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Old 05-31-2021, 07:00 PM   #1
derek costello
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Default aluminum flathead?

what ever happened to the new aluminum flathead? Did someone take over from Mark Kirby?
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Old 05-31-2021, 07:18 PM   #2
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Default Re: aluminum flathead?

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Originally Posted by derek costello View Post
what ever happened to the new aluminum flathead? Did someone take over from Mark Kirby?

I guess a lot of folks didn't realize that Kirby's iteration of flathead wasn't an exact aluminum copy of Henry's engines. In fact, the block construction was quite unique, with quite a few parts not able to be swapped with Ford pieces. And the projected cost was insane. Last guess I heard probably near ten years ago was approaching $13K. It's likely best left as is, a big dream with no real shoes to fill. I can't imagine anyone resurrecting the thing. DD
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Old 05-31-2021, 07:45 PM   #3
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Default Re: aluminum flathead?

Don Ferguson makes an aluminum block that is a variation of the 8BA but is strictly designed for his Ardun heads. He has done several of them with success.
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Old 05-31-2021, 08:38 PM   #4
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Default Re: aluminum flathead?

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Originally Posted by V8COOPMAN View Post
I guess a lot of folks didn't realize that Kirby's iteration of flathead wasn't an exact aluminum copy of Henry's engines. In fact, the block construction was quite unique, with quite a few parts not able to be swapped with Ford pieces. And the projected cost was insane. Last guess I heard probably near ten years ago was approaching $13K. It's likely best left as is, a big dream with no real shoes to fill. I can't imagine anyone resurrecting the thing. DD
Coop,

$13K is not too outrageous if you consider guys are getting $5K for a French engine now.
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Old 06-01-2021, 02:39 AM   #5
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Default Re: aluminum flathead?

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Coop,

$13K is not too outrageous if you consider guys are getting $5K for a French engine now.

The very last that I remember seeing anything about the engine in print was probably around the 2010-2011 timeframe when I saw the last advertisements of any sort in a print magazine. All that I remember was small print, a "projected" sale price (way back then) of $12,595, and statements indicating that the engine was undergoing 'extensive, nation-wide road-testing' in (at first) a '34 coupe, and again later I believe in a shoebox Ford. I also remember some rhetoric implying (month after month) that availability to the public was imminent, and happening SOON.

In response to Tim Ayers up above, $12,600 ....TEN years ago .....was a gi-hugic chunk of change. We can only use our imagination to project what inflation would have done to that $12K+ figure TODAY in the event that thing had finally, and successfully completed it's "comprehensive road testing", and awaiting delivery in crates stacked-high in a Michigan warehouse.

There's no telling how deeply that dream had eaten into Kirby's wallet. But one can only imagine that it was DEEP, and likely got to a point that he must have seen the writing on the wall, while understandably STILL hoping in his heart to make this thing fly. From all that I had read, and for whatever little my opinion is worth, the only positives that I could see going for that engine was that it was new, it was light, and that it held the potential for 337 expensive, cubic inches, along with maybe a few bragging rights.

I ran across these two 'telling' documents while researching this a little bit earlier this evening. DD
_________________________________________
MARK KIRBY ALUMINUM FLATHEAD ENGINES LLC

Company Number
801475379

Previous Company Numbers
E12468

Status
In Existence But Not In Good Standing

Incorporation Date
25 September 2008 (over 12 years ago)

Dissolution Date
24 February 2014

Company Type
DOMESTIC LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY

Jurisdiction
Michigan (US)

Registered Address
13624 STOWELL RD DUNDEE MI 48131
United States

Agent Name
MARK KIRBY

Agent Address
13624 STOWELL RD, DUNDEE, MI, 48131

Inactive Directors / Officers
MARK KIRBY, agent

Registry Page
https://cofs.lara.state.mi.us/CorpWeb...

_________________________________________
Event

Company
MARK KIRBY ALUMINUM FLATHEAD ENGINES LLC (events)

Type
Event::Company::ChangeOfStatus

Categories
Corporate, Credit, KYC

Description
Change of status from 'Active, But Not In Good Standing As Of 2 24 2014' to 'In Existence But Not In Good Standing'

Event Occurred
Between 2016-07-15 and 2019-04-12

Provenance
Derived from a difference in Company Snapshots dated 2016-07-15 and 2019-04-12







........
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Old 06-01-2021, 01:59 PM   #6
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Default Re: aluminum flathead?

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Did not Kirby pass away??
Paul in CT
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Old 06-01-2021, 02:36 PM   #7
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Default Re: aluminum flathead?

