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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I just bought my first classic pony and am so stoked! I'll get her up on a lift Wednesday for a first real good look with my mechanic.

I'm wondering what to look for to see if the 289 is original or not. How to tell? Should I be looking for a serial number, if so where about? The 3-speed transmission I'm guessing that's original, I've heard you don't see those much anymore?

Any advice on what else to look for besides rust?
She was over a pit when I first had a good two hour look before buying - she's solid!

Thanks,
Ron
 

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Beautiful car... Really slick paint on that pony.
 
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There are casting codes you can find to see if the engine's build date falls within reasonable proximity, but the serial numbers thing was more of a GM deal. You are right about the 3 speed, too. If they hopped it up or hotrodded it, you probably would have a 4V and a different transmission! My bet is that it's all original. If it's not, then someone just tried to make it exactly what it was originally, because a 2V 289 is not a 'go to' motor for performance despite its excellent performance potential.

If it's a 5 bolt setup for your transmission and engine, then it's a sure bet it was built before August in '64, so that's a pretty strong indicator it's the original one. They went to a 6 bolt pattern after that, and the early 231/260/289 pattern is neither common nor especially sought after except for concourse restorations. The later 6-bolt setup is very common indeed, as it was used all the way till 2001, and those blocks are easy to find as grains of sand on a beach. Someone interested in function over originality would just grab a newer roller cam 5.0 and put it in there if the original motor had a problem.

Please don't think for one second that I am 'belittling' your car for its 2V, 3-speed manual, and 'early' bolt pattern or something - all of those features are unique, and on a nice car like yours, they really make it special in a crowd of cars that have been torn up and rebuilt with 'go fast goodies'. It's sort of a time capsule! Further, I bet it runs pretty good just the way it is. =)

Nice ride, and grats!!
 

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Nice car!
 
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If it were a HiPo 289 you might have a chance proving its original since they had numbers. For other engines you can only prove that it could NOT have been original. If the casting date codes don't match up with when your car was built then they can't be original. If those dates are halfway close to what they should be then no one can prove that it was not original. A history of the car and its owners is more likely to indicate how original it might be. One of ours came from a co-worker who bought the car new and my brother was there on the day it was delivered; its all original. The other one came from a CA military base used car lot with the wrong engine, etc., and any part on it is questionable.
 

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There are casting codes you can find to see if the engine's build date falls within reasonable proximity, but the serial numbers thing was more of a GM deal. You are right about the 3 speed, too. If they hopped it up or hotrodded it, you probably would have a 4V and a different transmission! My bet is that it's all original. If it's not, then someone just tried to make it exactly what it was originally, because a 2V 289 is not a 'go to' motor for performance despite its excellent performance potential.

If it's a 5 bolt setup for your transmission and engine, then it's a sure bet it was built before August in '64, so that's a pretty strong indicator it's the original one. They went to a 6 bolt pattern after that, and the early 231/260/289 pattern is neither common nor especially sought after except for concourse restorations. The later 6-bolt setup is very common indeed, as it was used all the way till 2001, and those blocks are easy to find as grains of sand on a beach. Someone interested in function over originality would just grab a newer roller cam 5.0 and put it in there if the original motor had a problem.

Please don't think for one second that I am 'belittling' your car for its 2V, 3-speed manual, and 'early' bolt pattern or something - all of those features are unique, and on a nice car like yours, they really make it special in a crowd of cars that have been torn up and rebuilt with 'go fast goodies'. It's sort of a time capsule! Further, I bet it runs pretty good just the way it is. =)

Nice ride, and grats!!
Thanks! All indications I currently have are strongly pointing towards original, I think you're right. There's only two things I can see that have been done, 1) previous owner said he put the Holley carburetor on two years ago and 2) somewhere along her journey from LA to Finland, someone murdered her dash for an after market stereo and then... Someone else put a RetroSound stereo in, modifying it back again :( Horrid... Defuses obviously had no clue what they had but OK, one could argue it's part of her history. I can't complain with the carb mod, she gets 18mpg! Sooooo close to the 20mpg factory spec; quite rare mpg according to what I've been reading.

