Even if you’re not at all familiar with prewar American engines, most modern American gearheads have at least heard of the Ford flathead V8. If you have heard about it, you probably have a tendency to think that it was not wise for a specific performance. In fact, the first 221 cubic inch (3.6 liter) iteration of this engine made less than 70 horsepower in the early 1930s, and would not make more than 110 horsepower from the factory. That might make you think that there isn’t much room to pump such an engine, but you would be very, very wrong.
Just ask Jeff and Kieth Dorton from the Professional Auto Racing team from Concord, North Carolina. As one of the East Coast’s most trusted and trusted names in custom-built performance racing engines, the ASRE team was well suited to take a nearly century-old car design and modify it with modern hardware to make it more powerful than most high-end . sports cars these days. It started by taking a Ford flathead V8 removed from dirt track racer Doug Kenny’s 1929 Ford Roadster and coupling it with the latest and greatest in performance hardware.
Kenny’s engine had already been replaced before the ASRE team could handle it. It was fitted with a set of Ardun heads, which allowed a more sophisticated high valve mechanism for more efficient combustion inside the engine and, therefore, better power numbers. In case you’re wondering, these Ardun cylinder heads were developed by Zora Arkus-Duntov and his brother Yura before he first cemented his legacy working on the Chevy Corvette. The Arkus-Duntovs only managed to sell a few hundred Ardun cylinder heads before starting other activities. One of which is tied to this flat V8 today.
Add in other accessories like a Procharger F1-R Supercharger, a 750 cfm carburetor, Chevrolet main seals and vales set up to run on Ford hardware, and a good ten psi of boost pressure, and it’s clear this engine is anything but. Henry Ford himself would order his own engines. With all the shiny new chrome work on the exterior of this engine, there’s almost a steampunk look to it in current condition. With the famous supercharger protruding from the front of the engine to the silver plated valve covers, this is an engine that is as pleasing to look at as it is uber powerful.
We’re talking dyno runs that reach 722 hp and 654 lb-ft of torque to play with a 5,800 RPM limiter. Any way you slice it, that’s enough power to break more than a dozen Bonneville Salt Flats speed records. Congratulations throughout to Keith and Jeff on their great achievement.