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Pete Phillips

Question for 1963 Wildcat experts--engine color

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Late last year, two friends and I bought a 1963 Wildcat 4-speed convertible (see "Me and My Buick" section), only to discover that it turns out to be one of very few 425-equipped cars, which were available late in the 1963 model year. It is also a posi-traction car, but very rusty from Connecticut. The engine is painted Buick green, and this appears to be the engine's original paint. The engine code stamped on it is JW-63. It also has the car's VIN stamped on the engine, so is the original engine to the car. I know that "JW" means it is a 425.

Last week, I took delivery of a very solid, non-running, 1963 Wildcat 2-dr. hardtop parts car (automatic trans.), with the intention of using the rust-free body parts to restore the convertible. The parts car has no interior and no side glass, and has been sitting out in the California desert for about 30 years, so not easily restorable. Also, the engine is stuck. Today, I decided to check the engine code on this car. Would you believe, another JW-code engine? This is a 425! It has the car's VIN stamped on the block, so it is a numbers-matching car with its original engine. However, this engine is marked JW-654, and it is painted silver. There is no question that this is the original paint on the engine. It is a 27,000 mile car that was parked in 1976 (no pedal wear, no heel pad wear, no carpet wear, very tight door handle buttons, etc.). No one had ever cleaned the grease and crud off of the engine to check the engine code. I know the 1963 Riviera engines were painted silver, but this is a Wildcat. Does anyone have knowledge of other 425s in full-sized 1963 Buicks, and what is the reason for the different colors? If anyone can de-code the numbers following the "JW" stampings, I would like to know.

Pete Phillips, BCA #7338

Sherman, Texas

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Hey Pete,

I am just taking a guess here because, like you, I didn't know the 425 was available on the Wildcat in 63. It is my understanding that all big series cars had the green engine. Riv's got silver. Your parts car may have had a silver engine because the 425's were (probably) all assembled and painted together. The convertible's engine could have been done later in the year perhaps, when Buick knew that the 425 could be sold in the Wildcat, thus making it green?

Speculation time...

I would think someone who special ordered the car could have had two ways of thinking.

a) Bring attention to the bigger engine "this ain't stock it's a 425" paint it silver

B) Sleeper time "Naw it's just a regular engine"

Reality time...

Probably they (Buick) weren't worried about it as long as it was painted.

I would personally go for green.

Just my thoughts, I've been wrong before.

Mike

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Guest my3buicks

Interesting topic Pete - but regardless of which or why one is painted silver and the other green, if they are both original paint on the engines then the Green one should be left as it came from the factory for whatever reason.

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I'm with Mike on the speculation-Automatic car's engine silver, produced with the Riv engines?

4-speed green because of special production needs?

The only other 63 425 4-speed I remember from Flint (2003) was green too.

Ted

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When did the 425 CI become red? I think my 1966 Wildcat GS had a red 425 CI. Or am I just mistaking, and it was never red? I haven't had that car in many years and can't locate any pictures of the engine. I was younger and dumber at the time to take many pictures.

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I think 66 was the only red year.

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Dear Pete:

From Denver.

I would think that JW is a 425 code, followed by an engine sequence number. This would mean that our convertible is engine # 63 and our parts car is engine #425. They're probably different by the crankshaft (4 speed car needs a pilot bearing for the manual transmission). I would not be surprised to find out that color is how Buick kept from making assembly mistakes.

Things going well in Ohio at the farm.

Regards, Dave Corbin

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