Installing Overhead Valves On Your Flathead V8: Tips For Getting Started


Installing Overhead Valves On Your Flathead V8: Tips For Getting Started
By Greg Zyla

Q: Greg, what changes have to be made to put overhead valves on a flathead engine? Thanks, Dennis “Mike” Scott, Box 399, Manson, North Carolina.

A: Dennis, the Flathead Fords have really caught on again with hot rodders as the nostalgia market continues to boom. As for those heads, the person behind much of the Chevy Corvette’s success, namely Zora Arkus-Duntov, along with his brother Yura, built and sold a hemi-style overhead valve Ardun Head for the Flathead V8. They were purchased mostly by Bonneville land speed racers way back in the 1950s.


The good news today is that Don Ferguson Jr., who, along with his dad, raced an Ardun head- equipped Flathead V8 at Bonneville, resurrected the Ardun Head by purchasing all of the tooling from a noted author, Don Orosco, who built 30 sets of the former Ardun heads to run in England. The Ferguson contact is www.ardun.com or write to: Don Ferguson, Ardun Enterprises, Box 205, Wilmington, CA. 90744. Don’s business number is 323-775-6803.

Installing Overhead Valves On Your Flathead V8, Tips For Getting Started, Greg Zyla, Auto Round-Up, Flathead Fords, hot rodders, nostalgia market, Chevy Corvette’s success, Zora Arkus-Duntov, hemi-style overhead valve Ardun Head, Bonneville land speed racers way back in the 1950s, Don Orosco, Ferguson-built Ardun cylinder, Speedy Bill Smith, Speedway Motors, largest collection of antique race engines in the world, Pedal car collection

•Photo of the Ferguson Ardun overhead valve hemi heads available today for Flathead V8 conversions. (Ardun Enterprises photo).

Just to let you know, this much improved Ferguson-built Ardun cylinder head conversion set isn’t cheap, as $13,950 is what will be needed to bolt a set on your flathead. There are other companies out there, too, but the Ferguson-Ardun is the cream of the crop and merits this mention.


Notably, a very rare “Stephens” conversion flathead overhead valve head is owned by “Speedy” Bill Smith out in Lincoln, NE. His “Speedway Motors” has the largest collection of antique race engines in the world (also has a huge Pedal car collection) and you can check his “Stephens” flathead conversion in action on YouTube! It’s one of only four known to exist. Speedway Motors can also help you with any and all Flathead V8 parts if you decide the conversion may be too expensive. Check out www.speedwaymotors.com or call them at 1-800-979-0122 for assistance.

Good luck with your Flathead and let me know what happens.

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Originally posted on Friday, February 7th, 2014 at 11:58 am
Category:  Auto Round-Up News

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