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GMP 1:6 Ford Ardun Head Flat Head Engine- Ltd Ed of 750

Reviewed by:   Tom Pine
     
  GMP 1:6  Ford Ardun Head Flat Head Engine- Ltd Ed of 750 diecast car
 
 
 

When speaking of the history of Ardun heads for the flathead Ford V-8, one is really talking about two things—the invention of a piece of speed equipment and the genius of a pioneer in the manufacture of performance parts—Zora Arkus-Duntov.

The Equipment: Ardun heads were, quite simply, heat-treated, cast aluminum, overhead-valve, hemispherical cylinder heads designed to bolt onto a Ford, flathead V-8 to improve performance. Zora Arkus-Duntov and his brother Yuri designed and marketed them under their company name of Ardun (not hard to figure out how the name came about). Though the hemispherical nature of the Ardun heads helped an engine so equipped to breathe better, other features like rocker arm geometry, valve spring rates and weights, and piston shapes played their part. Even today, fifty years after their creation, aficionados of unique design, and mavens of speed, seek out Ardun heads. Fortunately, Don Orosco, who manufactured 30 sets of Ardun-designed heads in the mid-nineties, assisted them in this quest. He didn’t just slavishly replicate the Ardun heads, however, but incorporated changes that improved on some of the inherent weaknesses in the original head sets. Don Clark and Clem Tebow, of C & T Automotive in North Hollywood, had worked out many of those improvements in the ‘50s. They discovered that, as advanced as Ardun heads were, the performance they afforded suffered from the fact that the pushrods were too heavy, the valve seats came loose (expansion differences between aluminum and bronze), the valves were too heavy, and the exhaust manifolds were too constricted. In addition, heavy valve springs didn’t allow for higher rpms, and the stock Ford ignitions weren’t up to the task. Today’s Ardun heads are made from less porous, high-grade Alcoa 356 aluminum and, with their past weakness corrected, are capable of compression ratios of 13.4:1 (from 7:1) and horsepower figures above 300 bhp.

The Man: Zachary (nickname Zora) Arkuss was born on December 25, 1909 to Russian parents near Brussels, Belgium. Zora's parents divorced when he was a teenager. His mother later remarried—hence the hyphenated name Arkus-Duntov. Zora worked at a motorcycle shop in Berlin and, predictably, started racing them. He later gave it up, however, because of his parents' worries over the danger. This proved fortuitous, for it turned his attention towards cars. Zora graduated from the Institute of Charlottenburg, in Berlin, with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in December of 1934. He specialized in engine development and supercharging. Because of his many affiliations with auto racing teams, and a paper he wrote on supercharging, he was offered a contract with the Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix racing team as a consultant. In 1938, Zora wrote another paper on the benefits of four-wheel drive and steering for high performance vehicles. It was published in the German Auto Club magazine. Zora moved to the United States with his brother Yuri after 1940. They founded a successful manufacturing company called Ardun Power Products, where they manufactured innovative, aluminum OHV heads for flathead Ford engines. Cars equipped with his heads went on to set world records, thus establishing Zora and Yuri's engineering capabilities in the U.S. Zora then moved to England in 1950, helped Sydney Allard with his racing operation, and drove the ALLARD J2 in LeMans in 1952 and 1953. He also worked for Daimler-Benz and Porsche as a consultant. Zora returned to the United States in 1952 to work for Fairchild Aviation. When he spotted the Corvette at the GM Motorama Show, which was held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York, it was the beginning of a relationship that would change the course of Chevrolet’s newly minted sports car. He wrote a letter, entitled Thoughts Pertaining to Youth, Hot Rodders and Chevrolet, and sent it to Chevrolet Chief Engineer Ed Cole, outlining his ideas for improving the Corvette. This led to an invitation to meet with Cole, and another engineer named Maurice Olley, who were both impressed with what they read in Zora's letter. They were evidently equally impressed with it author, for Chevrolet eventually hired Zora on May 1, 1953 as an assistant staff engineer. The fact we have the Corvette with us today is probably linked to that decision by Chevrolet.

GMP’s 1:6 scale version of these landmark OHV, hemispherical, aluminum heads by Ardun is nothing short of remarkable. All of the hallmarks of GMP precision, quality, and attention to detail are evident in this image. But, as remarkable a piece of die cast art that it is, it’s designed to be assembled by the purchaser. You get a booklet with the image that provides some history, assembly instructions, and lots of pics (even the box it comes in has great graphics). You start with what in 1:1 terms would be called a “short-block,” which is mounted to the heavy, resin base via screw-in pins. Before you put anything on, if you look into the cylinders, you’ll find they are positioned as they would be on the 1:1 engine—in various stages of the firing order—paired off as they would be on the 1:1 version. Next, you get to add the (real copper) head gaskets. Then, you mount the beautifully chromed hemi-heads, with their flared exhaust pipes. Next, comes the blower, the magneto, and the sparkplugs with their wires. You then mount the two belts to their pulleys and mount the two Stromberg carbs onto the blower. You finish with the oil filler tube and the fuel lines. Pop on the Lucite cover and you have a gorgeous 1:6 representation of a flathead Ford V-8 equipped with Ardun heads. We’re talking nine-and-a-half pounds of die cast artwork here! If this one doesn’t belong in your engine collection, I don’t know which image does. I get the impression the folks at GMP are having the time of their lives redefining our perceptions of automotive model making. With offerings like the Ardun head flathead V-8, they’re getting pretty good at it too.

(08/05/2005)
 
 
  GMP 1:6  Ford Ardun Head Flat Head Engine- Ltd Ed of 750 diecast car

GMP 1:6  Ford Ardun Head Flat Head Engine- Ltd Ed of 750 diecast car

GMP 1:6  Ford Ardun Head Flat Head Engine- Ltd Ed of 750 diecast car

GMP 1:6  Ford Ardun Head Flat Head Engine- Ltd Ed of 750 diecast car

GMP 1:6  Ford Ardun Head Flat Head Engine- Ltd Ed of 750 diecast car

GMP 1:6  Ford Ardun Head Flat Head Engine- Ltd Ed of 750 diecast car

 
 
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GMP | 1:6
GMP 1:6  Ford Ardun Head Flat Head Engine- Ltd Ed of 750

GMP 1:6 Ford Ardun Head Flat Head Engine- Ltd Ed of 750

 
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