The Engine That Replaced the Ford Flathead

The Y-Block was Ford’s first overhead valve V8 engine and the design the company felt was worthy to replace the world-famous Flathead. The Y-block first appeared in 1954 and ran in cars and trucks until 1964 in the United States and even longer in other countries. But the engine has some serious oiling problems that can affect longevity even when you aren’t pushing tons of horsepower.

This is a rebuild Keith Dorton of Automotive Specialists is doing for a 1955 Thunderbird show car. It is a mostly stock rebuild, but Dorton has put some very cool touches to help improve the oiling system significantly. So check out our deep dive into the engine that replaced the Flathead.



This is an original stock 292 block with original crank and stock connecting rods. The pistons are Silvolite stock replacement slugs.


Keith Dorton of Automotive Specialists installs the pistons and rods.


Original Y-blocks were notorious for oiling problems. This update routes oil directly from the main gallery to the center cam bearing as well as the rocker shafts. The solid line in the center of the valley is drilled to spray oil onto the lifters as well as drip oil onto the cam lobes.


Like some Mopar engines, the oil pump is external to the engine.


Stock Y-block cylinder heads.


The biggest unique feature of Ford’s Y-block engine is the stacked intake runners. It wasn’t Ford’s best idea ever.


The rocker arms rotate around a shaft that runs the length of the cylinder head. Oiling is provided through the shafts.


Another shot of the rocker arm setup.


The rebuilt Y-block on the dyno.


1 Response

  1. I owned fords and driven them for years. Own a 58 sedan with a y. Very reliable car drive it everywhere. Just Love A Y block.

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