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Old 03-24-2021, 06:31 PM   #1
52Allard
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Default Rebuilding an Ardun OHV 1954 - 1956

I own a 1952 Allard which was the only car to be produced from the factory with an Ardun conversion Ford flathead. In the early '50s Zora Arkus-Duntov (later considered the father of the Corvette) worked for Sidney Allard at the Allard moror car company as a driver and engineer when Allard realized he needed more horsepower to keep his vehicles competitive. So for a short period of time in the early '50s between the time the Allards equipped with Ford 85 to 100 hp flatheads lost their appeal and before bigger American overhead-valve V8s (Cadillac 331), Allard used the Ardun Ford conversion for some of their vehicles. Although the Ardun engine in my car is long gone, I do have some of the correspondence between the original owner of my car (James Sisler) and all sorts of big-name hot rod guys on the west coast in the quest to rebuild his Ardun after it had troubles early in his ownership. This first post is the letter from James Sisler to Zora Duntov after Duntov started working at Chevrolet. Duntov was kind enough to answer Sisler.

(I retyped the original letters for easy reading because they didn't scan well and were hard to read since one letter was a bunch of questions and the other was a bunch of answers)

I have more letters - let me know if they are interesting and I will post more.
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File Type: jpg 71010649-770-0@2X.jpg (109.0 KB, 382 views)
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File Type: pdf Sisler-Duntov Doc.pdf (173.8 KB, 172 views)

Last edited by 52Allard; 03-25-2021 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 03-24-2021, 07:23 PM   #2
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Default Re: Rebuilding an Ardun OHV 1954 - 1956

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(I retyped the original letters for easy reading because they didn't scan well and were hard to read since one letter was a bunch of questions and the other was a bunch of answers)

I have more letters - let me know if they are interesting and I will post more.
That is some amazing stuff, and straight from the desk of Zora, no less! I had the opportunity to meet Zora and his wife Elfie on two occasions, well onto 30 years ago, now. I'm up for seeing more of Zora's writings, if possible. And the time you must have spent re-typing is MUCHO appreciated! DD
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Old 03-24-2021, 08:33 PM   #3
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Default Re: Rebuilding an Ardun OHV 1954 - 1956

Amazing. Please keep sharing your written history.
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Old 03-24-2021, 09:22 PM   #4
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Default Re: Rebuilding an Ardun OHV 1954 - 1956

I always enjoy reading information about the Ardun conversion from the very early years of their existence. Some of Zoras suggestions were part of the reason most Arduns performed poorly in their day.
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I use the F word a lot no not that word these words Flathead , Focus and Finish.
"Life Member of the Bonneville 200 MPH Club using a Ford Flathead block"
Owner , Builder, Driver of the First Ford Flathead bodied roadster to run 200 MPH Record July 13, 2018 LTA timing association 200.921 in one and a half miles burning gasoline.
First ever gas burning Ford flathead powered roadster to run 200 MPH at Bonneville Salt Flats setting the record August 7th 2021 at 205.744 MPH
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Old 03-25-2021, 09:11 PM   #5
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Default Re: Rebuilding an Ardun OHV 1954 - 1956

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Originally Posted by Ronnieroadster View Post
I always enjoy reading information about the Ardun conversion from the very early years of their existence. Some of Zoras suggestions were part of the reason most Arduns performed poorly in their day.
Ronnieroadster



Interesting comment! Would you care to elaborate? Please??
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Old 03-26-2021, 02:39 PM   #6
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Default Re: Rebuilding an Ardun OHV 1954 - 1956

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Interesting comment! Would you care to elaborate? Please??


