SEMA 2012: So-Cal Speed Shop Lake Streamliner


What you see below is one iteration of the Edelbrock-eqipped So-Cal Streamliner that was raced on the Bonneville salt flats. Powered by a flathead V8 Ford these, cars – with their delicate-looking suspension – were often found going over 200mph, which is equivalent to a Ferrari 575M Maranello. Not bad for 1940s technology.

This particular Xydias Streamliner (which was originally featured on the cover of the January 1949 issue of Hot Rod Magazine) was on display at the Fomoco area at SEMA and was admittedly the very first thing that caught my eye as I walked in through the builder area adjacent to the Ford display.

I think it’s flathead mill just makes it that much cooler. We’re talking about an engine that had a maximum displacement of 337 cubic inches stock. Also, of all the flathead fords the 337 also had the largest bore at 3.5 inches, which is less than the often frowned upon 305 cubic inch small block Chevy which bore measures 3.671 inches.

Combined with the fact that the head only existed to facilitate a connection between the cylinder bore and the valve bore (both existed in the block, the reason why modern pushrod v8’s are called Overhead Valve; abbreviated as OHV) you can understand why making these motors propel any vehicle to 200mph during that time period was such a great accomplishment. Their design goes against almost everything we understand about making huge power today.