Jump to content

1939 Buick Special Numbers


sleeve-valve

Recommended Posts

I just bought a 1939 Buick Special Sport Coupe yesterday, and joined the BCA online today.

Can someone help decipher some of the numbers?

Body tag:

1939 Mod: 46S

Syle No: 39-4427

Body No: L2181

Trim No: 794

Paint No: 533

Engine Number: starts with crooked 'N' or incomplete 'W' followed by 3693789. My shop manual says all 39 engines started at 3572652, the 60 engine number should start with a '6', 80 with a '8', 90 with a '9', but does not mention 40. Does this engine number sound right for 1939 40 series?

Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi,

When I saw your screen name on your post, I immediately thought, "I wonder if he has a Stearns-Knight?" Lo and behold, you DO!!!

My to-do with Stearns-Knight is periferal a best. Mrs Jesse Stearns, widow of the Stearns of the car fame, was a friend of my mother in Cleveland. Both had a deep interest in handweaving, and I recall that my mother both learned and taught a lot from and to Jesse. I met Jesse only a couple of times, and I believe I have a piece of her handweaving work. Good memories.

Small world....

--Tom

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The first digit should be a 4. That could be N. W was used on Canadian engines. One of my 39 engines has a badly stamped W

from Team Buick engine numbers start at

<table bgcolor="#ffffff" border="0" cellpadding="3"><tbody><tr><td rowspan="6" bgcolor="#c0c0c0" valign="top">1939</td><td>40</td><td>4-3572652</td><td rowspan="6" bgcolor="#c0c0c0" valign="top">1940</td><td>40</td><td>4-3786214</td></tr></tbody></table>So your 3693789 is a 1939 engine in my opinion. The head should not have a manifold stud after no 8 cylinder. 1939 is the only year this last stud is is missing (to close to firewall so Buick thought)

As matter interest your engine is about half way between 2 Aust 39's I know of. (43687569 & 43702746) Based on that expect your car has the short chassis

The chassis number should be on a 1/2" x 3" plate riveted to chassis near the starter motor.

The ever helpful & knowledgeable Dave Corbin "Early Buick numbers guy" will give you information on your car from these numbers

Trim 794 is Tan bedford cord

Paint 533 is Zion Maroon (the best color in my view)

(we like photos !)

Edited by 1939_buick
"manifold" added (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi,

When I saw your screen name on your post, I immediately thought, "I wonder if he has a Stearns-Knight?" Lo and behold, you DO!!!

My to-do with Stearns-Knight is periferal a best. Mrs Jesse Stearns, widow of the Stearns of the car fame, was a friend of my mother in Cleveland. Both had a deep interest in handweaving, and I recall that my mother both learned and taught a lot from and to Jesse. I met Jesse only a couple of times, and I believe I have a piece of her handweaving work. Good memories.

Small world....

--Tom

Wow, that's neat. I would have liked to heard some of their car stories! I'll bet she drove a lot of Stearns.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The first digit should be a 4. That could be N. W was used on Canadian engines. One of my 39 engines has a badly stamped W

from Team Buick engine numbers start at

<TABLE cellPadding=3 bgColor=#ffffff border=0><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=top bgColor=#c0c0c0 rowSpan=6>1939</TD><TD>40</TD><TD>4-3572652</TD><TD vAlign=top bgColor=#c0c0c0 rowSpan=6>1940</TD><TD>40</TD><TD>4-3786214</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>So your 3693789 is a 1939 engine in my opinion. The head should not have a stud after no 8 cylinder. 1939 is the only year this last stud is is missing (to close to firewall so Buick thought)

As matter interest your engine is about half way between 2 Aust 39's I know of. (43687569 & 43702746) Based on that expect your car has the short chassis

The chassis number should be on a 1/2" x 3" plate riveted to chassis near the starter motor.

The ever helpful & knowledgeable Dave Corbin "Early Buick numbers guy" will give you information on your car from these numbers

Trim 794 is Tan bedford cord

Paint 533 is Zion Maroon (the best color in my view)

(we like photos !)

The car is maroon with cloth interior, so that is matching up so far.

Chassis number is 33537996.

My son, with better eyes, thinks the character before the engine number is more like a W, punched heavier on the right, with the left side not really there, but neither of us are positive.

Would the head stud be visible without pulling the valve cover?

