Engine VIN number

Discussion in 'The "Paper Trail"' started by 12lives, Jul 3, 2021.

  1. 12lives

    12lives You die once. You live every day.

    I bought a 455 engine a few years back and finally thought to check the numbers on it. I was told it came from a 1973 Rivera. The engine code is WF and the VIN stamped next to the oil pressure sending unit indicates it is a 1972. Of course the number only includes the make, year and plant and not the body. Is there a way to find what car it came from just based on the year and serial number? Buick Heritage maybe?
     
  2. 12lives

    12lives You die once. You live every day.

  3. Matt Knutson

    Matt Knutson Well-Known Member

    ENGINE SPECIFICATIONS
    A Buick engine is stamped with two different identification codes. One is the engine production code which identifies the engine and its approximate production date. The other code is the engine serial number - it matches the VIN (vehicle identification number).

    The 350 CID V8 ingine number is on the front of the right cylinder bank. The production code number is between the left exhaust manifold and the two front spark plugs.

    The 455 CID engine number is on the front of the right cylinder bank. The production code number is between the left exhaust manifold and the two rear spark plugs.

    ENGINE
    CODE
    NO.
    CYL
    CID HORSE
    POWER
    COMP
    RATIO
    CARB
    WC 8 350 155 8.5:1 2-BC
    WB 8 350 175 8.5:1 4-BC
    WF 8 455 225 8.5:1 4-BC
    WS 8 455* 270 8.5:1 4-BC
    WA 8 455** 260 8.5:1 4-BC
    WC(1) 8 350 150 8.5:1 2-BC
    WB(1) 8 350 180 8.5:1 4-BC
    WB(2) Dual Exhaust 8 350 190 8.5:1 4-BC
    WF(1) Dual Exhaust 8 455 250 8.5:1 4-BC
    *Stage 1
    **GS Riviera
    Engines available as indicated:
    • Skylark,Skylark Custom and Sprotwagon - WC Auto., WC(1) Man. and Calif. Auto., WB Man. and Calif. Auto, WB(1) Auto
    • GS - WB(2),WF(1),WS
    • LeSabre and LeSabre Custom - WC, WC(1),WB, WB(1),WF
    • Centurion - WF,WF(1)
    • Estate Wagon - WF
    • Electra and Electra 225 Custom - WF
    • Riviera - WF, WA

    '71 GS455 - 434371H 12/70
    '70 Skylark convt. project


    '70 GS 350 - dead
    '69 Sportwagon 400 - sold
    '68 Sportwagon 400 - sold
    many Skylark - donors
    Matt Knutson, 40 minutes ago Edit Delete Report
    #3 + Quote Reply
     
  4. 12lives

    12lives You die once. You live every day.

    Thanks Matt - looks like the WF was used across the line. Is there a way to check the VIN for the body it came in?
     
  5. Max Damage

    Max Damage I'm Working on it!

  6. Max Damage

    Max Damage I'm Working on it!

    Sure the website is crude and amateurish. Is the info wrong? Throwing out the baby with the bathwater?
     
  7. Jim Weise

    Jim Weise EFI/DIS 482

    The short answer here is no.. Not directly..

    The engine vin for a 72 looks like this.

    4- Buick Motor division
    2 - The last digit of the production year of the vehicle it was installed in.
    H - This is the plant code, for where the vehicle it was originally intended to be installed into was assembled.
    and then the last 6 of the VIN number for the vehicle it was originally intended to be installed in.

    So the VIN only will help ID model year.. and it can be used to rule out some models... as some were only built in the Flint Mi plant.

    The two digit stamp code is similar..

    When you have the generic WF code, that could have landed in a bunch of different full size chassis.. and is by far the most common 455 engine code that year.

    The only way to know for sure, is to have Buick Historical look up the last 6 of the VIN, if they can do that. They can use the plant code stamping on the block to help construct the rest of the VIN number, but the model numbers/letters are strickly going to be a trial and error deal, until they find that number.

    JW
     
  8. 12lives

    12lives You die once. You live every day.

    Thanks! It is a 72 and a Flint (H) in the VIN: 42H918155. I contacted Buick Heritage and we'll see if they can help.
     
    Max Damage likes this.
  9. 12lives

    12lives You die once. You live every day.

    Did the other 1972 bodies built at Flint like Electras/Wildcats/ A body's VIN numbers start with 100000 through 900000? That would mean it was definitely a Riv? Interestingly it does have cruise!
     
  10. 12lives

    12lives You die once. You live every day.

    Thanks! But I meant the other bodies used the numbers before 900001. That would eliminate the other bodies.
     
  11. 12lives

    12lives You die once. You live every day.

    Interesting - Thanks!
     
  12. 12lives

    12lives You die once. You live every day.

    Finally got a reply from the heritage center:

    Hi Bill

    Thanks for contacting the GM Heritage Center.

    Our archive records indicate that a 1972 engine code 42H918155 would decode as follows:

    4 - Buick Division

    2 – model year 1972

    H – Flint Michigan assembly plant

    918155 – build sequence number of the vehicle chassis it was matched with. The Centurion and Electra models started their sequential numbering at 400001 so they may be the models most likely to have VIN numbers as high as the 918155 on your engine.

    The Sloan Museum in Flint may have more information on this subject.