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Did not Kirby pass away??
Paul in CT
Yes, fairly recently. In his later years, he was associated with a company called Shadow Rods. I wonder if they took over his development work.
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Old 06-01-2021, 02:48 PM   #8
derek costello
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Default Re: aluminum flathead?

OK, in answer to my own question..What ever happened to that fantastic new
aluminum flathead..................? We all know Mark Kirby died, I wanted to know
who has taken over the manufacture of the project??
It seems so much research and good engineering was done by Kirby, I would
hate to see it die as an unfinished quest. Especially as the molds for the casting
have already been made!

Does anybody have any positive input as to the present status of this engine?

Derek
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Old 06-01-2021, 03:32 PM   #9
Krylon32
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Default Re: aluminum flathead?

For current information on the Kirby aluminum flathead contact Phil Goller at Goller's Hot Rods. He was involved with Kirby in the motor.
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Old 06-01-2021, 03:56 PM   #10
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Default Re: aluminum flathead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by derek costello View Post
OK, in answer to my own question..What ever happened to that fantastic new
aluminum flathead..................? We all know Mark Kirby died, I wanted to know
who has taken over the manufacture of the project??
It seems so much research and good engineering was done by Kirby, I would
hate to see it die as an unfinished quest. Especially as the molds for the casting
have already been made!

Does anybody have any positive input as to the present status of this engine?

Derek
Derek.....I'm sorry that I don't have ANY "positive input" or current info on Kirby's past venture. I took the time above to break-down just SOME of the reasons that Mark couldn't get the thing into an economically and logistically "saleable" state, even after so much time and money had been thrown at it. I'd bet that the remnants are likely sitting in a corner at "Shadow Rods" World Headquarters. It's fairly obvious to me that you can't make 'chicken salad' out of 'chicken-shtuff'....especially if the shtuff just doesn't pass ALL of the required 'smell' tests. IF it had actually turned-out to be ALL that Mark had hyped it up to be, I'm sure that there would have been umpteen dozens of those aluminum flatties whizzin'-around all over the place. With the length of time that there was invested in it's development, SOMETHING obviously didn't work-out as hoped. DD





......
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Old 06-02-2021, 07:17 PM   #11
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Default Re: aluminum flathead?

It boils down to lack of market research and and several engineering faults. An aluminum engine block of any brand by necessity of cost to produce is going to have a limited market due to final sale cost. Another BIG thing that is apparently not taken in to account is most but not all vintage racing associations do not allow after market blocks. This is to keep the venue "vintage" and this is good. Also, there is a large number of vintage racers that would never go to an aluminum block AS LONG AS THEY ARE NOT RACING FOR MONEY, because of bragging rights.
The number of people that would buy an aluminum block for a street engine
is limited because the advantages do not outweigh the cost.
If you think back most of the people developing VINTAGE after market cylinder blocks have been designing and developing for 10 years or more. This runs the cost up. An exception was the Donavan. It was developed and brought to market in a very short time and was an exceptionally good product but it didn't sell very many because of cost.
As long as original blocks are available, even at elevated prices, after market blocks will not sell too well.
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Old 06-02-2021, 07:35 PM   #12
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Default Re: aluminum flathead?

I don't get it ether. There is a group working on an aluminum, Model A engine. From what I have been reading the numbers are staggering. Were talking about an engine that's 90 years old. A fully rebuilt and balanced A engine is about 5 grand. How much of a market can there be? I hate to be negative on their endeavor, but the return on investment can't be very much if anything.
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Old 06-02-2021, 09:52 PM   #13
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Default Re: aluminum flathead?

You guys are both right. Unfortunately, I think this puts a knife into "Tod's" efforts to cast an improved 8BA block. The demand vs. cost is just not there.
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Old 06-03-2021, 07:10 AM   #14
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Default Re: aluminum flathead?

I think we need to remember the time frame this was all happening. MCF had some serious momentum going when the first nostalgia wave hit in the '90's. It got a further bump from magazine (remember them?) coverage and Tim Allen from Home Improvement fame had a roadster with a MCF in it on the show.

There was some serious buzz around MCF at the time and I know of three guys that bought motors from Kirby in the '90's. The cost then was $8,500 and up. At the time, Kirby had a wait list to build motors for customers.

In my opinion, Kirby came too early for this products to really make an market impact. I believe if MCF was around today, they would be as big as H&H.

Mike @ H&H sells plenty of Scot blower kits at $8,000 and Ardun head kits at over $10K. There is still a market for high dollar stuff. Albeit a limited market, but there are some deep pockets in this hobby and these folks aren't afraid to spend it.

There is a company now that is reproducing Frenzel blower kits as well. People still want this stuff.

