Ron’s BIG97 Merc

Ron House has been a loyal and valuable advocate of Stromberg products for many years. In fact we featured it here waaaaay back in 2012. His beautiful show winning 1950 Merc has been seen up and down the USA. And the Stromberg 97 tri-power has remained 100% reliable throughout that time. Recently, Ron decided to treat his trusty Merc to a variety of updates including swapping the centre 97 of his 3×2 to a BIG97 Primary. We’ll leave the story of the BIG97 Merc to Ron himself…

     “In 2010 I made a handshake agreement with KUSTOM KID’S HOT RODS to totally rebuilt my 1950 Mercury Convertible which has been cruising the interstates “WEST” since 1979. The Merc had to be a mild custom circa 1955. It had to be dark green and it must have a FULL HOUSE FLATHEAD V8!!! Anthony Bordonaro (aka THE KUSTOM KID) did accept this total soup to nuts rebuilt assignment but Anthony said one thing right away. NO more 4bbl carb, my new Flattie V8 would now have a Tri-Power Intake Manifold with New Genuine Stromberg 97s. Done Deal, bring on the STROMBERGS!!

THE PERFORMANCE ENGINE SHOP, West Babylon NY got the assignment to build up my 1949-51 8BA block. Builder/owner GARY SHARKEY built and dynoed this Flathead V8 with the following specs; bore 3-5/16, stroke 4-1/4 for cubic inch displacement of 294 CID, 78cc chamber volume into Edelbrock cylinder heads (pn 1116) for compression ratio 8.26 to 1, Isky 88 camshaft.

     With Gary building the block it was time to call MIKE GOODMAN at HONEST CHARLEY SPEED SHOP for all the add on accessories; three Regular Stromberg 97s (162 CFM), Edelbrock tri-power intake manifold (325-1109), OTB GEAR Aero Top 2 barrel air cleaners with 3-1/4 filters, MSD Pro-Billet Ready-To-Run Ford Flathead 1949-53 Distributor (8573), Sanderson three tube 1949-53 Ford Flathead V8 Headers (FH-1), Electric fuel pump, Aeromotive Fuel Regulator (13301) with return gas line to gas tank to maintain the required 2.5 PSI max fuel pressure for the Stromberg 97 Carbs.

     Mike stated that the Stromberg gas line and linkage was not available at this time. The Kustom Kid worked with Stromberg and in 2010 we received the first prototype Stromberg Progressive Linkage and Fuel Delivery line, 1/4 inch OD stainless tube, CNC bent with furnace brazer connector joints. Nothing but the best from THE GENUINE STROMBERG 97 COMPANY in Tech Support and Needed Parts.  “THE CLIVE CONNECTION”

     KUSTOM KID’S HOT RODS finished this total rebuilt on my 50 Merc in August 2011. Anthony wanted me to put a thousand mile break in time before I headed west on a two week 2500 miles Road Trip. The last week of September 2011 the new and cool Merc headed to Indiana for the annual James Dean Run and The Duck Tail Run and other car related sites. At the James Dean Run, judging with one hundred other 1949-51 Mercs, my Merc won top prize, MERC OF THE YEAR, aka the 2012 Tee Shirt Merc. Then at the Duck Tail Run, judging with 2500 cars my Merc won Best Mild Custom. Over the next six years my 50 Merc traveled all over the Eastern States racking up 35,699 miles. This Stromberg powered Flathead V8 ran super with “NO” carb issues. In 2015 Anthony re-jetted the center Regular 97 Carb from .045 to .047 jets and added 1/4 inch Phenolic spacers. The Merc always ran good, but Anthony stated the Stromberg’s Regular 97 (162 CFM) was border line lean, running at its max on the Full House Flathead.

Fast forward to 2018 and The Kustom Kid reads about the new Stromberg BIG97 carb in a Rod Magazine’s New Product Department. Anthony tell me this New BIG97 could be what the Hot Rod Doctors ordered for a BIG97 Merc. Reach out to Stromberg and find out if the NEW BIG97 Carb (250 CFM) would be an improvement as a center carburetor on my 294 CID Flathead V8? A quick email to clive@stromberg-97.com and I got all the info on the BIG97 faster then you can say “Jackie Robinson”! Clive’s email states the below mentioned facts on the new BIG97:

The New BIG97 will indeed give your Merc more cruisability on just the center carb

Your Regular 97s would do the job pretty much for everything you need. But they may be a little near their max if you want to REV the Merc to higher RPMs.

The New BIG97 external dimensions are the same as the regular 97 but have some 55% more air flow.

The BIG 97 jetting (.056) will be close, out of the box, but you can check it out and tune it once it’s on the car.

