You wouldn't think that Richard Bellgardt's request was that unusual. Richard drives a '49 Ford F1 pickup, mostly stock, and Flathead powered. He isn't interested in wild modifications. He just wanted to add a power steering system to make the truck a little easier to maneuver through city traffic.

That sounds reasonable, but after making a few phone calls and poking around on the Internet, Richard learned what a lot of guys driving Flathead cars and trucks already know: you just plain can't find power steering pumps for these engines.

Before giving up altogether, Richard mentioned his predicament to the guys at Blundell Speed and Machine. Not only did Chad and Greg manage to come up with a successful system, they managed to make it look like an early factory piece. If fact, it will take some people a couple of looks before they notice it.

The secret (until now) to solving the problem was figuring out how to mount a pump and pulley to the engine--in this case a '49-53 8BA. On these Flatheads, the mechanical fan was mounted on a fan carrier bolted to the generator mounting bracket. Blundell uses that fan carrier assembly for the PS pump, which means that the fan will have to be replaced with an electric fan at the radiator for this application. They also built a custom mounting bracket and pulley for the existing belt system.

Now that the problem has been solved for one customer, Blundell Speed is ready to solve it for others and is now offering power steering kits for 1949-53 8BA Flatheads. The kits can be adapted for 1946-48 59A Flatheads as well. On earlier Flatheads that feature a crank-mounted fan, this pump will work without having to remove the fan. The pump will also work on earlier Flatheads rebuilt to use this later-style timing cover with an upright distributor, but will require the removal of the fan. Talk to Chad at Blundell Speed and tell him what you've got, and he can set up a system that will work.

The pulley pump installation is a half-day job and can be done without pulling the engine out of the car.

The Original Flathead P/S
In case you want to impress your Ford-guy friends or win a bar bet, power steering for Flatties is not new. According to How to Build Ford Flathead V-8 Horsepower by George McNicholl, Ford offered a power steering option in passenger cars in 1953, the final year of the Flathead. If anybody has one of these systems, send us a photo. We'd like to see it.

Honk If You Love Your Horn
In the process of adding a power steering system to the F-1, Blundell Speed had to shorten the stock column for use with the replacement steering box. This meant losing the anchoring point for the lower end of the shaft (now attached to U-joints), leaving the inside shaft to wobble around at the bottom of the column. It usually means losing the horn function, since the horn wire runs the length of the column, exiting out the bottom, where U-joints have been added to connect the column to the box. Blundell has a solution to both those problems: the two-in-one Column Saver and Horn Saver system.