VintageJunkie

Ford 48 Coupe flathead or 307

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I have had a few older cars but this will be the first in the late 40,s.   Let me preface this buy stating I know how to use a wrench but would be mid entry level at best when it comes to working on a car.   I am torn between buying a 48 coupe with matching engine vs one with 307 or 327.   Would be interested in any opinions ?

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I do not think very many on this site would want a modified car. Just buy a car that was built for a 307 that will be set up to preform the way it should with that engine if that is what you want. The Ford is designed for reliable service with a flathead

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Brings back memories !   My high-school girl-friend had family up in Hastings Michigan, and in her grandmother's garage was a great 48 coupe, up on blocks for many years (that was 1966).  They had bought it new.  Wish......

 

My first recommendations are first - buy and keep the car as original.  Secondly, if you do decide to go with something modified, do no harm - no chopping, no modifying anything that can't easily be undone by someone else down the road in a few years. 

 

You'll get a wide range of opinion, but it would help to know more - like what do you want to do with it? show? tour? just cruise/drive around?  What kind of car events do you usually participate in and with what kind of cars.  Are your car friends more inclined to enjoy original/restored cars, or street-rod/modified?  What prompted your ? - performance? reliability? maintainability, investment value?

 

Post some photos if you can - we'd love to know what you are looking at and of course - don't just post your question and then disappear.  Keep us informed on your decision and how things work out.  This forum is a great place - hope you enjoy it and contribute regularly.

Terry

 

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Thanks for the input Terry.   I would say I am a newbie to this site and to classic cars.  I have always appreciated and attended car shows when I would see them and dreamed of owning one some day.   I just turned 50 and have the bug.  We have alway collected old things and repurposed.  From furniture , to clothing and to old porcelain signs.    We would mainly use this to cruise around and maybe do some car shows.  We drove a very nice Plymouth 48 this week.  Had a 307 and several mods but still looked original.   The one I am looking at in SC has been restored recently with engine rebuild.   Since I am just learning about these old cars - I want to be able to do some general maintenance and fixes on my own.  That is why I was thinking a newer engine may be better but as I explore learning it may not be.  

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3 hours ago, Oldassbike said:

I have had a few older cars but this will be the first in the late 40,s.   Let me preface this buy stating I know how to use a wrench but would be mid entry level at best when it comes to working on a car.   I am torn between buying a 48 coupe with matching engine vs one with 307 or 327.   Would be interested in any opinions ?

 

Since 1935, AACA has had one goal: The preservation and enjoyment of automotive history of all types.

 

Since this is a AACA site the answer is obvious; a 48 coupe with matching engine!!

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327 SBC  is superior to a 307 (Olds or Chev) in nearly every way. Now it you are talking about a Packard 327 it would be period correct.

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Oldass,

If as you say, you are going to cruiz around and do car shows, these do not go together.

Cruize = get a new motor, disk brakes, auto Tx, and air conditioning, or in other words a "restomod" and don't look back.

If you are going to car shows, get an original and keep it that way. Otherwise you will get picked on.

A '48 Ford coupe is easy to work on and parts are still available @ NAPA.

Local car shows can be fun OR when you get to playing with the big boys they can become a blood sport and not for the timid.

Ask me how I know................

 

Mike in Colorado

 

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23 minutes ago, padgett said:

327 SBC  is superior to a 307 (Olds or Chev) in nearly every way. Now it you are talking about a Packard 327 it would be period correct.

 

So how does the preservation as of one of the AACA goals relate to a Chevy or Packard engines installed in a car that did have it's matching numbers engine?

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Pfeil,

I think his tongue was in his cheek.

 

Mike in Colorado

 

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13 minutes ago, FLYER15015 said:

Pfeil,

I think his tongue was in his cheek.

 

Mike in Colorado

 

 

I sure hope so Mike.

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Every car show seems to have several old (fill in the blank) powered by a SBC.  Powering the car as an era correct hot rod with a flathead Ford for motivation would be the way to go to stand out from the crowd.  The flathead Ford has lots of options for customizing and would look so much better than just another Chevy powered Ford.

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Depends what you want.

