I still remember the first time I heard a Flathead Ford V8 engine with a larger than stock cam. It was in the summer of 1989 and I was 10 years old. I was at a car show with my father when a old, dusty, beat up, fenderless '32 Ford coupe drove past us with glass pack mufflers. I remember thinking, it was a odd sound. I also remember seeing everyone stop what they were doing and turn and look at the old coupe. Some had a smile on their face but others had a look of remembrance for something that had long ago been put away and forgotten about.
A '32 Ford Coupe at a long ago show. Photo Courtesy: Family Photo Album
I suspect that everyone at the show that day went back home and looked at their super slick Street Rods, with pastel paint and tweed gray interior and thought a little about what Hot Rodding had turned into. It even affected my father, because it was the first time he told me the story about a guy trying to sell him a true Hot Rod '40 Ford Coupe. He didn't buy it because the man wanted a thousand dollars for it, obviously too much money in the early 1970's for such a old fashioned car. Some people went home and decided that they were fine with what had become of the Hot Rod hobby. Others began to long for the time of Flatheads, straight axles, teardrop '39 Ford tail lights and fuzzy dice.
A flathead Ford powered '32 Ford roadster, cruisin' down a Memphis, TN road in July of 1980. Photo Courtesy of: Family Photo Album
While the experience affected me too, the appeal of the old way, was greater for others. It wasn't very long after seeing that car people began to build new cars, but in the old way. This lead to a change in the way aftermarket suppliers thought about their products. This has lead to a return of a great many old names in aftermarket speed equipment.
New Navarro Heads can be purchased from multiple different speed shops. Barney Navarro would probably be proud to know his heads had found a new lease on life
Italmeccanica, known as the Supercharger Company of Turin, or SCoT in the U.S., was sold to H&H Flatheads in La Crescenta, CA. H&H has started remaking the famous superchargers and they are readily available from numerous different speed shops.
You can keep those vintage Sharp heads hanging on the wall and pick up a set of these newly cast heads from suppliers everywhere.
Even rare Eddie Meyer intakes and heads can be found new. No need to risk those old ones & no need to spend years trying to find them or parts for them.
The good news is that they can be found easily. The bad news is they are all fairly expensive. Costing around twice as much as Edelbrock heads and intakes they can put a serious strane on any budget. Of course, if you crave vintage looks, with modern tooling then they are the only way to go.
Have you seen any old makers names return? Know of one that you'd like to see make a comeback? Tell us about it in the comments! I'm gonna adjust my dual carbs and Keep on Cruisin'!