So You Want More Horsepower?

Horsepower Chart

A    89HP at 3600RPM - Stock 100HP Ford flathead V8 (corrected)
B    114HP at 3800RPM - Same engine with dual intake manifold.
C    124HP at 4000RPM - Same as B with 8.5:1 compression heads.
D    140HP at 4400RPM - Same as C with 3/4 race camshaft.
E    145HP at 4500RPM - Same as D with special exhausts.
F    177HP at 4500RPM - Same as B, bored 1/8 inch, stroked 1/8 inch, ported, relieved, 9:1 heads.
G    197HP at 4700RPM - Same as E but with super track cam and methanol fuel.

From California Bill Fisher's Ford Speed Manual, 1952 Edition

“Basically speaking, the V-8 Ford and Mercury engines should not produce the tremendous horsepower that they are now forced to do by hotrodders. Of course, as the horsepower is increased to almost three times the rated output of the engine, safety factors become meaningless and an occasional failure must be expected.”

 “. . . it would be unwise to assume that the V-8 Ford and Mercury flat heads are outmoded for racing. If such were the case, the majority of the speed equipment manufacturers would be silently fading away into the overhead-valve-engine accessory field.”

 “Let’s face it! The flat-head V-8 is here to stay in racing at least another quarter of a century. Perhaps by then we will be telling a new generation about how the old V-8’s would be blowing off their gas turbines if only the old times like Hartelt, Rounthwaite, Hernandez, and others were around to run them again.” That would be 1977, based on when the book was written. While they are not part of mainstream racing anymore, there are still a large number of people building flatheads for power, often for track use. This prediction was a little optimistic (thanks to the Chevy OHV V-8) but not entirely untrue. -- ed

How do we hot rod a flathead?

Go back to the main Flathead page.