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Old 08-24-2019, 06:45 AM   #1
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Default 2 Pot Manifolds and Heat Risers - From Barney Navarro

I added this to another thread - though it would be fun to put it in it's own thread:

Little Story on Heat Risers and Performance Manifolds: I was chatting with Barney Navarro back about 35 years ago about performance stuff (he was pondering making his Hi-Dome heads . . . which I was pushing him to do - based on my Harley KR research). I had a set of KR heads and had been working with a good friend who built KR's, had all the rare parts, etc.. (I lived in LA at the time).

Anyway he asked me if he'd ever told me about his first manifold design??? I said no - so here goes . . . from Barney:

He had built a performance flathead using all of the stuff available from the SoCal gang - and was running an early Weiand two-pot manifold - the first one that had the high carb risers. Anyway, he had driven his hotrod somewhere out of SoCal (I can't remember where) - in Winter. It was a snowy day and he was headed back to LA and was coming up over a mountain pass and his car kept getting slower, slower and slower. Pretty soon he was barely moving and had to pull over. He couldn't imagine what the heck was happening - it was like the engine was choking to death??? So he pulled his air cleaners and the throats of his carbs were all iced up. There was just a little dime sized hole for the air to get through on both of them. Ahhhh Hahhhh! So that was it, he chipped the ice out of them and went on his way. He had to stop a few more times to clear the ice out of the carbs - but he got home.

This experience made him think about the early Eddie Meyer manifold that had the hot water plenum under the carbs - so Barney decided he'd make a performance manifold with a heat riser plenum that mounted under the carbs. The plenum got its heat from the exhaust cross-over - via a squareish port on the top of the manifold (between the carbs). The exhaust cross-over was nicknamed the "Dog Bone" - as it kind of resembled one.

The manifold was available with or without the dog-bone and if you ordered it without it, then a little finned cast plate was bolted to the heat riser port. He said most racers didn't want the dog-bone as everybody thought that "cold was good" - so if they bought his manifold with the dog-bone, they threw it away! This kind of annoyed Barney - as he knew there was a purpose for it and many hotrods would actually benefit from it.

I had an early manifold of his - but no dog-bone (had never seen one). Barney decided to recast some of the dog-bones so guys like me who wanted one could buy just the dog-bone attachment to re-equip an early manifold. When Mike at H&H bought the rights to Navarro, he acquired a few dog-bones with the deal . . . probably still has some. Luckily I bought all my Navarro stuff directly from Barney - before the H&H deal was in play.

Here is a picture of just the dogbane - and a polished complete setup (not mine).

What a nice looking manifold - really unique! (I may have to resurrect mine and try it out on the 32 Cab?).



So that's it . . . an old Barney Navarro story. I have always been partial to Navarro equipment (especially when Barney was around). Barney was a performance engineer at heart and was a very smart man. He made most of his products to help the true racers - guys who wanted to go a bit faster than the guys running Edelbrock or Offy stuff. He really wasn't a high-volume manufacturer and he branched out into all sorts of products/equipment that had nothing to do with automotive (later years).

His attention to detail and the quality of his castings and machine work were second to none. My first race flathead had Navarro heads (I was 15) . . . so I loved the brand/products long before I had the pleasure of getting to know Barney. He was a good mentor and flathead friend . . .

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Old 08-24-2019, 08:26 AM   #2
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Default Re: 2 Pot Manifolds and Heat Risers - From Barney Navarro


Thank you for stories like this. Education shared is not lost.

Works good
Lasts long time
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Old 08-24-2019, 09:17 AM   #3
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Default Re: 2 Pot Manifolds and Heat Risers - From Barney Navarro

Yes. I liked his equipment., My Memory is alittle cloudy here, but I think I spoke to him once. When my book first came out in 92 I sent copies out to all the flathead buldiers in hops of selling it.. He ordered some and then called me to tell me they were falling apart. I had a thousand books printed and had to staple over 900 of them. Since then they came that way.. Liv and learn. but I'm not sure it was Barney.
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Old 08-24-2019, 12:48 PM   #4
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Default Re: 2 Pot Manifolds and Heat Risers - From Barney Navarro

I was able to score a Navarro "Universal" dual manifold on eBay real cheap because a couple of the bolt bosses were broken off and the generator/fan bolt hole was stripped. I don't know how whoever did it did it, but I was able to repair it successfully. It am planning on using it on the 258" flathead going in my "T" tub. I think it looks like the ideal manifold for the street, as it has the carbs positioned like a "Super" but with exhaust heat. The only problem is deciding whether I want to "step up" to a pair of new 97's or just run with some 94's I already have. I expect it to be a good performer.
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Old 08-24-2019, 01:16 PM   #5
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Default Re: 2 Pot Manifolds and Heat Risers - From Barney Navarro

The only thing nice about being imperfect is the joy it brings to others....

"Silver rings, your butt! Them's washers! Damn!"
"We shot our way out of that town for a dollar's worth of steel holes." - from 'The Wild Bunch' - 1969

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Old 08-24-2019, 02:24 PM   #6
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Default Re: 2 Pot Manifolds and Heat Risers - From Barney Navarro

Same experience for me old Barney was an interesting guy I purchased the dog bone from him for my two pot as well and a number of his blower manifolds. A few 471 blown Flatheads builds i did are running around with Barneys original castings good stuff for sure.
I use the F word a lot no not that word these words Flathead , Focus and Finish.
"Life Member of the Bonneville 200 MPH Club using a Ford Flathead block"
Owner , Builder and Driver of the First Ford Flathead bodied roadster to run 200 MPH Record run July 13, 2018 LTA timing association 200.921 from a standing start in one and a half miles burning gasoline.
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Old 08-24-2019, 05:04 PM   #7
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Default Re: 2 Pot Manifolds and Heat Risers - From Barney Navarro

Wish H & H paid as much to detail as Barney did. As pricey as they are I think most would pay a bit more for it. I got to know Kong Jackson real well in the 70's. I have a few good stories he told me. They would need to be cleaned up a bit.
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Old 08-25-2019, 02:13 PM   #8
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Default Re: 2 Pot Manifolds and Heat Risers - From Barney Navarro

A couple of Dog Bone manifolds, one with and one without the generator mount.
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Old 08-25-2019, 09:36 PM   #9
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Default Re: 2 Pot Manifolds and Heat Risers - From Barney Navarro

The last set of heads I bought from Mr. Navarro were picked up at his house. He was no longer able to drive to his shop. I will never forget the time I spent with this fine man. I had him sign and date my heads. I will never be able to use them, as i do not want to loose his autograph.
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Old 08-26-2019, 11:46 AM   #10
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Default Re: 2 Pot Manifolds and Heat Risers - From Barney Navarro

I think Barney was a navigator in the Army Air Forces toward the end of the war. Navigation training is anything but easy especially the way it was done in that era. I don't know if he saw any action since he got into the game kind of late but he stayed in till 1947 as far as I know. He engineered all sorts of different stuff over the years. He was into the concrete cutting technology pretty heavy and he played with the GM superchargers before a lot of other folks ever messed with them for hot rodding. He was meticulous in his way of experimentation so as to get the best results possible. He certainly wanted to maintain his reputation and it was a damn good one.
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