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Flat Is Where It’s At – The Coolest Flathead Rat Rods

In our humble opinion, a Rat Rod should be running a Flathead; it’s a perfect combination like peanut butter and chocolate. Here are some of the best around.

According to “Rod Authority” a Rat Rod is a type of hot rod commonly known for being highly exaggerated versions of 1950’s style Jalopy hot rods.

To that we’d add that an unfinished appearance (rodders were always working on their cars) and older-style, relatively inexpensive mechanical components (no double wishbone pull rod suspension on a Rat Rod).

The Ford Flathead was the motor of choice for most rodders, at least until OHV engines from Oldsmobiles and Chevrolets were inexpensive enough to purchase form the wrecking yard. The Flathead, while not sophisticated, was rugged, ran well, and produced a surprising amount of power (and there were many, many aftermarket parts available to help the cause.

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1947 Ford Truck

Here’s a beautiful 239 CID 8BA Ford Flathead in a 1947 Ford truck Rat Rod. Note the stock single carburetor set-up, along with the straight exhaust headers. Notice anything? Yep, only 6 pipes. The spent gases of the middle cylinders utilize the same exhaust port.

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Ford Model T Roadster

A very clean example of the Rat Rod style – very simple, but nicely detailed with a slightly unfinished look. Noe the engine has two carburetors, which was effective in pulling additional power out of the Flathead. A two carb set-up was common as a  three carb set-up might required relocating the generator.

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1936 Ford Truck

This  beautifully executed 1936 Ford Truck Rat Rod belongs to hot rod aficionado Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. The truck is powered by a ’53 Ford Flathead V8, which is mated to an S-10 transmission driving to an 8-inch Ford rear end.

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Model T Roadster

This car is about as true to the original Rat Rod concept as you’ll find. Original Ford Roadster body with a nice patina of surface rust, a Ford Flathead V8 with dual carbs (note the generator’s not been relocated) and reuse of every component possible – from the steering wheel to the road wheels.

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1932 Ford Model A Three Window Coupe

Here’s an exotic and expensive solution to whatever shortcomings the Flathead faced. First, it undergone a conversion to OHV Ardun cylinder heads (designed by Corvette Godfather Zora Arkus-Duntov) which are very similar to Chrysler Hemi heads. The motor is fed by a supercharger drawing through what appears to be two Stromberg 97 carburetors.

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1929 Ford Model A Tudor

Here’s another supercharged Flathead, but this one is without the expensive Ardun cylinder heads. After upgrading the motor with a longer throw crank and upping the compression ratio, the next step many took was the addition of a supercharger, which was relatively straightforward as there were several manufacturers at the time.

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1929 Ford Model A Sedan

More polished than many of the Rat Roads  we’ve looked at, this beauty still adheres to the Rat Rod credo. And the fact that it’s powered by a Ford Flathead V8 running three Strombergs makes us happy indeed.

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1932 Ford Model A Five Window Coupe

Here’s what appears to be a Rat Rod circulating a dirt race track, based on the sides of the car, the guardrail in the background, and the goggles on the driver. Check out the two-into-one carb set-up. The car’s also been converted from generator to a much smaller alternator.

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1930-ish Ford Model A Sedan

Not much to say. This beauty pretty much speaks for herself.

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1932 Ford Model A Roadster

This particular Flathead-powered ’32 belongs to co-host and creator of the History Channel hit show “American Pickers” – Mike Wolfe. He’s been seen tooling around in his rod in Nashville, where the Pickers opened a retail store.

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Chris Riley
About Chris Riley

I have been wrecking cars for as long as I've been driving them but I keep coming back for more. Two wheels or four, I'm all in. GearHeads.org gives me a chance to give something back to the automobile community.

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