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Buick Engine Identification, By the Numbers

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 340, 365 and 375

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.

Info compiled by:
  • TODD
  • Dr. Frankenbuick
  • bob