Check out online Tech Section on how to maximize intake flow for the BIG97. Cut away the center web between the two barrels (center carb location on this intake) for intake efficiency which is all about smoothing the passage of the air from carb to cylinders.

Beware. Use the right high flow type air cleaners to avoid cutting down the airflow through these BAD BOYS, THE BIG97.

Clive’s bottom line on this BIG97 center carburetor update for my 294 CID Flathead V8 Merc. “I don’t see a problem with a BIG97 on your Tri-Powered Flathead – the BIG97 Merc.”

The Kustom Kid states, “Say no more. Get what the Doctor ordered! A quick call to Summit Racing and Anthony had The BIG97 in his Shop within two days.

On December 8, 2018 Anthony completeds PROJECT BIG97 Merc. Time for some road testing. My Merc’s Stromberg Tri-Powered Flathead now has a BIG97 (250cfm) for the center carburetor and the other two carbs are regular 97s (150cfm). The below mentioned notes are taken during a couple hundred miles of road testing done during the month of December 2018.

First, the BIG97 started up right out of the box, idle great and also the accelerator pump action was a lot smoother. Yes Sir, the Stromberg gas line and progressive linkage again fit prefect now running the BIG97 with the two regular 97s. The BIG97 is the exact same outside dimensions as the regular 97, but completely redesigned internally.

With the BIG97 now on my Tri-Power intake, Anthony was able to get the timing set at 10 degrees BTC, he also used the blue springs in the MSD Distributor for a quicker advance. The engine was now running with 18 pounds of vacuum. With our 2010 Tri-Power intake using three regular 97s Anthony could only use 6 degrees BTC, silver springs in the MSD Distributor with only 11 pounds of vacuum.

     Now it was ROAD TEST TIME!!! After a couple hundred miles this BIG97 update was much more then Anthony and I could ever dreamed!! The BIG97 with more air, fuel and timing advance had the Merc pulling first and second gear right over 3500 RPM, No Problem!! When shifting gears from first to second gear at the new found higher RPM range the dual exhausts are barking and rapping with power. You can hear and feel the big difference the BIG97 provides in power, with RPMs coming quicker and much stronger. Like Clive stated, the BIG97 gave the Merc more cruisability. Yes Sir, at highway speeds, just breathe on the gas pedal and it’s off to the races. Also at lower RPMs in any gear, second, third or overdrive fourth, again lightly touch the gas pedal and the RPMs climb with no problem.

     Just for the record, my Stromberg Powered Merc ran Regular 97s since 2011, racking up 35699 miles on them. The Regular 97s ran bullet proof, awesome, no leaks, no ‘oh shits’ and never missed a beat while The Big M was on all its Eastern States Road Trips. Both The Kustom Kid and Clive agree that using the Regular 97 as my Merc’s center carb was little near its max, not enough air-fuel for the 294 CID V8. Both Anthony and I could not believe or ever hope for the major improvement with my Merc’s performance with the BIG97 as the center carburetor.

     I really appreciate all the extra work and effort that team The Kustom Kid and The Clive Connection performed on my Merc’s PROJECT BIG97. The Highway’s white lines on Thunder Road will be a lot whiter while cruising my Merc in 2019.

     BOTTOM LINE…Always use New Genuine Stromberg 97 Speed Parts made in England, Quality with Modern innovation”.

                                                                            Keep Them Rolling with 97s,  Ron

P.S.  KUSTOM KID’S HOT RODS, Glen Head NY. email KustomKid9@optonline.net

Lone Star Round Up 2018

 

 

Pin stripped deck lid

The Lone Star Round Up in Austin, Texas is a cool event in anyone’s language. And for 2018, it didn’t disappoint. Ok, it was cool in every sense, this year. In fact, it was cold as hell on the Saturday, which for Texas is kinda weird. But everyone toughed it out and got on with it. There is so much to see and do at the Round Up, but it was no surprise that the indoor vendors were busiest! The swap meet guys sold out every glove they had, from welding gauntlets to Michael Jackson style white woollies. And the musicians did their bit in fingerless mittens to keep the crowd entertained.

Strombergs!

As usual for the Lone Star, there was a great display of Stromberg carburetors on all sorts of cool cars. And we have shown you a few here, along with some other cars which caught our eye. Especially pleasing for us was the Summit Racing truck highlighting Stromberg carburetors and other parts as part of their flathead engine display board. This year’s Stromberg Pick went to Kenny Emberley’s 1932 Ford coupe from Alexandia, Louisiana. That’s his funky old red and white interior in the pics below. All in all, another great event and yet more Stromberg friends made.