If it's stock it will give you the experience of driving a '48 Ford.  If it has a SBC it will give you the experience of a 50 year old engine design  in a 70 year old chassis.  Neither drives like a modern car.

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What are your personal likes and dislikes? How do you anticipate using the car? What groups are your friends and peers members of? What are your expectations of an old car?

 

All those factors can determine what car will suit you better. My only personal comment is that I would much rather have a car that is built the way a multi-million-dollar company built it using trained engineers and accepted manufacturing processes rather than built by Jimbo Smith in his garage using a Summit Racing catalog and a stick welder he bought at a garage sale. 

 

Ever wonder why all the SBC hot rods for sale have just a few hundred miles on them? Sooooo boring...

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Way too many good old Fords ruined by sticking a SBC in them. It's almost impossible to find a '40 Ford coupe with a flathead in it.

Stick with the flattie. You'll get a helluva lot more good advice here for that car than for one that's been modified.

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AACA cars should be restored to stock if you want to show them at judged events so go with the stock flat head. BUT if you are not chasing Trophies and want a dependable ride with dependable and better performance drop a more modern engine in it. You can still participate in Judged and Non Judged events everywhere, and drive it anywhere but don't expect Awards.  Either way is fine, it's your car make it what you want. ( If you replace the original motor, pull and save that original motor for future thoughts).

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i have owned my 1953 pontiac chieftain custom catalina for almost 47 years, it was original straight eight 268 powered until 1989, then in the 1990s i installed a 1955 pontiac 287 strato-streak V8, now i'm removing the 287 so i can install a 1959 pontiac 389 V8 that will be mated to a 1955 pontiac dual range hydra-matic that was built into a hydro-stick by B&M in the 1960s. no sbc or LS swap for me, none of the modern choices were ever considered, every LS swap i see just makes me want to lose my lunch. the packard 327 V8 in a fat fendered ford would be nice to see and drive. for me, it's always either old school or no school.

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3 hours ago, Oldassbike said:

Thanks for the input Terry.   I would say I am a newbie to this site and to classic cars.  I have always appreciated and attended car shows when I would see them and dreamed of owning one some day.   I just turned 50 and have the bug.  We have alway collected old things and repurposed.  From furniture , to clothing and to old porcelain signs.    We would mainly use this to cruise around and maybe do some car shows.  We drove a very nice Plymouth 48 this week.  Had a 307 and several mods but still looked original.   The one I am looking at in SC has been restored recently with engine rebuild.   Since I am just learning about these old cars - I want to be able to do some general maintenance and fixes on my own.  That is why I was thinking a newer engine may be better but as I explore learning it may not be.  

 

" Since I am just learning about these old cars - I want to be able to do some general maintenance and fixes on my own.  That is why I was thinking a newer engine may be better but as I explore learning it may not be."

 

One of the biggest problems in working on someone else's engine conversion is knowing what else is changed and what parts were used. Has the transmission or rear end been changed - if so do you know the part numbers for them so if there is something wrong you can get parts easily.  Have the brakes been changed - if so what spindles were used, were they kitted or modified for installation - what master  cylinder and proportioning setup was used. was used? Are the springs/ / shocks original --- and etc etc edc. I speak from having helped friends in way over their head - good mechanics and they knew how to work on a 40 Ford (fil in the blanks) but were stymied when it was difficult to know what part that had been changed came from originally.

 

No - I;m not that smart but two heads are much more than twice better than one - more like four times better than one ....

 

If there is no documentation to all of the items that have been replaced either run or walk at a fast clip - what should take two hours will take two months.

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Get the flathead. Do your research and make sure you are getting a good flathead. Flathead rebuilds are really expensive so I can't stress this part enough. Beware of cracked blocks! In hot rod circles, people will like the flathead. So will purists.

 

Almost no one likes a 307 Chevy. There is no reason that a 307 SHOULD be any worse than any other small block Chevy. In 2019 it could even be a decent engine, but back in the day quality problems and a bunch of flat camshafts gave it a reputation as a real dog, thirsty and slow, something nobody wanted. The reputation persists.

 

I'll say it again. Get the flathead. There is no downside. Just be really careful about what you buy. Buy the best you can afford.

