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1930's Ford - Flywheel came off?

I heard a story about someone turning too many rpms on a 1930s Ford hotrod, and that a flywheel came off the engine and rolled up the street. Could such a thing happen? Did these 1930’s Fords have a flywheel that could come off? Thanks.

I had a flywheel come off a Fiat at about 7500 rpm. Actually the bolts broke, the flywheel itself stayed in place because the bellhousing held the transmission shaft right up to the end of the crankcase, so the flywheel and clutch assembly bolted to it had nowhere to go.

I could believe that the flywheel bolts broke and the flywheel came loose from the engine, but the rest of the story would be a stretch of credibility to me.

Since the flywheel is spinning in the direction of the sidewalk it would be hard to have one turn 90 degrees to go up the street. A flywheel can come loose but I agree with keith on this one. It’s just not credible because of a variety of factors.

In a very determined effort to win an 1/8th mile drag race I saw a 348 Chevrolet flywheel complete with the clutch break through the bell housing and the floor board. It came to rest jammed in the dash under the radio. And a Ford Ranger was driven into the shop several years ago making a lot of noise when accelerating. The crankshaft had broken at the rear main journal but the engine would crank and run well.

I was racing a 71 Dodge Charger 383 mag. Lost all power to to wheels. No noise. I broke the crank in the middle of the rear main bearing. Break was so clean like a hot knife thru butter.
1971 Le Mans I put the drive shaft with the rear yoke thru the rear floor under the back seat. The drive shaft loop failed.
I have seen flywheels blow apart and come thru the floor,but I never seen one leave the car whole.
I suppose if it was a T Bucket and it went strait up and got past the firewall. It mite be possible. As said it would go to the right of the driver.

Famed drag racer Don Garlits only has a part of a foot on one side because of something like this and the trend not long afterwards was towards rear engine rails.

Sounds like the result of one of those childhood story games. The original story goes in one spot in the circle and when it reaches the end, well, you get flywheels rolling down the street.

There’s a reason they mandate scatter shields in racing venues…

And a 30s hot rod would most certainly not have a 30s Ford engine.

Why not. They had flathead mills and we don’t know how old this story is.

Actually, this started out as a wheel falling off a chariot…

It says hot rod on the street; nothing about racing, scatter shields, and who knows what engine the hot rod had in it. The weapon of choice is usually a small block Chevy.

I could see a flywheel breaking loose, bouncing off the bellhousing and then exiting right out the bottom through that thin sheet metal dust cover. Once the flywheel hits something on the car, the street, or the curb it’s anybody’s guess which way it’s going to go.

Thanks to everyone that commented on my flywheel question. I was too sparing with the details. The story dates from the 1930s, so the engine was probably original to the car, albeit modified. It was a home made roadster for dirt track racing. Thanks! HBrasington.

A flywheel breaking loose, bouncing off the bell housing and exiting the inspection plate intact so it can roll down the street? You’d have a better chance of winning two lotteries in one day…

The subtle point about scatter shields could elude some people. Flywheels do come apart at high rpms (which is mentioned by the OP) but have you ever seen one come out whole? Anyone?? Didn’t think so.

On an old Fibber McGee and Molly radio show, Molly is driving along with a friend when they hear a tremendous clatter. Molly stops the car and they find a big disk in the street which Molly suspects came from the car. Molly and her friend load the big disk into the trunk and then find that the car still runs. “McGee will know what to do”, Molly says. “He can fix anything”.
When Molly gets the car home, Fibber suspects that the part is the flywheel. Molly doesn’t think so. She says that she hasn’t seen any flies in the car, so the flywheel must be working".
At any rate, Fibber takes the car apart and can’t seem to find where the part belongs. He then can’t figure out how to put the car together. In the last scene, a policeman visits McGee and demands that he return the manhole cover that belongs to the city.
This is about as far fetched as the original post. Those of you who don’t remember the old Fibber McGee and Molly radio show really missed something.

SiriusXM satellite radio sill plays the Fibber McGee and Molly show and a lot of old radio shows.

Maybe I’ll go to SiriusXM satellite radio. I really loved those radio shows of the late 1940s through the mid 1950s. Jack Benny, Phil Harris, Our Miss Brooks, Gunsmoke, The Shadow Knows, Amos 'n Andy were regulars in our house. I think most of these programs lost something when they moved to television. Jim Jordan refused to move the Fibber McGee and Molly show to television. Maybe he knew something.
As soon as I can locate a 6K7 tube for the IF stage in my old Philco, maybe I can start listening to these old shows again.

Many of those old shows are available for free download, alas I do not have the link right now. I am sure you can find them by Google. I do have some hundreds on my HD, though I started with Gunsmoke.

In 1967, I went with a friend to National Trail Raceway just outside Columbus, OH. Ohio George Mongomery was testing the Malco Gasser - a Mustang bodied AA/GS car.

During one of the runs, his flywheel exploded and part of it flew way up in the air - I’m guessing a hundred feet up - and landed in the spectator parking.

Yup, you guessed it. It hit my friend’s car.

We picked up the piece - it was still too hot to touch, so we used a blanket - and took it up to the tower. The track graciously offered to pay for the damages.

Foolish us. We should have asked Ohio George to autograph the piece. I wonder what it would have been worth?

Triedaq All the shows you mentioned are played everyday on siriusXm.

The moment I read “1930’s hot rod” anything became possible. Hot rodders in those days often cobbled together whatever parts they could and bolted them onto motors made as powerful as they could make them, in whatever ways they could. The automobile itself wqas in its infancy and fancy designed parts were’nt were just beginning to evolve.

Even when I grew up in the '50s and '60s it was common on “hot rod” (guys dragging their hopped up cars mainly) to burst flywheels, break bolts, and whatnot. They’d often remove unnecessary parts to reduce weight, also. It would not surprise me at all if some of them removed a lower access plate of their bellhousing assemblies to reduce weight. Bellhousings were made all sorts of ways in the '30s. “Scattershields” were eventually mandated by the NHRA, which wasn’t even formed until the '50s, specifically to protect drivers against exploding flywheels.
Dragster drivers back then used to sit with their legs right over the rear axle, their feet right on the bellhousing.

Yeah, I for one have no doubt that a '30s hot rod could throw a flywheel. And which way it headed would depend on a whole lot of variables, like what it hit on the way out and how it landed. I’ve had a quarter that I dropped roll across a floor an under a vending machine…many times!