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Thread: Ardun Heads
          
   
   

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  1. #1
    southerner's Avatar
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    Ardun Heads

     



    Does any body know about the Ardun heads that were designd for the ford mercury 24 stud engines ? and got any photos !

  2. #2
    suedeplymouth's Avatar
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    Ive got some photos, somewhere. Ill see if I can dig them up tommorow.

    What exactly is it you want to know about them? Outside of the fact theyre expensive and dont really provide all that much extra horsepower. Though id still love to run one on one of my flatheads.
    "its better to rule in hell, than serve in heaven."

  3. #3
    southerner's Avatar
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    I"ll reply with this one word nostalgia.

    And when you say expensive, how expensive is expensive.
    "aerodynamics are for people who cant build engines"

    Enzo Ferrari

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    When I say expensive im talking around 5 to 7k for a good pair, or a repro set. Ive no idea what the repro company is called, but I saw them advertised a couple years back, taking deposits of 4,500.
    "its better to rule in hell, than serve in heaven."

  5. #5
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    The repops are over $12K. And who knows what an original set would bring. There are not that many around. Think original production was on the order of 300 to 600 sets.

    II met a gent at the Mid-West NSRA Nationals who had a 32 roadster with Ardun Heads and Weber carbs. It had well over 50,000 miles on the clock and had been driven in every state in the continental US. So, even if they don't pump up the horse power much they are reliable and sure look trick.
    An Old California Rodder
    Hiding Out In The Ozarks

  6. #6
    southerner's Avatar
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    Thanks tech inspector, thanks bib overalls. They are nice looking heads. Bet they made the old henrys get up and go. :P
    "aerodynamics are for people who cant build engines"

    Enzo Ferrari

  7. #7
    Bob Parmenter's Avatar
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    Here's Ferguson's web site; http://www.ardun.com/

    If you can get it down your way, you may want to get a copy of The Rodder's Journal #25, they have an excellent article on the history of the Ardun. Like Richard, I had long heard the story about the heads being originally developed to increase horsepower for commercial uses. However, there's a new biography out on Zora Arkus-Duntov wherein his lead designer states that their original purpose was for racing and high performance road use. The supposition is that, due to cost, they only had limited success in that market and that the commercial uses became the default market.

    To give you an idea of why these puppies are so expensive, there weren't very many sets produced. (current price for originals is $18-20k) For many years it was believed only 225-250 sets were made. With this latest research and exhaustive examination of serial numbers it's now believed that 400 were produced. Still a small number. This, btw, is for the 85-100hp engines. Not known to many is that they also did heads for the smaller V8-60 enines. These were definately intended for performance as this was a very popular engine for midget racing. Best guess is that around 30 sets of these were made.

    Amazingly, about 10 years ago I saw two sets of them here in the Seattle area, both owned by the same guy. He has a private museum of cars, mostly sports car stuff, and was having a showing for mostly non-car people. In the middle of all these various high performance sports machines, and Euro exotics, was a nice looking MG-TC that had a bit of a hot rod look to it. Fortunately the hood was open, and inside I saw an Ardun equipped flathead...........only smaller than I'd seen before! Pat happened by about that time and I asked him........"Is that a V8-60 with Ardun heads?". For just a second he looked taken aback. "You know what those are?". Obviously he hadn't expected any of these people he was buttering up for business to know ANYTHING about cars. He gets this big grin on his face, and with a bit of a hand motion he says, "Comeon, I've got somethin' to show you." We went back into his shop area, and in the corner was a wooden crate. Inside was another set of Ardun V8-60 heads! He also had two sets of the larger ones, but since I'd never seen the 60's before my total focus was on them. No, he didn't want to sell them. In fact, he said that Bill Smith, the owner of Speedway Motors and an avid vintage engine collector, had been hounding him for years, and offering obscene amounts of money.

    One last note. Ferguson is apparently in the process of producing aluminum blocks and pans so you can really build a stout Ardun. Of course, it's probably a good guess that you'd be in it around $30k by the time you get done.
    Your Uncle Bob, Senior Geezer Curmudgeon

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  8. #8
    southerner's Avatar
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    Thanks for that bit of info Bob, I'll have to get my current projects finished before I can even think of that.