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Excellent a good bit of knowledge shared on a Saturday  so thank you all.   My goal is to make the purchase in the next 30 days so I will keep you all posted and look forward to participating in this forum.   The car I am aiming for has the flathead and seems the way to go 

 

any suggestions for a good hauling service as I will need to have this transported from the Carolinas to Ohio

Edited by Oldassbike (see edit history)
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A fella by the handle Trulyvintage on this site does hauling.  Might want to contact him via forum personal message.

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www.jtdlogistics.com does most of our shipping. Ask for Matt Schmidberger and tell him Harwood Motors sent you and you want the same quality transport we get. You'll pay a bit extra, but transport is not the place to cut corners to save a buck.

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1 hour ago, Bloo said:

Get the flathead. Do your research and make sure you are getting a good flathead. Flathead rebuilds are really expensive so I can't stress this part enough. Beware of cracked blocks! In hot rod circles, people will like the flathead. So will purists.

 

Almost no one likes a 307 Chevy. There is no reason that a 307 SHOULD be any worse than any other small block Chevy. In 2019 it could even be a decent engine, but back in the day quality problems and a bunch of flat camshafts gave it a reputation as a real dog, thirsty and slow, something nobody wanted. The reputation persists.

 

I'll say it again. Get the flathead. There is no downside. Just be really careful about what you buy. Buy the best you can afford.

 

I'll just comment on the comment. The engines with the flat cams were the 305 Chevys. The 307 was a good reliable powerplant built to take the place of the 283 and was largely overshadowed by the 350. At the time the 307 was being introduced the 327 was being phased out for the 350. 

Edited by Pfeil (see edit history)

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40 minutes ago, Oldassbike said:

   The car I am aiming for has the flathead and seems the way to go 

 

any suggestions for a good hauling service as I will need to have this transported from the Carolinas to Ohio

  Good Choice, the flathead V8.   A good running 1948 Ford V8 should have no trouble driving from Ohio to NC or SC. 

  Ask the seller if he thinks his car will go that far? and how far has he driven it on a trip?   If so, have him include his

  repair manual with the car and fly up and drive it home.

  Buying any car sight unseen is asking for problems.  If he has no confidence in what he's selling, keep looking.

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7 minutes ago, Paul Dobbin said:

  If he has no confidence in what he's selling, keep looking.

 

I don't know if I agree with this. While I have confidence in all the cars I sell, I always encourage people to ship them home and get acquainted with them on their home turf. A long road trip in unfamiliar territory is not the place to get to know an old car. Yes, a good car should make it, but if it doesn't, now you're stuck with a broken car and the responsibility of getting it--and you--home safely. That's always more expensive than just simply shipping it in the first place. If the car is new-to-you, you may not know what proper oil pressure should be, or normal operating temperature, or even what noises are OK and which ones suggest trouble. Most of the time it turns out OK, but I don't think it's a sign of a bad car if the owner advises you to ship it instead of driving it. 

 

I had a guy buy a really nice 1960 T-Bird from me a while back and he decided to drive it back to Saskatchewan, Canada, about 1100 miles. I had no concerns about the car, but somewhere outside of Chicago, the generator gave up. He called me furious that I would sell him such a bad car and he demanded that I buy the car back, pay to fly him and his buddy home, and reimburse him for all his expenses. How, exactly, was I supposed to know that in 300 miles the generator was going to break? It turned a pleasant car buying experience sour and I bet he never enjoyed the car after that. 


Old cars are crap. None of them are to be trusted until you've put your own hands on them. Old car owners and sellers are notoriously unreliable witnesses who either know very little and don't realize it or know very little and do realize it and lie to you. Knowledgeable owners will tell you honestly that old cars are crap and you shouldn't trust them until you've gotten to know them a little bit.

 

Save yourself the headaches--ship it home.

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20 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

 

Save yourself the headaches--ship it home.

 I agree with Matt.  On the other hand Al Edmond and I flew to Virginia in the early 80's to buy two Cadillac's from Ron Van Geldren.  I shipped my 29 but Al jumped in the 32 and drove it to Des Moines without incident.  Could have been a disaster!! 

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