BIG97 in Street Rodder
Stromberg 97 carburetors ( regular and BIG97 ) have gained some superb coverage in a major feature in January 2016 Street Rodder. It’s all about flathead Ford intake manifolds. Navarro, Edelbrock, Sharp, Offenhauser and more (all of which can work with the BIG97, of course). Written by Ron Ceridono with help from Kev Elliott and Mike Herman from H&H Flatheads, it’s also available online. You might find the online version a little easier to read. Click here to check it out! Here’s a couple of excerpts:
“Thanks to Mike Herman we were able to gather photos of the most popular intake options H&H currently offers for early (1932 to 1948) and late (1949 to 1953) Flatheads. While the manifolds look similar there are significant differences. The positions of the carburetors on two-two manifolds vary and as a result some require moving the generator, others don’t (manifolds that accommodate the generator are often called regular dual, while those with the carbs further apart are usually referred as super dual). By spreading the carburetors further apart they have a straighter shot into the ports and fuel distribution is improved but relocating the generator requires a head-mounted bracket. Some manifolds are equipped with exhaust heat, others aren’t. In cool locales with today’s fuel exhaust heat can help driveability, in hot climates it’s not normally necessary. All the manifolds shown here accept the stock-style fuel pump stand and the oil filler/road draft tube for 1949 to 1953 applications. Another difference is the number of bolts used to secure the manifold. Due to the shape of the runners, in some cases, the number of bolts has been reduced. On the other hand, in some cases, there are more holes in the manifold in the block, but in either case it’s not a problem.
Although all the manifolds shown are good, some manifolds may perform better than others with a given engine combination. The best bet to resolve that issue is to deal with an expert on the subject like Mike Herman.
Stromberg now offers a larger version of the 97. Completely reworked internally, they flow 250 cfm, compared to the original’s 165 cfm.”
Update! We got an email from experienced hot rod Journo, Chris Shelton, this week (thanks Chris!) with an update on this cool Stromberg 48 based siamesed carb:
I think I can shed some light on this crazy 4×2 setup. I wrote the story about Navarro’s roadster in the February ’10 R&C. Barney built that car in the late ’40s—as far as we can tell his engine and the one he built for his then-employee Tom Beatty were the first Flathead Fords if not first V-8 engines ever to get Roots-type superchargers. So that sort of goes with the story that this assembly came to pass in the late ’40s.
The engine that Barney built for that car reportedly exists but Scott Perrott said he couldn’t talk the owner out of it and that it lacked the blower and carburetor adapter anyway. He was forced to recreate the induction system and he did so by Barney’s instructions. Here’s how he described it.
“The hard thing was fitting all those carburetors over the opening in the blower. The holes don’t go straight down; they go at an angle. There’s also a slot cut in it so you can get to the bolts to tighten everything down. I mean it was just a lot of work for a very simple thing that turned out not to be.” But by the benevolence of Scott’s friend, Bob Coutts, it and the other difficult-to-make parts found new life. “He’s just one of these guys who’s been racing his whole life and working out of a little one-man machine shop. He and I are longtime friends and he can make anything I want. And he makes me do all the things that he doesn’t want to do.”
Click here for a photo of the finished product.
Now did Barney remember exactly how he built that induction system? If so, did Scott understand exactly what Barney described? Supposedly Barney approved of the recreation but there’s a chance that he would’ve politely nodded in approval even if they got it wrong. I met Barney once or twice and he seemed like a thoughtful man.
There’s a good chance that the modified assembly could’ve been a design revision. That would give the carburetors a straighter shot into the narrow 4-71 opening and I can see Barney seeing potential in that. Regardless, that assembly really looks as if it was intended for a blown application
Most days are pretty good here at Stromberg, but some are off the freakin’ scale. And today is one. We got the new HOT ROD Magazine 65th Anniversary issue today, and it’s crammed with new 97s. There are three on Dan Webb’s beautiful So-Cal Streamliner recreation (which we featured here a short time ago – click this link). And five pages-full in the ‘Ford Flathead V8 Intake Manifold Smackdown’.
We quote, “Several companies offer Stromberg lookalikes, but H&H says the best, most reliable and least troublesome are the real Strombergs made by the re-formed company, now from England.”
If you haven’t got the magazine already, we urge you to do quickly as it won’t available after 11th December 2012, and it’s packed with great features by the HRM team. We’ve scanned the relevant pages and added them here for when the mag’s no longer on the stands. Who were the winners? Navarro, pretty much, though the Edelbrock Slingshot 2×2 acquitted itself very well, too. The winners are summarised on page 104 – the last page below. Huge thanks, of course, to Marlan Davis at HRM. Dan Webb and of course, Mike Herman at Stromberg dealer H&H Flatheads for helping organise the awesome feature and helping us get involved.
Talk about innovation! We all know the great Barney Navarro was a genius when it came to making flathead motors go faster, and this is yet another example of why. Talk about thinking outside the box.
We honestly don’t know a lot (anything!) about this carburetor. But we are told it was built in 1948 using four back-to-back Stromberg 48s siamesed together with a common machined alloy base plate (it’s got no cast iron bases). Check out the extra/relocated arms on the accelerator pump fulcrum levers, sticking right up in the air. By linking them together across the top of the carb, the left hand pump rods can transmit the pump action to the right hand venturis. Looks like he made some super-long throttle shafts to join four barrels together in line, with one controlled by the pedal and the other (maybe a secondary?) with a torsion spring wrapped around the end of the shaft. And what about that fuel system! Looks like all the inlets are linked, and what are those pipes on the centre drain plugs underneath?!
This one-off piece came via Don Ferguson to the collection of Australian ‘friend of Stromberg’, Graeme Raper and is currently with our buddy Max Musgrove for full restoration with new Stromberg service parts. At the moment we only have these pics to go on, but we’ll be reporting back as this baby gets more attention. Anybody got any more input for us? Please?!Update! Click here for an update we got from hot rod journo, Chris Shelton.