Owning some of the great Fords from the '50s means you're likely to run into the Y-Block V8 that powered a good many of them. From the introduction of the 239 in 1954, to the 312 that made its debut late in 1956, the engines are basically the same, with some rather important differences in carburetion, distributors, cylinder heads and rocker arms. With my '57 Fairlane 500 almost ready to come out of the paint shop, it was time to get working on assembling the 312 that was going to make its home between the front fenders. With the machine work done on the block and most of the new parts on hand, I asked our Club President Albert Lannoo to help me with this task. If you've ever taken a look under the hood of Albert's '56 Merc you'll know why. One peak at the glittering chrome accessories and Offenhauser tri-power intake setup is almost enough to make you weak in the knees. This is what Hot Rod magazines used to write about and it's right here in our own river city. Having rebuilt and hot rodded many of these engines over the years, Albert's got some pretty unique tricks he uses in assembling them that ensure a very reliable motor.
First, we're staring with a 312 engine from a '56 Monarch. The motor ran before it was dismantled, but had developed a knock due to a turned connecting rod bearing. The motor was completely dismantled and the block and crankshaft sent out for machining. The crank was turned .010 on the mains and .020 on the rod surfaces and the block bored .040 over to accept the new Sealed Power pistons. Piston Ring Service supplied a set of moly rings for us and after replacing a twisted connecting rod, new ARP rod bolts were installed, the rods resized and the entire rotating assembly balanced.