The Ford flathead V8 is perhaps the most iconic V8 engine ever built. Its launch marked the beginning of affordable V8s in America, and ultimately helped spawn hot rod culture. Here’s a gorgeous time lapse showing the magnificent contraption getting a full rebuild.
Chevy’s small block V8 might be the most popular V8 of all time, but who knows if that engine ever would have debuted had it not been for Henry Ford’s decision to make an affordable, powerful V8 for the masses.
Launched in 1932 with 221 cubic-inches of displacement (3.6-liters) in a model called simply the Ford V8, the flatty was an engineering marvel thanks to its single-piece block casting, which included the cylinders and crankcase. But more importantly, Ford’s V8 just left its rivals in the dust.
The engine was so powerful, notorious gangster John Dillinger wrote to Henry Ford saying “I want to thank you for building the Ford V-8 as fast and as sturdy a car as you did.”
That’s a great endorsement, and Ford used it to promote the company’s V8 engines for decades, even after the flathead V8 faded away in the early 1950s.
So, with all of the Ford flathead V8’s rich history, watching one get torn apart and fully rebuilt is a bit of a magical experience.