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Engine Identification

The 445? The label on the motor refers to the torque rating, 445 ft.-lb. This was confusing to buyers when the cars were new, it is still confusing to restorers 35 years later. The engine is a 401 cid. You may also find 465 which would identify a 425 cu. in. Buick. The VIN does not describe the engine data. The engine production code, which is stamped on the front of the block near where the head attaches, does give engine data. The number is in the form AB123. The engine serial number will also be stamped on the block somewhere nearby. It will be the last 8 characters of the VIN and will tell if the engine is the one which came in the car. The letters of the engine production code are given on the home page of this site. Just click on the model year along the left side. This condition also is the same for the 300 cubic inch, with the 310 and 355 the 340 with the 340 and 365


Do you have codes that don't show on our site? Send 'em

Buick was powered by a L-8 (eight in a row makes 'em go) in all models up to and including 1952. In 1953 the V-8 (nailhead) was introduced in all models except the Special which continued to use the 263 inch L-8 for that year. Since 1935 the big eight appeared in many displacements, starting with 233, 235, 278, 345 in 1935 and adding 320 in '36, 248 in '37. The 248 and 320 then ran uninterrupted until 1950 with the introduction of the 263.

Our identification section is divided up into a number of sections. Some are relatively short because there were identification format changes.


You can identify most NAILHEAD engines from this list; however the letter codes are more accurate. Unfortunately the letter/number codes prior to 1961 were hit and miss or frequently incomplete:
Block Cast #      Year      Displacement
1169334 56-59 322   Chev truck
1173201 59-61 364
1174372 59-61 364
1185484 59-60 401
1185404 61-66 401
1196546 61 401
1196547 61 364
1340146 63-66 425
1346046 61-66 401
1349046 62-66 401
1354713 64-66 425
1354714 64-66 425
1364704 63-66 425
1364705 64-66 401/425
1364707 63 425
1364714 64-66 401
Raymond Ackerman
Head Cast #      Year      Displacement
1165549 54-56 264/322
1166349 54-56 264/322
1168930 56 322
1169349 56 322
1172889 59-60 364/401
1175109 56-59 322   Chev truck
1185485 61-66 364/401/425
1190415 62-66 364/401/425
1196914 59-66 364/401/425
1374603 64-66 401/425
1376912 66 401/425

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Ultimate American V8 Engine Data Book : 1949 - 74
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Info compiled by:
  • TODD
  • Dr. Frankenbuick
  • bob


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