I'll get some pictures soon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest DaveCorbin

Dear Dave:

The engine number you give was built around the first of Feb. 1939. Yout car was built at Linden (the L prefix of the body number).

The frame number plate will start with a 3 (Linden plant code) and will probably be around 3,500,000. In other words 3 3500000. See the small tag on top of the right rail just behind the battery for this.

Regards, Dave Corbin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dave:

The frame number is 33537996, it seems to be in line with what you thought.

The Engine Number starts with tilted 'N' or incomplete 'W' followed by 3693789. What do you think that first character really is? and does it sound correct?

post-41497-14313832781_thumb.jpg

Edited by sleeve-valve
Added Picture (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Dave,

Re: Mrs Jesse Stearns

The only car story I recall Jesse ever relating was the advice that if you ever let your sleeve-valved engine run low on oil, the sleeve valves would be terribly damaged. Presumably the engine would burn whatever oil was left, leaving clouds and billows of blue smoke. A pretty major repair would follow.

Jesse seemed to think that this was a negative feature of the car... I, of course, think it is one of the charming features of such a classic car. One to be avoided, but charming.

--Tom

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Corrected my post above. Should not have the back no 8 cylinder manifold stud

Here's a picture of the Driver's side rear of the head. There is no stud behind the rear exh port, there is no bolt either, but there is an empty hole for a bolt or stud. From the scratches on the firewall, it looks like someone has been in there recently. Should the hole be there, but for a bolt instead of a stud?

post-41497-143138327814_thumb.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is no stud behind the rear exh port, there is no bolt either, but there is an empty hole for a bolt or stud. From the scratches on the firewall, it looks like someone has been in there recently. Should the hole be there, but for a bolt instead of a stud?
Looks like W for Walkerville, Canada. Stamped like one my engines as attached poor quality photo (in New Zealand) I have seem W referred to on Canadian built 1939 ex UK. Guess its had a replacement engine some time in the last 70 years.
Here's a picture of the Driver's side rear of the head. There is no stud behind the rear exh port, there is no bolt either, but there is an empty hole for a bolt or stud. From the scratches on the firewall, it looks like someone has been in there recently. Should the hole be there, but for a bolt instead of a stud?
Is the head tapped for a stud ? Somewhere in my records has written down casting number (which is not the part number) for my 39 engines. Attached is an good image of a 1939 exh manifold. Note this is np provision for a stud at number 8.

If its not leaking I would not touch it. Can be hard to get the manifolds to seal well.

post-51977-143138327861_thumb.jpg

post-51977-143138327863_thumb.jpg

Edited by 1939_buick (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looks like W for Walkerville, Canada. Stamped like one my engines as attached poor quality photo (in New Zealand) I have seem W referred to on Canadian built 1939 ex UK. Guess its had a replacement engine some time in the last 70 years.

Is the head tapped for a stud ? Somewhere in my records has written down casting number (which is not the part number) for my 39 engines. Attached is an good image of a 1939 exh manifold. Note this is np provision for a stud at number 8.

If its not leaking I would not touch it. Can be hard to get the manifolds to seal well.

I cannot tell for sure if the hole is tapped, it is gooped up pretty good with the red gasket sealer. The head seems to be rounded around the back at that point, not flush with the rear of the manifold. I'm thinking the head is probably 39 but not the manifold. It's not leaking and it's running fine, so I agree, I will not touch it.

Based on the W engine number, it sounds like the engine probably isn't original. It runs well so I'm not touching it now, but I'll be on the lookout for a more correct original one that I can rebuild over time and eventually put in. Maybe a rodder has one he's throwing out?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Based on the W engine number, it sounds like the engine probably isn't original. It runs well so I'm not touching it now, but I'll be on the lookout for a more correct original one that I can rebuild over time and eventually put in. Maybe a rodder has one he's throwing out?
As post above in my view it is a 1939 engine. Just that is was first used in Canadian car. It it an't broke don't fit it
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's a picture of the Driver's side rear of the head. There is no stud behind the rear exh port, there is no bolt either, but there is an empty hole for a bolt or stud. From the scratches on the firewall, it looks like someone has been in there recently. Should the hole be there, but for a bolt instead of a stud?

On ebay.com now is a 1939 series 40 head 1938 1939 1940 1941 BUICK Head Assemby small engine: eBay Motors (item 200534340181 end time Oct-29-10 19:00:00 PDT)

A good image of the head without the last stud

post-51977-143138333177_thumb.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...