She goes on the lift tomorrow, I'll check the bolt pattern, look for casting codes and post back here what I find.

You nailed it - Since she's in such good shape I'm leaning towards originality but if the original engine is not there then - game on if there's a problem! But if it IS original, then comes the rub... Deciding same money for a rebuild as for or new engine and 4/5 speed trans...

If it is original (purrs like a tiger kitten at the moment), I'm interested in knowing more about the 289's "performance potential" you mentioned.

I don't think you're 'belittling' her at all! I'm looking for solid, open advice and I appreciate your comments. I've loved these cars for as long as I can remember, 5 years old, always in the back seat :D I'm totally over the moon I've taken decades to find the right one, in no hurry and hit the jackpot (so far) - I love the uniqueness over "go fast goodies" and her "time capsule" personality!
 

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If you decide to improve your car's performance without making irreversible changes, I think the best and simplest thing you could do is put away your old cast iron 2V manifold, and put on a nice aftermarket aluminum 4V manifold. For a 289 with stock heads, the Performer 289 intake is actually a good choice. A 500 CFM Summit M-series carburetor would match it very well, and shockingly, your mileage will probably go up, as well as performance. Annular boosters and vacuum secondaries for a street car are really hard to beat.

Beyond that, headers are a great performance improvement, but you will need to modify your exhaust system to bolt up to them. A good set of Tri-Y headers are fantastic for street use, while long-tubes will give you better top-end, but not as much midrange. Don't waste your time with shorties. You would gain very little for the money you spend. Dual exhaust with a crossover (either H or X will work fine) makes a surprising difference, compared to single exhaust. 2" is fine for stock, 2 1/4" is better for modest builds, and if you're making over 300 honest horsepower to the rear tires (hello 347 stroker?), you'll want 2 1/2".

After that, heads are the next (and biggest) performance improvement you can make. If stock appearance is very important, you can have a professional port your heads, and improve their performance potential by perhaps 30-40 horsepower if they know what they're doing. For about the same money, you could get good aftermarket aluminum heads that would probably gain 60-70 horsepower, or spend a little more and get some AFR or Twisted Wedge heads that could potentially add 80-100 horsepower.

Many of the gains are dependent on each other, however. It's very important to match parts. If you plan to ever go to AFR 165 heads, for example, you'd want to skip the Performer 289, and go right to a Performer RPM or Weiand Stealth manifold, in order to support their airflow. If you were leaving the restrictive stock logs on, it would also put a significant damper on your car's performance with the rest of those parts. You will only be 'fast' if all the parts are designed to work together. It's important to decide early, and stick with your build plan, if you can, rather than buying random "Well this is a good part!" things.

If the engine's originality is not as important to you as fun, it's very easy and cheap to get a late model roller cam 5.0 HO out of a 98-2001 Explorer or Mountaineer, upgrade the valvesprings and cam, put your old 289 accessories (timing cover, oil pan and pickup, air cleaner and valve covers on it, along with a 600 CFM Summit carb and good 4V intake), and then pretend it's stock while enjoying around 270 hp to the rear tires. Your stock 2v engine was rated at 200 horsepower, but actually put out about 150 horses when new, and you can be sure a few horses have escaped the ol' horsepower corral. Few people would be able to see the difference under your hood, but you'd sure notice the difference when you step on it.

Since you'd have to put in a different transmission if you switch engines, you would probably want a Tremec 5 speed. They are a bit frail if you like to power shift though, and additionally, they need different rear gears in order to make good use of the overdrive. You might consider a good toploader 4 speed instead, and leave the rear end gears stock. Those things are a blast to hammer on, and honestly, I'd pick a toploader over a Tremec any day for feel, fun, and reliability. (I know, I'm a dinosaur)

Best wishes!
 

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If Im not mistaken aren't the last 6 or 8 digits,in the number thats stamped into the top/rear of the engine block on the flat pad that sits directly below the lower intake,a partial vin number that can help you verify if the current engine is the one that was originally installed in the car at the factory?? If so,you may be able to check that number to see if it matches a portion of your vin number.If it matches,that would indicate your block is numbers matching.
 
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