H&H Flatheads – Cranking Out Classic Ford Engines One at a Time (2024)

Mike Herman’s H&H Flatheads is a well-preserved time capsule tucked against the foot of the Angeles National Forest in a town named La Crescenta. If these walls could talk they would tell an American hot rod story.

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Ford’s venerable Flathead V-8 engine, while not the first production V-8 in America was certainly the most prolific of its time. Henry’s in-block valve V8 engine had an abundant production run starting in 1932. With its debut to the displacement-crazed American public, the Flathead was in constant production for 21-years ending in 1953. Ford’s affordable engine was popular with outlaws and bandits of the 1930s, legendary with dry lake speed buggies in the 40s-50s; and gloriously cast itself into America’s automotive history.

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From Henry to the Herman’s, Ford’s original V-8 has found a good life with contemporary hot rodders all over the world at this humble shop in La Cresenta; H&H Flatheads. It is here where the Flathead story continues on. Starting in 1972 with Max Herman Sr and Jr running the show, the Herman family has mastered its skill with all of Henry’s early model engines and is now in its third generation with Mike Herman at the helm.


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At the turn of the millennium Mike brought his savvy skills to the family table and helped propel H&H to a respected worldwide brand among early Ford enthusiasts. It was at his shop (still in its original 1972 location) that we shadowed Mike, where he ran us through the paces of H&H’s performance services.

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Among the many services and products from H&H is their popular balanced rotating assemblies for the Flathead. One of the sought-after parts among hot rodders is the coveted 4-inch stroked Mercury crank (vs. the 3 ¾ stock Ford Crank). H&H starts out with a freshly forged SCAT crank, then perfectly balances the entire rotating assembly. We watched as Mike balanced the crank to within a 0.1 grams on the balancer. “It’s overkill” Mike tells us. But there is no sense in doing it if you are not going to overdue it when it comes to performance right? When the checkered flag appeared on the computer screen with the words “Good Part” this near-perfect crank was ready to head out the door along with the other perfectly weighted H-beams, pistons, rings etc.

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For the flathead aficionado, H&H is a treasure trove of both vintage and newly minted parts. From Herman’s acquisition of the Navarro parts line from legendary racer and engineer Barney Navarro, H&H has kept the Made-in-America tradition alive as the exclusive manufacturer of Navarro equipment.

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That’s not all there is. Herman sells Sharp Speed and Power Equipment, Austin Speed Equipment, S.C.o.T blowers and their newly minted Dixon overhead valve conversions as you can see in this video.

Active in the shop since childhood, Mike Herman is keeping H&H at the forefront of speed equipment by acquiring and reproducing coveted speed parts. All this for an engine that ceased production over 70-years ago, and these parts too are locally forged and machined in California not far from the shop.

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Yes, they’re named H&H Flatheads, but that is not the limit to their craft. All the early Ford engines are their specialty, as well as some of the prominent overhead valve engines too – the Ford Y-Block, the Red Ram Hemi and the Buick Nailhead.

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Along with engine building Herman has teamed with our freelancer Tony Thacker to author a comprehensive tear down and rebuild book of the pinnacle of Flathead engines, the 1949-1953 8BA model.

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H&H Flatheads – Cranking Out Classic Ford Engines One at a Time (19)A family owned and operated business now in its 3rd generation, H&H is a great place to start for the seasoned or novice Ford Flathead owner. Take a look at their free catalog in PDF form to see the wide array of parts and services available.

Photo Extra!











About the author Related posts

Mike Harrington

Without question, Mike is a brilliant photographer who has a keen eye for composition and color. Having nearly two decades of experience in the magazine business, Mike has spent the better part of his adult file photographing cars and the people connected to them. Sealing his fate as a gearhead, Mike's first car was a '73 Camaro. Currently, he is working on bringing a '62 Ford Galaxie and '58 Chevy Apache back to life.

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H&H Flatheads – Cranking Out Classic Ford Engines One at a Time (2024)

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