Ah the flathead V8, hoonerific engine staple of the American hot rodder since the beginning of time and the main source of power for many cars and trucks in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. This particular example does not appear to used for people-moving however… It’s been repurposed! These photos as well as the backstory are courtesy of our own resident mine expert and all around great guy, CptSevere so I will let him spin the tale for you:
Ruby, Arizona, is a ghost town located west of I-19, 4 miles or so north of the Mexican border and on a rough dirt road that winds through the mountains for about fifteen miles. It’s the crown jewel of Arizona ghost towns, with many intact buildings and remnants of the mining and milling operation. Ruby’s heyday was during the nineteen twenties, when the Montana Mine was the biggest producer of zinc and lead in the state, with plenty of silver produced as well. The town was abandoned in 1941, and has remained in private hands and protected ever since, resulting in a remarkable state of preservation. For a fee, paid to the caretaker, you have the run of the place. Makes for a fascinating day of exploring.
Near the mine is this compressor, used to supply compressed air for the pneumatic rock drills used underground. It was most likely originally powered by a one lunger hit and miss engine, but at some point was supplied with this engine, still mounted in a chassis, complete with transmission. Power was supplied to the compressor by a belt. It’s a flathead V8, not a Ford, like the guy there told us. It has an aluminum block, exhaust ports in the valley between the heads, and the initials HC on the iron heads. What is it? Who made this damn thing? What did the car look like originally? I’m hoping that my fellow Hoons can answer these questions. It’s been bugging the hell out of me since I visited Ruby.
I have spent the better part of my morning trying to identify it and I can agree that it is not a Ford. I am about 95% certain that I have tracked down what it is and where it came from but the good CptSevere is not in total agreement with me. So what say you fellow experts? Track it down and provide pictures in the comments and I will share my findings a bit later.