French Flatheads

Top Side


The first thing one is struck by is the quality of the castings. They are clean, clean, clean, and there is virtually no casting flash. The new blocks are packed in crates, coated in Cosmoline, and are painted a red-orange primer color. A factory relief which is milled in rather than cast in. There is a number stamped in each relief, but I don't have a clue what it means. Notice that the back end has a cast in bell housing like a 59A series engine, but the water passages are like an 8BA series engine. Also, you can see tabs on the sides of the castings just below the end cylinders. I don't know what these are for. What you can't see from the picture is that the head bolt hole in the top center, the one that goes into the center exhaust port, goes clear through the exhaust port and is not threaded until it reaches the exhaust port. I assume this takes an extra long bolt or stud. Because the threaded boss goes all the way through the center port, it forms a sort of exhaust divider. This block did not have hardened valve seats.

The fuel pump push rod hole is in a threaded plug. This suggests that if the stock mechanical fuel pump is not used, the plug with a hole in it could be substituted for one which doesn't have a hole, thus eliminating an area that so many people get nervous about. The tube that carries oil the length of the block appears to be threaded in place rather than pressed in place. The top surface of the block has all the holes for an early style intake manifold including the locating pins. Although the intake ports are machined round at the top, they quickly spread into a D-shaped port which is flat on top and is the shape of choice for many porters.

Many marks are cast into the bell housing. I was told that the series of numbers at the top of the picture indicate what year it was cast, in this case, 1988. There is also a series of numbers stamped into the bell housing just out of view below the bottom of the picture.