:50 PM
Ford flathead powered. This was 1961.

Sorry, no pic of the engine room.


09-29-2002, 10:44 PM
Rich thanks for the picture, I have one engine out of a 33 pickup and one from a 50 panel truck I also have one in a 50 business coupe and one in a 46 business coupe but they are staying in the cars. Once I finish my current project I would like to look into building a boat from plans.
Thanks Curt

09-30-2002, 06:56 AM
The marine versions are gettting pretty hard to find, I don't think anyone makes the conversion parts any more. I've been trying to help someone find two of them for two different boat restorations. So far he has on all set & is looking for the second. Seems to be about 4-5 months per engine to find them.