Now, could an aluminum flathead engine that using unique parts sell if it was introduced today? I'm not sure. It would sure be neat to find out.

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Old 06-04-2021, 11:03 AM   #15
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Default Re: aluminum flathead?

To the O/P- Jon from Shadow Rods has all the flatty aluminum stuff. Give him a call and get the answer to your question "straight from the horses mouth".



For anyone to try and disparage Mark's name, work, or accomplishments is classless at best. Especially now that he is deceased.



If you ever met him you would know that he never stopped trying to improve and develop the flathead. He wasn't perfect, no man is. Sadly he probably will never get the credit he deserves for the huge resurgence in the interest in flathead ford engines.


The aluminum flathead engine was incredible task to take on but at least he tried it.



Imagine all the naysayers who mocked the first attempt to go to the moon, too expensive, too dangerous, etc...Glad they didn't listen.


RIP Mark Kirby. Like all the good ones, you went too soon.
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Old 06-04-2021, 11:16 AM   #16
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Default Re: aluminum flathead?

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Originally Posted by Holeshot View Post
To the O/P- Jon from Shadow Rods has all the flatty aluminum stuff. Give him a call and get the answer to your question "straight from the horses mouth".



For anyone to try and disparage Mark's name, work, or accomplishments is classless at best. Especially now that he is deceased.



If you ever met him you would know that he never stopped trying to improve and develop the flathead. He wasn't perfect, no man is. Sadly he probably will never get the credit he deserves for the huge resurgence in the interest in flathead ford engines.


The aluminum flathead engine was incredible task to take on but at least he tried it.



Imagine all the naysayers who mocked the first attempt to go to the moon, too expensive, too dangerous, etc...Glad they didn't listen.


RIP Mark Kirby. Like all the good ones, you went too soon.

I agree with you totally. Met Mark in 2007 at the 75th anniversary celebration of the '32 Ford and the Flathead Ford V-8. He was definitely a good guy and did good things for our hobby. I just wish he could have made a go with his flathead engine project. RIP Mark Kirby.
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Old 06-04-2021, 11:25 AM   #17
Tim Ayers
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Default Re: aluminum flathead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Holeshot View Post
To the O/P- Jon from Shadow Rods has all the flatty aluminum stuff. Give him a call and get the answer to your question "straight from the horses mouth".



For anyone to try and disparage Mark's name, work, or accomplishments is classless at best. Especially now that he is deceased.



If you ever met him you would know that he never stopped trying to improve and develop the flathead. He wasn't perfect, no man is. Sadly he probably will never get the credit he deserves for the huge resurgence in the interest in flathead ford engines.


The aluminum flathead engine was incredible task to take on but at least he tried it.



Imagine all the naysayers who mocked the first attempt to go to the moon, too expensive, too dangerous, etc...Glad they didn't listen.


RIP Mark Kirby. Like all the good ones, you went too soon.
Well said.

Interesting, my friend just took possession of a car that he built for his father. They had Mark build them the motor in '90's. His dad, always wanted a well built flatty and bucked up for Mark to build him his last flathead.

At the time, his dad did not feel he could spring for Mark's MCF heads and used as set of Offy's. My friend said his dad always regretted that choice.

Thankfully, my buddy sourced one of the last remaining sets of MCF heads and plans to install them on the motor as a tribute to his late father.

Mark's motor has been in the car since the '90's. It has needed nothing and starts instantly and runs really strong.

I credit Mark and others with bringing these motors back from the junk heap and giving the attention they deserve. RIP Mark Kirby and thank you for all you've done for us flathead guys.
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Old 06-05-2021, 07:47 PM   #18
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Default Re: aluminum flathead?

My MCF engine was built by Mark Kirby.
Iím not sure the year but it came to Australia in a 34 coupe. Apparently it was a 15k build back then.
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Old 06-05-2021, 10:25 PM   #19
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Default Re: aluminum flathead?

Aluminum engine blocks are a racing item by nature. They are lightweight which is a BIG advantage, they can be designed to be of almost any cubic inch configuration, the cam can be relocated, usually higher in the block, the ports can be designed for optimum flow, the oiling system and passages can be designed for dry sump oiling, and many other improvements for strength.
People will buy them if there is a place to race them. A few example places aluminum blocks are allowed; NHRA, Formula 1, World of Outlaws, USAC midgets, West Coast Vintage Racers.

I propose a new racing association for vintage racing that allows ANY after market engine part as long as it is a BASIC replica of the original part. This could have branches in any venue as needed. Races could be incorporated in shows that are already in existance for true vintage cars.
This could provide a LARGE market for these blocks and other parts.

Now, all we need is someone (not me) to do the leg work.
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