Sure let me elaborate.
Simply put the Ardun conversion was a short lived project at the Ardun Engine Co. the original designer of the Ardun head for Zora was Mr. George Kudash I as well as couple of others spent many hours learning from George the complete and true story on what took place during the brief development period. Two areas of concern which are extremely important was the oiling and ignition. Those of us who have spent years working on the Ardun have by way of back yard engineering solved these vital areas of the conversion. As one of the very few who have actually put many thousands of miles on an Ardun head converted flathead block driving twice across America and back I think my experience with all of the above speaks for itself. Actually in the good weather my supercharged Ardun is driven daily its not the best on economy but heck I don't care about no stinking economy.
If the original poster is interested I do have an original set of heads available.
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I use the F word a lot no not that word these words Flathead , Focus and Finish.
"Life Member of the Bonneville 200 MPH Club using a Ford Flathead block"
Owner , Builder, Driver of the First Ford Flathead bodied roadster to run 200 MPH Record July 13, 2018 LTA timing association 200.921 in one and a half miles burning gasoline.
First ever gas burning Ford flathead powered roadster to run 200 MPH at Bonneville Salt Flats setting the record August 7th 2021 at 205.744 MPH

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Old 03-25-2021, 05:59 PM   #7
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Default Re: Rebuilding an Ardun OHV 1954 - 1956

Thanks for the replys - unfortunately I don't have any more letters from Zora Duntov as he was working at GM - Chevrolet at the time he answered the request for Ardun info. I imagine his head was awash with his new job and trying to distance himself from what he probably considered a failure at the time. Anyway - a good testament to his character that he did respond even though he really didn't need to do that.

Here's an exploded view of the Ardun that isn't commonly seen. I'll send more stuff when I get it scanned in.
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File Type: jpg Ardun Exploded 3114 med 2.jpg (53.1 KB, 783 views)
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Old 03-25-2021, 06:34 PM   #8
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Default Re: Rebuilding an Ardun OHV 1954 - 1956

Why not build an original Ardun and put one back in it? Cost issues aside, it would surely help the originality and value of your car. Heck, I might even know of a couple of us who have original heads.
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Old 03-25-2021, 06:37 PM   #9
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Default Re: Rebuilding an Ardun OHV 1954 - 1956

Nice!

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Old 03-25-2021, 08:19 PM   #10
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Default Re: Rebuilding an Ardun OHV 1954 - 1956

It’s totally my dream to put the car back to original. That’s why I bought the car. I know Don Ferguson has some spectacular repos which makes a great plan B but if possible I’d like to try and keep it original when done.
Heck I’m a tinkerer so I’m not all that worried about perfectly reliable. So if you have any leads on parts - please let me know.
So the car also had a Canadian Mercury 99A block if anyone has an idea where one of those is sitting around. It looks like 10k or more were made. Must be at least one around.
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Old 03-26-2021, 05:06 AM   #11
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Default Re: Rebuilding an Ardun OHV 1954 - 1956

Do you have any pictures of the Ardun that would have been in it? I'm wondering if it had the early or later production heads (they are different). I would imagine that it came with the later heads and center water outlets (not on the front). Also, what intake manifold and carb setup did it have?

Don's repop heads are excellent - better than the originals (especially the rocker arm system). But - they are not originals. A Mercury 99A block is not easy to find - and I'm not sure if that block was actually produced in Canada or the USA. I have a 99A type block in my 32 Cabriolet. Back in the day, this block was considered one of the best to build for performance usage - though I personally don't see it as any better than a good 59x 239 block.

Given the cost of finding original parts and then building an Ardun - is that on your table, or is it in the "someday dream" category? Your car should have a real Ardun in it.
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Old 03-26-2021, 06:44 PM   #12
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Default Re: Rebuilding an Ardun OHV 1954 - 1956

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Originally Posted by Bored&Stroked View Post
Do you have any pictures of the Ardun that would have been in it? I'm wondering if it had the early or later production heads (they are different). I would imagine that it came with the later heads and center water outlets (not on the front). Also, what intake manifold and carb setup did it have?

Don's repop heads are excellent - better than the originals (especially the rocker arm system). But - they are not originals. A Mercury 99A block is not easy to find - and I'm not sure if that block was actually produced in Canada or the USA. I have a 99A type block in my 32 Cabriolet. Back in the day, this block was considered one of the best to build for performance usage - though I personally don't see it as any better than a good 59x 239 block.

Given the cost of finding original parts and then building an Ardun - is that on your table, or is it in the "someday dream" category? Your car should have a real Ardun in it.
Please see a few photos of original Ardun Allards attached. It looks like both new and old style heads could be in the Allards but my car had the newer style heads with the water outlets in the center of the heads. (original owner mentioned that in one of his letters). The best photo of a clean unmolested correct engine is the one on the engine stand out of the car. This was from an auction in England. Looks very original without modifications.

