An earlier EngineLabs news item on the latest engine project from H&H Flatheads included a photo of a V12 Lincoln engine that Mike Herman’s crew recently built. Requests for more information on this wicked engine poured in immediately.

H&H Flatheads' blown V12 Lincoln.

History of the Lincoln V-12

Ford Motor Company’s Lincoln division began producing a V12 engine just as Ford introduced its Flathead V8 in 1932. The original 448ci Lincoln V12 was used in the large Model KB line for 1932 and 1933. It produced 150 horsepower and was an unusual 65-degree L-head design. The large crankshaft was supported by seven main bearings.

Lincoln introduced another V12 the very next year to replace the aging V8 in the KA model. This 382ci engine was quite different in design from the KB’s massive engine but would serve the company for many years even though it was enlarged the next year.

The KA’s 382 V12 was enlarged for 1934 to replace the 1932-design 448. This new engine displaced 414ci and produced 150 horsepower. All Lincolns in 1934 were powered by this new 414 V12. The 414 would last through the end of the Model K’s production just before World War II.

The first Lincoln-Zephyr models of 1936 used a 267ci engine which produced 110 horsepower. This engine was upgraded with hydraulic lifters in 1938 and produced for one further year.

The engine was enlarged for 1940 and 1941 to 292ci and was used from late 1946 through 1948.

A single month of 1942 production used a 306ci version of the engine. Resurrected after the war in 1946 (with 7.2:1 compression and 2-barrel/twin choke carburetor, rated at 130 horsepower for a short time before reverting to 292ci  for the rest of 1946 through 1948.

“We’ve built over a dozen of the V12 Lincoln engines in the past 8 to 12 months, from stock to three carb and a blower version, based on the individual customer’s needs,” says Herman.

The latest V12 build included a S.Co.T. blower kit which helps pump up the horsepower to these historic motors to 250 hp at the flywheel. That’s a far cry from the original stock 130 hp from the factory. Herman has been known to make over 300 hp in regular flathead Ford V8 engines.

“Our V12 Lincoln’s average 250 horses for the blown versions and around 180 for the naturally aspirated models,” claims Herman. Part of the reason these engines can make that kind of power and have durability is the selection of components that make up the internals. “We do a complete upgrade on the valvetrain,” he says, “switching to hollow-body adjustable lifters and larger diameter stainless steel valves.” 

The crew also bores the cylinders .060-inch over and adds a slightly longer stroke to the crankshaft. “You really can’t go any more on the bores or stroke without running into major problems,” he adds.

Beefing up the stock 6-volt ignition system to a more modern 12-volts helps with getting enough spark to the combustion chambers, especially when a blower is added to the mix. 

Other upgrades are added to make the engine live a long and productive life, like adding high flow water pumps. H&H Flatheads can also supply transmission adapters to just about any type of transmission a customer would want to bolt to the back of these beasts.

According to Herman, “We can supply the customer with anything they might want for these V12s. From core blocks to engine accessories, we carry a full line of products.”

H&H Flatheads' V12 with Hogan cylinder heads. Garth Hogan in New Zealand produces finned heads specifically for the Lincoln V12s.