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1931 Nash Flathead 6 Transmission Swap?


Guest kilroy88
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Guest kilroy88

Hello forumites!

 

Glad to be here... First question! I am the potential owner of a 1931 Nash flat head 6 cylinder engine, which I would like to power a vintage style speedster based around a Model A Ford chassis. There is very little information that I can find online about these engines, and the man who is selling it has had it for 15 years, and claims it was rebuilt and sat with a friend who kept it as a spare for his own car. Alas, he can't tell me much about them.

 

I am aware that the engines were mated to synchromesh transmissions originally, and have also found a 1931 Chevy synchronized transmission for sale locally. Would it be possible to build an adapter plate for this combination? I am very wary of purchasing the engine until I know whether or not it will be possible to find a period-correct transmission to fit to it!

 

Thanks in advance for any answers and advice. Cheers!

 

-Gregory

 

(p.s. I also found that Hagen's sells some bits and bobs such as fuel, gasketing and electrical components for these engines. Are there other companies selling NOS/REPRO parts for the Model 660 flat heads?)

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What do you mean by Ford chassis? Do you have the rear axle and transmission? Are you planning to adapt the Nash engine to the Chev transmission and the Chev transmission to the Ford rear axle?

 

I suppose this would be possible given a well equipped machine shop, and unlimited time and money but I wouldn't recommend it.

 

If you live anywhere in the US or Canada it should be a simple matter to get a Ford engine, rear axle and transmission. You do not say where you are but some of the language you use, suggests England or Australia.

 

The best and simplest plan would be to use a complete Model A chassis with matching engine and drive train. The Model A is one of the most popular vintage cars, all parts are available, even "go faster" goodies to dress up the engine.

 

Next best would be to find a complete car of suitable make such as a sedan whose body has deteriorated past saving. Or one that was cut down to make a truck. Something that has a complete chassis but too far gone to restore to original.

 

These turn up from time to time. One with a six cylinder or straight eight engine would make a good speedster project.

 

Incidentally there is a page on this board for speedster builders, you might pick up some good ideas from those who are building similar projects.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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I know this will spark some controversy but other than availability and cheap parts, I don't see much to recommend a Model A chassis. The suspension, steering and brakes are primitive and the engine is nothing special either.

 

There were plenty of more expensive cars with better suspension, hydraulic brakes, six cylinder or eight cylinder engines with full pressure lubrication and other advantages.

 

Not to knock the Ford, it is a good car for what it is, but there are lots better cars. I am sure Henry Ford would have admitted this, but added "not at a Ford price".

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Guest kilroy88

Hello Rusty, thanks for your reply.

 

Your assumption about my hoped for method of adaptation is more or less correct. However, I do not yet have a rear axle and would happily find one that matched whatever transmission I wind up pairing with the Nash engine. As far as machine shops go, I have access to one with a couple of skilled mechanics/machinists within the family to help me out (I cannot count myself among them)... The funds, not so much! That is part of the reason why I am interested in this Nash engine in the first place, as I can pick up the rebuilt engine for a song in addition to its oddity.

 

What little history of the engine I can find strikes me. It was reasonably more powerful than a stock Model A engine, and was still the bottom of the line for Nash. It's quite different from what one regularly sees, and here I see many Model A Fords. In point of fact I live near Fresno, CA in a rural community where old American cars are plentiful, from rusty yard art to high dollar restorations and hot rods. I suppose the Nash six just seems cool because it's a bit different from what I'm used to seeing in these parts.

 

If I wanted to I could find a nearly complete Model A engine within about an hour that someone would probably sell to me for less than this Nash engine, and life would be simple. One of my father's former employers used to modifty Model A engines and has driven in the range of 100 mph on the salt flats with several of them - his expertise (and probably spare parts bin) would be a great asset to me. I am still tossing around the Nash idea, which is why I decided to come here and ask about it... Ford components are the most likely choice for my project due to accessibility/cost efficiency, and my plan has indeed been to simply hop up a Model A engine. That is, until I found this Nash engine and ideas started spinning in my head... Dare to be different, right?

 

So, any more exacting information about the possibility of this transmission issue would be appreciated before I make a decision! :)

 

-Gregory

 

(p.s. I'll check out the speedster build threads here. So far my main source for such things has been the Jalopy Journal, which is where I almost headed with this question, but the likely use of this engine for restorations/speedsters made me consider joining the AACA to ask. Glad I did.)

Edited by kilroy88 (see edit history)
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How complete is the Nash engine? Does it have a bellhousing, flywheel and clutch? I assume it has no transmission?

 

The only way I can see using it, is if you have the bellhousing flywheel and clutch and can adapt a transmission to it. To make or find these parts, would not be impossible but as long as you are looking, might as well look for a better motor.

 

If it has those parts I would be looking to adapt a newer trans, like a 5 speed from a later model pickup or van. Choose pickup or van because the gearshift is better for your use, than a Camaro or Mustang.

 

Then adapt a late model rear axle to the Ford spring. This is a common thing to do in hot rod circles. The late model trans and rear axle would save you a lot of problems and not detract too much from the vintage style.

 

Where you are, I will bet that you could find a derelict twenties or thirties car for under $1000 with a little looking. This would give you a much better start, as it would have fenders, radiator, gauges, gas tank, etc etc all in one package and save a lot of hunting and buying parts.

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