Say what you will about the efficiency of contemporary powerplants but when it comes to cool, an engine wrapped in a plastic cocoon will never replace one sprouting multiple carburetors—and of course the king of cool carb combos is three-twos.
Legendary photographer, Randy Lorentzen, knows a cool car when he sees one, and his Flathead-powered '39 Ford certainly fits the description. Built in the south, the coupe has a number of telltale signs indicating it may have been used to transport white lightening in a former life, but today the only valuable cargo it carries are Lorentzen's cameras.
While the coupe ran well Lorentzen decided performance could benefit by swapping the twin carb setup for a fresh trio of Edelbrock 94s. And since the coupe runs sans hood, the cool factor would be ratcheted up a few notches as well.
Of all the carburetors that have been used in multiples, one the most popular is the Holley 94. Prior to the release of the new 24-stud Flathead, Ford contracted with the Chandler-Groves Company to develop a carburetor that was more efficient than the Stromberg 97 used previously. In exchange for producing a full year's supply of carburetors, Ford was given Chandler-Grove's patent on the new design. At the end of the production year Ford began shopping for a lower price on carburetors and with some minor modifications; Holley cut the price by less than 10 cents each and became the sole supplier.
Once plentiful, good 94s were becoming increasingly difficult to find when Vic Edelbrock and company decided to step up—and step up big. They invested in all-new tooling and began producing these all-American-made carburetors in their Torrance, California, facility. As with the originals, the venturii measure 0.94-inch (hence the 94 name) and these carbs flow 160 cfm at 3 inches Hg.
Visually the Edelbrock 94s are dead-on replicas of the original, the tops and bodies are die cast, however rather than cast iron the bases are now made of aluminum in Edelbrock's own foundry, then powdercoated black.
While Edelbrock retained the outward appearance of the original 94, a number of refinements were added internally. The slightly deeper fuel bowl has more capacity, modern power valves are used, the accelerator pump cups are made from Fluorosilicone to resist today's fuel additives, and the fuel inlet needle has a Viton tip for a long life. Another change can be found at the bottom of the accelerator pump well where the discharge port has been increased from 0.068 to 0.098 inch, increasing the volume to the discharge nozzle (squirter).
Edelbrock offers two versions of the 94—PN 1151 is for primary use and PN 1152 is to be used as a secondary in multi-carb applications. The only difference is carbs for secondary applications lack a choke. Both part numbers use 0.053-inch jets and power valves that open at 5.5 inches Hg.
The manifold and carburetor installation on Lorentzen's coupe was simple enough, the only complication was relocating the generator, which ironically ended up causing the only problem. In order to move the electrical connections out of harm's way the body of the 6V generator was rotated on the endplates—it didn't take much driving to find the charging system was as dead as the battery. The cure was to simply repolarize the generator.
While it's not often done, the decision was made to use straight linkage and run all three carburetors simultaneously. For most applications progressive linkage is recommended, but according to Lorentzen the engine runs great and has more power than ever. And it looks way cooler too.
1. Edelbrock's Dave Shaw (left) and Mark Gray (right) were responsible for removing the original induction system and installing the new components.
2. The original manifold was what is called a "regular dual". It has carburetors moved to the rear, which allows the generator to mount in the stock location, however fuel distribution is compromised.
3. What's more traditional than three-twos on any engine, especially a Flathead? Nothing we know of. These carbs, manifold, air cleaners, fuel block, and the generator bracket all carry the legendary Edelbrock name.
4. Changing a Flathead manifold is relatively simple as the cooling and ignition systems aren't disturbed. The hard part is getting the gasket surfaces perfectly clean.
5. Triple carbs on a Flathead mean the generator has to be moved off to one side. Brackets are available for left- and right-side mounting. Installation does require longer head studs.
6. With the gasket installed, the manifold was dropped in place. Note only the center carburetor has a choke.
7. This is a cool trick to allow use of the stock mechanical fuel pump. To gain the necessary clearance with the new manifold and carbs the deep Ford sediment bowl/filter was replaced by a shallower assembly off of a Mopar fuel pump.
8. Speaking of stock fuel pumps, there are three different pushrods, 7-7/8 and 8-7/8 inches, for '32-48 engines (usually aluminum manifolds use the short one, cast-iron the longer) and 10-1/16 inches for '49-53.
9. Edelbrock offers progressive linkage that uses the center carb only until half throttle, with all reaching wide open together. In this case solid linkage operates the trio together.
10. Edelbrock has reintroduced their vintage cast-aluminum fuel blocks for dual, triple, and quad carb applications. These fuel blocks feature a single 3/8-inch inlet and two, three, or four 1/4-inch outlets. They're available in satin or polished finish.
11. Fuel pressure should not be more than 3 psi. If other than a stock Flathead fuel pump is used a fuel pressure regulator is necessary. Edelbrock offers a regulator (PN 1789) that is adjustable from 1 to 4 psi.
12. The Uni-Syn provides a visual method of balancing multiple two-barrel carburetors. The throttle blades are adjusted until the ball in the sight glass is in the same spot when checking all the carbs.
13. The Edelbrock carburetor has a zinc-dichromate coating for durability and an extended throttle shaft to make connecting multiple carburetors easy.
14. The fuel inlet system features a 3/8-inch hose fitting, a center hung float, and a needle with a Viton tip for long life.
15. Access to change jets is through two removable plugs in the front of the fuel bowl. To the left of the screwdriver is the top of the power valve.
16. Accelerator pump cups are made of a special blue material that prevents rapid deterioration with today's gas additives.
17. This is the vacuum side of the power valve. When the vacuum drops to a certain point it opens to add more fuel. Stamped with their rating, a 45 stamp means the valve opens at 4.5 in/Hg, an 80 means the valve opens at 8.0 in/Hg.
18. To operate the choke Edelbrock offers this cable assembly.
Of course to go along with these new carburetors Edelbrock offers a host of manifolds to accept them, including the following parts:
Triple Carb kit for '55-86 small-block Chevy (C-357-B intake manifold) 2015*
Triple Carb kit for small-block Chevy with E-Tec or Vortec-style heads (C-357-B intake manifold) 2016*
Six Carb kit for 283-327 Chevy (Ram Log intake manifold) 2018*
Dual Carb kit for '38-48 Ford Flathead (Super Dual intake manifold) 2011*
Dual Carb kit for '38-48 Ford Flathead (Slingshot intake manifold) 2012*
Triple Carb kit for '38-48 Ford Flathead (Triple Deuce intake manifold) 2013*
Triple Carb kit for '49-53 Ford Flathead (Triple Deuce intake manifold) 2014*
Triple Carb kit for 289-302 V-8 (Triple Deuce intake manifold)