1957 Ford, running a stock radiator (recored at some point in it's past but of an unknown quality) cooling a fairly stock 302. Engine is fully rebuilt and now done around 300 miles. Radiator has two large (10" I think) fans in front of the radiator pushing air through (checked to ensure correct way round!). Since the start the car has got hot when stationary or crawling with the needle creeping up to the end of the scale, at this point the car starts to run lumpy so is clearly unhappy. Changing the timing (advancing/retarding) makes no difference. Driving along at 30mph + the needle stays in the middle of the gauge & the fans don't cut in. With the fans on the needle still stays extremely high and would overheat if left for a period of time.
I have got an infra red thermometer, last night I went for a run and left it idling until the needle was near the "high" mark on the gauge, the temperature of the radiator core (measured pointing at each individual tube/waterway) was 56 degrees at the bottom, rising to around 88 degrees at the top. The temperatures were constant all the way across the radiator with no obvious cold-spots.
I have taken the thermostat out to try and rule that out, it obviously takes longer to get warm but still reaches the same high temperature.
Any suggestions? I don't mind having the radiator recored, but I want to ensure that doing so will fix the problem, so I'd sooner understand the actual problem first.