 

 

 

Strombergs at Royal Kustoms

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Royal Kustoms down on England’s south coast might not be well known to our USA friends, but in the UK, proprietor Jim Turnbull and his team have a huge reputation for quality work on early Fords. Jim has long been one of the ‘go-to’ guys for flathead engines, but in recent years he’s also become the number one destination for customers looking to compete in the toughest of long distance classic car rallies.

Now, we’re not talking sedate cruises across a couple of counties here, stopping off at a restaurant and a vineyard on the way. We’re talking a seriously competitive thrash across Siberia (Northern Russia), through South America or from Peking, China to Paris, France. Most of it’s not even on what you could term roads either, so the cars have to be built tough to last even the first day, let alone the month long trip.

On our recent visit, the shop was packed to the ceiling with old Fords, including more ’40 Ford coupes than we had seen for a long time. But these are not your regular old Fords.  They’re built to the hilt, hard charging, double reinforced early Fords that can take more of a serious pounding than you might imagine. When you’re in the middle of nowhere, you can’t take chances. Fuel system? You need two. Throttle cables? Two. Ignition system?  Two. Giant shocks front and rear with hydraulic bump stops. Knobbly off-road tyres. World Class 5-speed manual transmissions. Fuel tanks the size of the Exxon Valdez (but safer). Nine inch rear ends. Full GPS tracking and navigation equipment. And so it goes on. Did we mention super-reliable carburetion? Always Stromberg 97s of course.

We were at the shop as part of our ongoing test programme for the forthcoming new Stromberg flathead distributor. Check the pictures out. It’s a very cool place The work is top notch, and so are Jim, Julie and the Royal Kustoms team. Thanks to them all!

 

5/16in fuel lines for 97s

We recently launched some new fuel fitting parts so you can make 5/16in fuel lines for Stromberg 97s. While the stock early Ford 1/4in OD hard lines are great-looking for a typical flathead motor, many people like the thicker lines for Chevys and other applications. This includes us, of course, as our recently launched 9146-BIG 3-into-1 fuel line uses 5/16in OD stainless hard line. And more than that, all our forthcoming new Stromberg BIG 97s are 5/16in hard line compatible. You can see in these pictures how the BIG S-jet seats the 5/16in line and what happens when you try it in the regular S-jet – it leaves no seat for the ferrule. Click to enlarge.

Today we got a tech enquiry from Shane Dale in Australia that covers this very question, so we thought we’d share it here:

Hello, I have three new 97’s that I purchased in 2011 and am finally getting around to fitting up. I will be bending my own 5/16 OD hard line and was wondering what size fitting will screw into the carb? I purchased three 9180K’s and started hand screwing them but stopped quickly as it went tight.

Hi Shane, A couple of issues here. Firstly, 9180K is our 1/4NPT hard line adapter so the tapered NPT thread won’t fit into the S-jet, which is 1/2in UNF – that’s why it went tight. And as you worked out, regular Stromberg 97 inlet valves (needle & seats) were designed with a 1/4in pocket to take the line and the angled seat is positioned so the brass ferrule can compress properly to seal on the 1/4 pipe. If you put 5/16in line in, it doesn’t sit in the hole properly and covers most of the angled ferrule sealing surface. The good news is, we recently developed a new S-jet inlet valve for our 97s specifically for 5/16th line, and we also just launched a pack of compatible ‘Ford Nut’ style compression fittings for them. You need 3 x 9564K-BIG (the S-jet inlet valve) and just one pack (3 nuts and 3 ferrules in a pack) of 9081K-BIG (the Ford Nut for 5/16th line).

All the best, Stromberg Tech.

 

Strombergs at Pendine !

DSC_0639Golly, just realised we never posted our pictures from The Second Annual Pendine Sands Amateur Hot Rod Races, hosted by the Vintage Hot Rod Association. Here’s a healthy selection of the pics we (Clive and Rick Pearmain) took. You might notice how many of them are of Stromberg 97s. That’s because there were so many Strombergs at Pendine we couldn’t stop ourselves. It filled us with pride almost as fast as the pub on the quay filled us with Welsh beer. As we drove to the event, we wondered whether this could be the first UK meeting that Americans fly over to be part of, just as so many of us UK folks fly over to US events. And sure enough we met a great couple who had read about it on the interweb literally a few days before, and booked a flight. There they were, hanging out on a beach miles from nowhere, just enjoying the old style hot rods. That’s what the old car hobby does to us.

You won’t be surprised that it’s all happening again next year. Dates will be announced soon. And folks are already retuning and rebuilding looking for an extra few mph. Sand fever! Be there or miss out on one of the best events you’ll ever go to. Which reminds me, BIG thanks to Neil and all the other VHRA (and local) guys who organised, scrutineered, wardened, participated, raced, broke, drove the ambulance and more.