This article was originally published in the December 2015 issue of Street Machine
Ron from Kustom Bitz says, “I’m doing this ’32 roadster for a customer and he was quite keen on running a flathead,”.
“I love flatheads, but when he told me he wanted to drive it up and down the east coast doing all the hot rod runs, I knew I had to set him straight. The trouble is, flatheads are great if you want to trailer your car to the event and then cruise around there, but if you’re going to be doing big miles you’ll be forever working on it.”
With the hemi heads, four-barrel carby and front-mounted dizzy, you’d never guess there’s an LS engine under all that. Classic styling meets reliable motoring for the hot rodder who wants the best of both worlds
Obviously that was a bit disappointing for the bloke, because he definitely wanted to do some miles with the top down and the wind in his hair. So he went away for a couple of months and came back with a new plan. “He pulls out his tablet and shows me this engine he’s bought, and I say: ‘What have you done? It looks like an Ardun-headed flathead!’” Ron recalls.
What the customer had actually done was buy a 480hp Arias-headed LS engine – all the coolness of a hemi-headed donk, but with the reliability of a modern powerplant.
The bottom end is your basic six-litre LQ9 cast-iron block with a 4.005in bore and 3.622in stroke, filled with forged Arias pistons attached to standard rods with ARP bolts and a factory crank. All the magic is in the top end, with a pair of Nick Arias Jr LS-AH ported heads and a matching cast-alloy intake topped by a four-barrel Holley.
“They’re a true hemi head,” Ron says. “They’ve got canted valves on each side, and they’ve even modified the front to run a dizzy.”
The set-up is good for 480hp at 6500rpm, which is plenty to push a ’32 roadster around, but for those looking for a bit more poke, Arias do a 403ci version that punches out 700hp! Bloody hell, where do we sign up?