    Collections@SloanLongway.org

    Regards

    Bernie Vascotto

    GMHC
     
  13. 12lives

    12lives You die once. You live every day.

    I thought the logic seemed off. Sure is looking to be from a Riv. Thanks!

    another reference: 1972 (from Team Buick)
    Model 49487-Two-Door Coupe
    VIN 4Y87U2H900001 up 33,728
    Optional engine (5th character) W
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2021
  14. 12lives

    12lives You die once. You live every day.

    From Sloan:
    Hello Mr. Bell,

    We should be able to get you a complete VIN record of the original vehicle with that information. Please be advised that we do charge $75 for standard processing and delivery of two to four weeks, and $90 for an expedited five business days. Please let us know if this is something that you are interested in for this engine. Thank you for contacting the Sloan Museum of Discovery for your query.

    Sincerely,

    Michelle L. Burcar
    Research Assistant
    Sloan Museum of Discovery
     
  15. 12lives

    12lives You die once. You live every day.

    agreed - I'm just poking the bear a bit to find out what GM/Sloan does.
     
  16. 12lives

    12lives You die once. You live every day.

    I finally heard back from Sloan:

    Hi Bill

    Michelle is on vacation this week. I found the VIN in our files and deduced that the engine belonged to a 1972 Buick Riviera Sport Coupe. This displacement would have been 455-4. If you are interested in a VIN report on the vehicle, I can begin researching one for you. The research fees detailed in an earlier email will apply.

    You had also required the beginning and ending VINs for 1972 on each B, C, and E series from the Flint plant. I am not entirely up to speed with how deeply Michelle researched this. Could you provide more information on these series? I might then be able to provide some answers for you.

    Regards,

    Jonathan Kirkwood
    Archivist
    Sloan Museum of Discovery
    jkirkwood@sloanlongway.org
    (810) 237-3421
     
    1968_GS400 and Dano like this.
  17. Nailhead in a 1967

    Nailhead in a 1967 Kell-Mnown Wember

    Found that chart I was talking about, for model year 1972 the Riviera started with 900001:



    1965
    -starting at 900,001 for for Flint, MI built Wildcat and Riviera (except first 54 Flint built Wildcats were in the 100001 starting group)
    -starting at 100,001 for all other cars at each plant
    (engines same as last 8 of car serial number for 1965-1968)

    1966
    -starting at 900,001 for Flint, MI built Wildcat and Riviera (Riviera bodies built at Euclid, OH)
    -starting at 100,001 for all other cars at each plant

    1967-1970
    -starting at 900,001 for Riviera (all Riviera chassis built at Flint, MI and bodies built at Euclid, OH)
    -starting at 600,001 for A-body cars with V6 (1967) and L6 (1968-1970) engines at each plant
    -starting at 100,001 for cars with V8 engines at each plant

    1971
    -starting at 900,001 for Riviera (all Riviera's built at Flint, MI)
    -starting at 600,001 for A-body cars cars with L6 engines at each plant
    -starting at 400,001 for Flint, MI built B- and C-body cars (LeSabre, Centurion, and Electra)
    -starting at 100,001 for all other cars with V8 engines at each plant

    1972
    -starting at 900,001 for Riviera (all Riviera's built at Flint, MI)

    -starting at 400,001 for Flint, MI built B- and C-body cars (LeSabre, Centurion, and Electra)
    -starting at 100,001 for all other cars at each plant

    1973
    -starting at 400,001 for Flint, MI built B- , C-, and E-body cars (LeSabre, Centurion, Estate Wagon, Electra, and Riviera)
    -starting at 100,001 for all other cars at each plant

    1974-1975
    -starting at 400,001 for Flint, MI built B- , C-, and E-body cars (LeSabre, Estate Wagon, Electra, and Riviera)
    -starting at 100,001 for all other cars at each plant

    1976
    -starting at 700,001 for St. Thérèse, QC built H-body cars (Skyhawk)
    -starting at 400,001 for Flint, MI built B- , C-, and E-body cars (LeSabre, Estate Wagon, Electra, and Riviera)
    -starting at 100,001 for all other cars at each plant

    1977
    -starting at 700,001 for St. Thérèse, QC built H-body cars (Skyhawk)
    -starting at 400,001 for Flint, MI built B- and C-body cars (LeSabre, Estate Wagon, Electra, and Riviera)
    -starting at 100,001 for all other cars at each plant

    1978
    -starting at 400,001 for Flint, MI built B- and C-body cars (LeSabre, Estate Wagon, Electra, and Riviera)
    -starting at 400,001 for Lordstown, OH built H-body cars (Skyhawk)
    -starting at 100,001 for all other cars at each plant

    1979
    -starting at 400,001 for Flint, MI built B- and C-body cars (LeSabre, Estate Wagon, Electra)
    -starting at 400,001 for Lordstown, OH built H-body cars (Skyhawk)
    -starting at 100,001 for all other cars at each plant

    1980
    -starting at 400,001 for Flint, MI built B- and C-body cars (LeSabre, Estate Wagon, Electra)
    -starting at 400,001 for Lordstown, OH built H-body cars (Skyhawk)
    -starting at 400,001 for Linden, NJ built E-body cars (Riviera)
    -starting at 100,001 for all other cars at each plant
     
    Dano likes this.
  18. 12lives

    12lives You die once. You live every day.

    Excellent! Thanks!
     

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