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What does the Hot Rod Reverend have in the Oven? (March 2023 Update)

When you see this picture you cannot help but say, "Did April finally leave you?" This is a real photo, and this is indeed the oven that we have in our kitchen! (And no, April did not leave, and we are still happily married!)

A Rare Piece of Automotive Performance History

Now, mind you that air cleaner housing had just been cleaned and blasted, but still, my lovely wife had full knowledge of my plan to warm up the metal before priming this very rare Y Block Ford piece of history. Yep, I "married up" as they say - the dear lady has been very encouraging in these pursuits. Of course, this is not a very common occurrence and to be sure, I can count on one hand the number of times that I have done such a thing. As cold as it has been during these winter months, paint will cure and stick like glue when the metal has been heated.

A while back, I purposely modified a pair of Holley 4000's just for a 2x4 intake manifold.

Informed Ford Y Block performance enthusiasts recognize the air cleaner, but for those that are not as well-versed let me give a bit of information. Late in 1956, as things were really heating up in NASCAR and other nationally known racing circuits, Ford was in the middle of a horsepower war. By this time, Hudson was already supporting racing (and winning), such large cubic inch, overhead valve, V8 engines like Chrysler's HEMI was quite strong, GM was already at work behind the scenes to introduce fuel injection in 1957, and Ford would not launch the VR57 supercharger program until later in the 1957 model year. Finding itself a little behind, Ford decided to offer an over-the-counter 2x4 kit for the Y Block in 1956. From what I understand, there were various packages with different part numbers and items for the kit(s) depending upon whether or not it was a racing package or a performance package. In 1957, Ford upped its game and offered the 2x4 package as a factory option. Most often, these ended up in 1957 Ford Thunderbirds and was known as an "E Code" 312 Ford Y Block. Details on production numbers for street cars are just about unobtainable. This source from Hemmings says that only 600 were shipped with the E Code (passenger cars?). The CTCI website states that only 1,499 2x4 setups went into 1957 Thunderbirds. Whatever the production numbers, you would have to believe they are quite low comparatively speaking among the other Y Block engine options.

Just a couple of weeks ago while perusing Facebook Marketplace, I noticed a listing for 2x4 Y Block setup. It was pricey, but when I noticed that the air cleaner was included I just had to investigate. This air cleaner is specific to the 1957 E Code and further still to passenger cars (the Thunderbird air cleaner is not as deep I am told).

The E Code setup included the intake manifold, carburetors, linkage, and air cleaner.

My eyes really popped when I asked for the LIST numbers on both carburetors. The seller was good enough to get back with me rather quickly with these numbers: ECJ 9510 AB LIST 1434. Since both Holley 4000's had those numbers this meant that the original application was for a 1957 standard shift transmission (the same LIST numbers on the carburetors would have been correct for a Thunderbird as well).

The LIST numbers on the carbs confirmed that this was indeed an authentic E code!

When I noticed the listing, I was already preparing to head south for a week of special meetings at a large church in North Carolina. The 2x4 setup was located about 3 and a half hours north of the Cincinnati area. The weather forecast for the next day was not good, and severe rain and possible tornadoes were headed for our region. Up north where these goodies were located included a forecast of sleet and snow. Throwing caution to the wind because I realized that these were extremely difficult parts to locate in this condition, I took off for the Toledo, Ohio area. I will not go into the mess of difficult weather and traffic I encountered, but you can tell by examining the photos below that things were nasty.

Several Y Block engine cores, including a Lincoln Y Block, were sitting out in the weather.

Upon arrival, the seller (who was actually the grandson of the original owner) and his dad met me in their driveway in a cold, blowing snow. The E Code setup was sitting in a covered truck bed. They opened the tailgate, and sure enough, there it all was exactly as described. Even the air filter looked good. One of the carburetors was missing a spacer, but I had a few extras back in the shop. Even the original wing nuts were there!

The original FoMoCo air filter was still in good condition.

