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Author Topic: How to identify a 289 Cobra engine?  (Read 2933 times)
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mscroggie
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« on: April 16, 2010, 10:40:15 AM »

I have a sports car with a 289 engine that supposedly came from a totaled 1965 Cobra.  Is there a way to identify it as a Shelby Cobra engine by serial number?  If so, where is the engine SN located and where can I verify it?  Thanks.

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rr64
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« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2010, 12:39:56 PM »


Starting with the engine block and working backwards would be difficult as there is no known cross reference that is published for either Cobras, Fairlanes, or very early HP289 Mustangs. Owners with CSX2201 through CSX2589 roadsters can go forward because either the block number (Ford production engine) or engine number (Shelby engine number for engines that didn't have block serial numbers) was normally included in the invoice between SAI and the dealer that ordered the car and usually stamped on the warrantee plate on the right side foot box. Those owners can compare the serial numbers on the original invoice and or foot box tag to the number stamped on the left side of their blocks. Without factory invoice information or original tag (many have been replaced without including an engine number) data you would be extremely unlikely to match up any block to any chassis.


Dan


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Wanted: Original twelve point counter bore cap screws SAI used on Cobra exhaust manifolds.
Dan Case
acman63
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« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2010, 12:48:08 PM »

why dont you start by verifying to the forum what you have with casting numbers,  date codes etc.  process of elimination so to speak

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Cobra Ned
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« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2010, 08:51:01 PM »

Or, look at the several, small raised sections on the block just under the spark plugs front and rear - they're called "bosses" - and see if one has a number stamped into it. Then let me know what that number is, and if it came out of a Cobra beyond the early cars maybe it can be identified.

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rr64
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« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2010, 05:20:22 AM »

Or, look at the several, small raised sections on the block just under the spark plugs front and rear - they're called "bosses" - and see if one has a number stamped into it. Then let me know what that number is, and if it came out of a Cobra beyond the early cars maybe it can be identified.

If you don't recognize what Ned means, each side of the block will have two partially machined protrusions near the deck surfaces; that is a boss near all four corners. These tooling bosses were used to support blocks during some of the production processes.

Most HP289s in Cobras were five bolt models that carried Ford issued serial numbers for the blocks (not the engines, reference Mr. Mannel’s research on HP289s, blocks were numbered before being used in engine assemblies) on their left side. The front left boss got two letter characters and the rear left boss got a sequential number up to four numeric characters long. There were thousands of Ford serialized five bolt HP289 blocks; numbers got up into the mid six thousand territory. (In round numbers only about 7 to 8% of the Ford serialized five bolt HP289 blocks made were installed in new Cobras at most. That does not count those they used up in race cars or sold retail.) The numeric part of the number was also typically hand painted on the rear of the block by Ford. SAI adopted this number as the engine number. The ancillary chassis identification tags (what you would call warrantee plates on American cars) on CSX2201 and later cars had a place for an engine number. SAI installers were not consistent in their stamping of ‘engine numbers’ into what Cobra owners call ‘foot box tags’. Sometimes they stamped the entire number, alpha and numeric characters, and sometimes they only stamped in the numeric characters.

There were exceptions. At least sixty one engines (based on examples known right now) acquired from Ford assembled in late August 1964 or later were different than all those that came before them.  All known engines, except one, in cars with manual transmissions were five bolt engines built to different specifications than earlier engines. All the engines in cars that originally got C4 automatic transmissions that I know about came with six bolt HP289 engines that were themselves different that what Mustangs recieved.  These late engines headed to SAI instead of a Ford vehicle assembly plant did not have Ford engine block serial numbers.  (Ford did not serialize six bolt HP289 blocks before the engines were assembled, reference Mr.Mannel again.) These late engines received SAI assigned engine numbers. These SAI engine numbers were stamped on the left rear tooling bosses and on foot box tags of Cobras they went into.

Dan


« Last Edit: April 18, 2010, 05:41:07 AM by rr64 » Logged

Wanted: Original twelve point counter bore cap screws SAI used on Cobra exhaust manifolds.
Dan Case
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« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2010, 07:22:38 PM »

Dan, I greatly appreciate the clarification!

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griffin289trips
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« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2010, 03:26:19 PM »

My friend who owns a early Griffith powered by a 5 bolt 289 hipo built in Dec. 63 has a consecutive build number?, I believe that is how Bob Mannell  is describbing them, in the mid 3000 # area.  His Griffith has 14,000 original miles and appears to have never been rebuilt or tampered with.  The owner has never pulled the trans to verify the written #s on the back of the block. 
Any Cobras, Fairlanes, Griffiths with 5 bolt h.p. blocks built around the end of 1963 should have a consecutive build number in the 3000 to 5000 area stamped on the driver side rear boss.
One other interesting photo pictured in Car Life Mustang Guide, printed in 1965 in the chapter on how Shelby builds his 289 competition engines shows a pallet of 289 blocks.  A couple of them have numbers written in what looks like white chalk or paint on their rear.  The fact that they are bare blocks indicate that they are most likely going to be built into competition engines.  After that who knows where they ended up.  Since I am not an expert please don't take this info as fact. 
It's just one more area that can help verify how genuine a engine or Cobra is.  I gave a wide number sequence for the HIPO engine date so non-hipo 5 bolt engines don't start getting the new repro hipo main bearing caps and a stamp on the boss to sell them as genuine HIPO's.
Anyone looking for more small block Ford engine details should purchase Bob Mannell's book on the small block Ford.  It's priceless.  Bob

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