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Old 12-01-2020, 10:47 PM   #1
38 coupe
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Default In defense of 6 cylinders

I'm going to be a bit blasphemous, I’m going to talk up the lowly Ford six cylinder engine in the 32-53 V8 forum. I have had, and still own, flathead V8 powered early Fords, and they are good vehicles. With a bit of tinkering all but the worst worn out engines have started quickly, run smoothly, and provided that flathead torque curve that makes it fun to drive. So if the V8 is so good, why bring up the six cylinders, particularly when no amount of pretending will make that inline six exhaust sound like a flathead V8?

Simple, I just looked at my log book for what is probably the least sexy car on this forum, my 1953 Ford four door six cylinder sedan. Since rebuilding the 215 six cylinder in 2013 it has logged almost 21,000 miles, many at highway speeds. I don’t have records from the first thirteen years I owned the car, but I think I have put around 50,000 miles on the car in the last twenty years. Who else is having a great time driving a six cylinder Ford from the early V8 years?
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Old 12-01-2020, 11:15 PM   #2
RalphG
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Default Re: In defense of 6 cylinders

I won't disagree that the Ford six was a fine engine but for me a six just does not excite me like a V8. Partly because, as a kid, any Ford we ever knew up to 1955 was a V8. Far as I know the six was not an option for cars here in Canada til 55. I have no doubt your 215 six would outrun my old 255 flathead Mercomatic but for me, theres just no replacement for that V8 rumble.
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Old 12-01-2020, 11:22 PM   #3
drolston
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Default Re: In defense of 6 cylinders

To each his own. Your "plain Jane" '53 is a sweet ride. For what I spent to get my flathead V8 souped up from 95 to maybe 160 horsepower I could have dropped in a 500 horsepower crate engine. But it would not have sounded like a souped up flathead.
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Old 12-01-2020, 11:26 PM   #4
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Default Re: In defense of 6 cylinders

I have been driving a '53 215 six trouble free for 20 yrs. absolutely love it- 'Old Reliable' Never a bit of trouble, always starts and goes. Newc
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Old 12-02-2020, 07:34 AM   #5
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Default Re: In defense of 6 cylinders

Thats a sharp looking car, the main thing is to enjoy whatever you have.
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Old 12-02-2020, 07:40 AM   #6
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Default Re: In defense of 6 cylinders

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A motor i wish i never let go, was a 262 ford, hard one to find
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Old 12-02-2020, 07:57 AM   #7
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Default Re: In defense of 6 cylinders

My first car was a 50 Ford 2 door with a six. It siarted smoking so i had it rebuilt. It outran
V8s, but sure didn't have "that sound". Next was a 55 I-Block which had a 2/4 split manifold. Kinda sounded like a Ch*** 348. Drove it across country in the mid 60s & it never missed a lick. That being said, i still would rather have a FLATHED V8.
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Old 12-02-2020, 08:44 AM   #8
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Default Re: In defense of 6 cylinders

Is your car an overhead six?
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Old 12-02-2020, 09:28 AM   #9
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Default Re: In defense of 6 cylinders

I also have a '53 with a 215. Even though I have an 8BA in storage I honestly have no desire to swap it out. Don't get me wrong, I love the flathead in my '40. But the old 215 runs great and requires less maintenance.
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Old 12-02-2020, 10:19 AM   #10
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Default Re: In defense of 6 cylinders

Here is my formula: 6 cylinder = YUCK!
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Old 12-02-2020, 10:32 AM   #11
Tim Ayers
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Default Re: In defense of 6 cylinders

Quote:
Originally Posted by drolston View Post
To each his own. Your "plain Jane" '53 is a sweet ride. For what I spent to get my flathead V8 souped up from 95 to maybe 160 horsepower I could have dropped in a 500 horsepower crate engine. But it would not have sounded like a souped up flathead.
I hear you and same here.

I love flathead V8's, but one day I will own a '35/'36 with one of those 427 aluminum SBC, 6 speed trans and a 9" rear. Total tire fryer sleeper.
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Old 12-02-2020, 03:33 PM   #12
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Default Re: In defense of 6 cylinders

I had a 6 cylinder/Fordomatic '52 Sunliner many moons ago......always started and ran well, particularly in the winter in New England. My guess is that car would be desirable these days.
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Old 12-02-2020, 05:30 PM   #13
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Default Re: In defense of 6 cylinders

The 215 wasn't around long before it evolved into the 223. They were reliable and had the advantage of the overhead valves to get a 101 HP rating. Notice that the horse power is pretty close to the 239 flathead V8. I always got a kick out of the glass bowl Holley carb on the early ones. They had plenty of power for the street and weighed less than the flathead V8. They would get off the line pretty well depending on gearing and application.
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Old 12-02-2020, 05:57 PM   #14
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Default Re: In defense of 6 cylinders

Wen I was in high school, I had a friend whose folks had a '54 with a 223 and Fordomatic. That car was faster than any of our flatheads. I do have to say it was almost new and most of the flatheads were, let's say, a bit "tired".
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Old 12-02-2020, 07:03 PM   #15
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Default Re: In defense of 6 cylinders

I like sixes. We had '51 Ford that was great car. Other great sixes were the "Blue Flame", and the big GMC. Some of those sixes would give the V8 fits in a race.
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Old 12-02-2020, 07:09 PM   #16
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Default Re: In defense of 6 cylinders

I had a 52 Ford 4dr. with the 215 back when I was about 18. we put a dual carb fenton intake manifold with 2 glass bowl holly carbs on it. that 6 with 3 on the tree would out run most all flathead 8's . it was a great car, and a great eng.
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Old 12-02-2020, 07:59 PM   #17
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Default Re: In defense of 6 cylinders

Six in a row make it go with out the evolution of the 215 we never would have had the 300 six. Great thread to talk about those old 6's.

I had plenty of F series with the 300 engine and Ol'reliable always kept us go'in down the road. I hated to see that engine go away.

There seems to not be a lot of cars or trucks in this area with the 6.
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Old 12-02-2020, 08:09 PM   #18
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Default Re: In defense of 6 cylinders

The heavy duty 262, had a heavy crank shaft. Cause the M series flathead 6 [254] used the 223 crankshaft and had problems. California Bill's book had a description of an M engine taken to 304" ! Inliner also. Newc
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Old 12-02-2020, 08:10 PM   #19
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Default Re: In defense of 6 cylinders

Agree completely, I loved my '42 Ex Army Staff Car, its G-series 6 always started easily and ran great, very smooth and quiet with lots of low end torque too. I always wondered if it might have been even better with a two barrel Holley in place of the single... I suppose I'll never know as this car is in the hands of a new owner now.
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Old 12-02-2020, 10:28 PM   #20
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Default Re: In defense of 6 cylinders

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Miller View Post
Is your car an overhead six?
Yes. Ford started selling OHV six cylinders in 1952 (and OHV V8s too, but in Lincolns and big trucks). Don't judge, the engine is pretty grimy right now.

I find it interesting to read stories about 215s and 223s outrunning flathead V8s. I do pretty well in overdrive in the flatlands of Texas. However, higher elevations and long hills are a different thing altogether. I vividly remember driving on the tour during the 2013 Early Ford V8 Club Grand National meet in Lake Tahoe. I was the slowest old Ford up Nevada Stage Route 207.
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Last edited by 38 coupe; 12-02-2020 at 10:42 PM.
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