In the freezing snow, I made the decision to buy the set up and handed over quite a bit of cash. The owners told me their deceased grandpa/dad had several Y Blocks stashed away, and if I was interested I could take a look at them. We walked back behind one of the buildings and there sat seven Y Block engine cores, a few with air cleaners and carburetors still attached. Most of them had either a bell housing or good exhaust manifolds still in placed, and at the end of the row was definitely a Lincoln Y Block - I could tell that by the valve covers. The owners were considering scrapping them, but I told them that at the very least I would like to come back and remove a number of parts off each block. Quite a bit was still salvageable! If any subscriber would like to save any of these blocks I would be more than happy to send you the contact information. So far, all I have is a name, address, and contact through Messenger. One thing to note in all of this is that I was told that there were more parts somewhere in a barn on property. Weather being what it was, we decided to close the deal on the E Code and wait for a better day on the rest of the small parts yet to be located and any possibility of the engine cores.

Once I arrived at home I examined everything much more closely, and to my satisfaction all was well. Further inspection of the carburetors revealed that they had never been rebuilt, for the secondary O-ring washers had the witness marks of having only been staked by the factory. The bores were very clean, and all butterflies operated normally. Looks like a couple of kits from Dayton Carburetor will be ordered soon, along with some soda blasting equipment to clean things thoroughly. As you can tell from the title photo, I have already cleaned, blasted, and painted the air cleaner housing with Ford Argent paint. It turned out very, very good in my opinion. I did use Duplicolor Engine Enamel Primer first as the pictures show. The "dent" on the left side of the air cleaner is a factory recess in order for the oil filler cap to receive clearance.

The air cleaner was in better shape than expected and turned out spectacular!

Before blasting, I did measure/mark the location of the air cleaner decal and will purchase a new one very soon. Also, I will order the two large, rubber O-rings that I removed from the base. (These are used to seal the air cleaner base to the throttle bodies of the Holley 4000's.)

The original decal was just about gone before I began the restoration.

Update on the Summit Carburetor

I had meant to record more video of subsequent test drives of the 1955 Ford Club Sedan because the new Summit 500cfm carburetor is still being "put through its paces" each time I take the Ford out of the garage. Days have been limited on this because of my travel schedule (we fly to California this week, just a few days after returning from NC), and of course the winter weather and road salt keep me from jaunting about in vintage steel. But, we have had a couple occasions to have the 55 Ford running around town for more than 30 minutes at a time. I can report that the carb is VERY responsive off idle, there are no leaks, the fuel level in both bowls are near perfect, and the choke operates as it should. To start the car when cold, I do have to pump the pedal twice, but she fires right up when I turn the key. Warm starts - just hit the key and away we go! There is absolutely 0 soot out of the tail pipes; this includes cold and warm starts. So far, I am very impressed!

The 55 Ford is a joy to drive. There is no soot now at the tail pipes!

A Big Move is on the Horizon

Over the past year, I have more than hinted at a very big move for me coming down the pike. A sizable group of churches and gospel ministries have been in contact with us for quite some time and it seems that we are very near a decision. Communication, travel, and other needs in gospel-related activities certainly take full priority - I am, after all, the Hot Rod Reverend. Most certainly this is why my blog posts to the site have trailed off as of late; hopefully after we make this move later this year things can resume normally. Many have asked about the Y Block Magazine, and one eager soul even preemptively paid for a full subscription. I have been in contact with the owner/editor Bruce Young, and to this date I have not been handed any of the current subscribers' addresses. Bruce has informed me that he would still like to publish issue #173. I do have most of issue #174 completed, but pending where my wife and I land and the scope of church work into which we transition the magazine efforts may have to be put on hold. There is a possibility of publishing a digital version. Below is a sample screenshot of the efforts:

Sometime back a fellow preacher put out a video that well explains what makes me tick and drives me to live the way that I do. This is the message that I preach. This is why I am known as the Hot Rod Reverend. There is nothing more important in this life, or the next, than your personal response to God. I preach what Jesus said to preach in Luke 24, repentance and remission of sin. I beg of you to spend a few minutes watching the following presentation:

It is my privilege to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Hot Rod Reverend

aka Daniel Jessup


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