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1937 Buick engine block decode


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Can anyone help decode this block number for my 1937 Buick series 40 Engine that I am restoring. I believe this is a later engine than 37 perhaps a replacement a long time ago or built out of parts from different years. The engine has domed pistons, a 38 valve cover and the bellhouseing has bolts on the inside.

Block PN 1303969

Head PN 1302277-2

Engine Serial# 43463567

Also I am in need of decodeing this data plate. The car is a 1937 buisness coupe with dual sidemounts and repainted black. I'm not sure what the original color was.

Data Plate

1937 Mod

Style No. 37-4427B

Body No. C1479

Trim No. 300

Paint No. 500


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Thanks Guffin for the double check.. In my GM motors manual I read the stamped serial number as a early 38 engine, but I wasn't positive if I was reading the numbers correctly. I wonder if it is possible that the engine was replaced in 1938 because the original was bad, or a lot later? This engine appeared to me to have never been removed from the car in the last 50 years or so, and the old motor mounts were in really bad shape.

I purchased this car about a year ago and I thought it was pretty much original until I got into reserching it and found it had been restored once possibly in the 60's. I'm only 27 years old and have had no previous experience with old Buicks. It drove nice and everything worked, but it smoked, so I'm rebuilding the engine now. Since it is a 38 engine and not original I might put dual carbs on it and convert to 12V.

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I can confirm what Guffin stated, it appears the engine is from a 1938 Special. Engine numbers ran from 4-3396937 to 4-3572651 in 1938 Specials.

It could be a replacement engine, but I believe most of them had the letters RE stamped ahead of the engine number. Anything is possible though, maybe it was dealer installed.

I can't find data on Head and block numbers.

Style No. 37-4427B is for a 2Dr. Business Coupe. (13,742 produced.)

Body No. C1479 means your car was the 1,479th Business Coupe built at the South Gate California Plant.

Paint No. 500 is for Imperial Black.

Trim No. 300 is for Tan Bedford Cord.

To determine the approximate build date the frame serial number is needed. It's located on the frame, just back of the right front wheel.

Do yourself a big favor and join the 1937-1938 Buick Club. The bimonthly magazine (The Torque Tube) printed by the club is outstanding. Buy the back issues if you can. There is an immense amount of technical information included within the pages. Here's the link.

[color:"red"]1937-1938 Buick Club

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Frame # 3185502

Thanks Mr Montalvo for the info. That data plate interpretation helps a lot and answers a some of my questions. Like I found tan paint under the front fenders but only black on the body. So someone liked dual sidemounts and put them on the car from a donor. Probably most buisness coupes had standard fenders. I plan on joining the BCA right away. I'll have some more qestions for the buick experts in the future.

I'm useing the photo of your car for reference. It looks like a great restoration.

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Frame #3185502 belongs to the frame number block 3180138-3198138.

This number block was assigned at Flint Michigan in July 1937.

Your frame number indicates it was produced about the second week of July, 1937 at the Flint Michigan Plant.

In early 1937 there was a strike at the Fisher Body plant at Flint, that may explain why your car has a South Gate body and a Flint frame.

A few years ago two gentlemen in the 1937-1938 Buick Club (Terry Dunham and David Corbin) did extensive research on frame numbers, their results are where my information comes from.

They do not mention any sharing of bodies and frames between the plants, but they do mention the strike at Fisher so I suppose it's possible.

Maybe you can E-mail them care/of the'37-'38 Club to see if they can shed any light on your car's origins.

[color:"red"]1937-1938 Buick Club[color:"red"]

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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...

Dear Eric:

Since my name got mentioned, I thought I'd jump in and ask for more information on your car. All the information which you have been given appears to be correct. However, the Fisher strike really scrambled Buick's internal information around from Jan. 1937 to the start of 1938 production in August 1937. Terry and I tested about 20 cars on which he had the exact day the body was built at Fisher and the data shown in the Torque Tube article would uniformly give a car build date result of 4 to 8 days later. This data was derived from 160 actual cars which 37-38 club members sent us the plate data on their cars. So far as I know, there were no frames shipped around between plants, but stranger things than that appear to have happened in early 1937. If your car was built at Southgate, both the body and the frame number have a letter prefix. Starting in 1938, the frame prefix was 1 for Flint, 2 for Southgate,California, and 3 for Linden, new Jersey. Another possibility is that someone put a nice California body on a Flint frame at restoration, as you mentioned the dual sidemounts seemed to be added later.

Regards, Dave Corbin

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