As far as intake manifolds go, you can see the two individual intake manifolds which were nice on paper (one intake manifold design for each head - didn't need a left or right) and it used 2 Solex carburetors. The original owner of my car realized that the original intakes weren't very good for performance so upgraded to a Hilborn fuel injection. I'll scan that note in too.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Ardun.jpg (91.8 KB, 102 views)
File Type: jpg Allard_J2-1515_20.jpg (69.2 KB, 86 views)
File Type: jpg 49-Allard-J2-Prototype-DV_10-AACA_e07-800.jpg (146.1 KB, 97 views)
File Type: jpg Allard_J2-1515_10.jpg (72.7 KB, 93 views)
File Type: jpg allard-j2x-ardun-ford-v8-1953-6.jpg (78.4 KB, 98 views)
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Old 03-26-2021, 06:58 PM   #13
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Default Re: Rebuilding an Ardun OHV 1954 - 1956

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Originally Posted by Bored&Stroked View Post
A Mercury 99A block is not easy to find - and I'm not sure if that block was actually produced in Canada or the USA. I have a 99A type block in my 32 Cabriolet. Back in the day, this block was considered one of the best to build for performance usage - though I personally don't see it as any better than a good 59x 239 block.

Given the cost of finding original parts and then building an Ardun - is that on your table, or is it in the "someday dream" category? Your car should have a real Ardun in it.
As far as the engine block goes - I think the block did come out of Canada and the big reason is that import duty to England was very high after WWII but not so bad from the British Commonwealth. I know that Allard used lots of reconditioned WWII surplus so that could also be possible and it was just a leftover but the 99A was supposed to be a '48 block so not new in the '50s but not a leftover from the war. It may not be possible to find the right block but that's what i'd like to try. I know where there is an old Z block which wouldn't be the worst substitute since Allard did use old war surplus engines.

And, yes I'm definitely going to go for the Ardun engine in the car. It has a 390 Cadillac now which runs and is pretty cool but not as cool as the Ardun.
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Old 03-27-2021, 06:36 AM   #14
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Default Re: Rebuilding an Ardun OHV 1954 - 1956

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Originally Posted by Bored&Stroked View Post
Do you have any pictures of the Ardun that would have been in it? I'm wondering if it had the early or later production heads (they are different). I would imagine that it came with the later heads and center water outlets (not on the front). Also, what intake manifold and carb setup did it have?
Found a couple of better photos of how the intake and carbs should have been on the Allard as it was originally built. Hard to find photos like this because, for most performance oriented people, carbs and manifolds were the first to go...
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File Type: jpg ardun engine4.jpg (57.4 KB, 85 views)
File Type: jpg Ardun-1947-2.jpg (59.7 KB, 75 views)
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Old 03-26-2021, 05:11 AM   #15
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Default Re: Rebuilding an Ardun OHV 1954 - 1956

Here is a part of the original brochure - showing the early front-mounted water outlets:

Brochure-Cropped.jpg

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Old 03-26-2021, 12:05 PM   #16
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Default Re: Rebuilding an Ardun OHV 1954 - 1956

A few magazine articles that I collected over the years on the Ardun.
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Old 03-26-2021, 12:06 PM   #17
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Default Re: Rebuilding an Ardun OHV 1954 - 1956

Number 2
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Old 03-26-2021, 12:07 PM   #18
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Default Re: Rebuilding an Ardun OHV 1954 - 1956

Number 3
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Old 03-26-2021, 07:02 PM   #19
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Default Re: Rebuilding an Ardun OHV 1954 - 1956

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Number 3
Thanks for sharing that article. I had the first two but haven't been able to find this one yet. This is the one with all the really good stuff in it!
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Old 03-26-2021, 02:49 PM   #20
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Default Re: Rebuilding an Ardun OHV 1954 - 1956

Thanks for the info! Another question: I read a magazine article years ago that stated the ARDUN head was originally designed for New York city garbage trucks that were under powered and overheating. Is that correct? I assume that no heads actually ended up on these trucks.
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