    Pleased to see that you got your Hemi.
    "aerodynamics are for people who cant build engines"

    Enzo Ferrari

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    Yes they hold onto thier value rather well, looks like they are rocketing up faster than the rate of inflation.
    "aerodynamics are for people who cant build engines"

    Enzo Ferrari

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  11. #11
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    I am surprised to hear that the Arduns were designed for performance alone since I had heard the story that Ford Motor Co. contracted for their development for trucks and then decided to use Lincoln engines instead. For this I blamed FoMoCo for dropping the ball and then producing the questionable Y-block instead when they could have had what we now know as the Chryler hemi. Is it not also true that the smallest Chrysler Corp. engine, the '55 Dodge Red Ram 239 was/is a near copy of the flathead Ford block (although the Dodge has five main bearing webs compared to only three in the Ford flathead) with copies of the Ardun heads rendered in iron? It is shame that the Red Ram Dodge engines were not saved for this reason, but I guess the larger Chrysler hemi was more interesting. If any of you come across a '55 Dodge (??) take a look for this similarity. Apparently major motor companies did less market analysis in those days, although the lawsuit of a few years ago by Olds owners suing over buying Oldsmobiles with SBC engines instead of Rocket-88 engines is along the same lines. Still Olds is gone now anyway.
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  12. #12
    southerner's Avatar
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    Thanks for that bit of info Don. Now when you say lincoln, do you mean the lincoln flathead 12 ?
    "aerodynamics are for people who cant build engines"

    Enzo Ferrari

  13. #13
    Don Shillady's Avatar
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    Gee, that's a good question. The Lincoln "H" engine was made from '39-'48 as a V-12, and the OHV Lincoln probably came in '54 with the other Y-blocks so I do not know what engines were put into the trucks. I only remember reading an article about the Duntov brothers describing how they finished their contract and then Ford did not use their design. I am from a lower economic class and have few or no memories of Lincolns, but one of my high school buddies had a large Lincoln which was a '46-'48 sedan with what appeared to be gold plated interior handles and a luxurious interior BUT, as happened with many Lincolns, it was retrofitted with a 59AB Ford flathead V8. That was my first introduction to any type of engine swapping and I recall the motor mounts were crude and made from flamecut angle iron, but they worked! All I can tell you is that there was a lot of extra space in terms of length where the longer V12 had been. The main point of historical note is that somehow Chrysler Corp. was able to obtain whatever patents covered the ARDUN design to make the hemi engines and then Zora went to GM to improve the Corvette and design the famous Duntov cam which has only recently been improved by modern cam design. In a sense the Ford Motor Co. made two errors in not adopting the ARDUN design and not retaining the Duntov brothers. Should I also mention the debut of the Edsel? As a Fordnatic in my youth I was amazed at these developments, although I originally thought that Chrysler came up with the hemi themselves and it was not until about 1960 that I realized the FoMoCo errors. Although there were stock car successes with the '57 Y-block (check track records) the early '54 Y-block had problems with rapid cam wear and poor lubrication of the rockers so Ford should have just added two more main bearing webs to the 59-AB and adopted the ARDUN heads and maybe the Thunderbird would be what Corvettes are today, but of course hindsight is 20-20.

    Don Shillady
    Retired Scientist/teen rodder
    Last edited by Don Shillady; 09-03-2004 at 02:41 PM.

  14. #14
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    Here's some info on the Lincoln flathead V8; http://www.vanpeltsales.com/FH_web/f...s-337bigV8.htm

    There's not much evidence to support the Ardun = Chrysler story, nor is there any to challenge it either. There are some strong similarities in design, so the assumption is a natural. Duntov lost control of the company in the late '40's, but it's unclear who took over the tooling, perhaps a company by the name of Stevens. What is known is that, before going to work for GM, Duntov went to work for Sydney Allard in England, and that shortly thereafter the Ardun tooling came into Allards possession and they resumed production. Tags were added to the valve covers that said "Made in England". This was after 1950, so it's unlikely that Chrysler ever "owned" the tooling, and given that the Ardun was a near copy of the French built Talbot in configuration, it's also unlikely that they had patents on anything other than possibly as application specific to the Ford integration. But that's what adds to the lore................all the possible permutations, real or imagined.

    BTW, that one on ebay is at $25k and hasn't hit reserve, but must be getting close as the seller has lowered the reserve.
    Your Uncle Bob, Senior Geezer Curmudgeon

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    Luck occurs when preparation and opportunity converge.

  15. #15
    southerner's Avatar
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    Ta Richard
    Ta don
    Ta Buzz
    Ta pro
    from Mrs S
    Last edited by southerner; 09-03-2004 at 09:13 PM.
    "aerodynamics are for people who cant build engines"

    Enzo Ferrari

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