altered engine number

General topics, not covered elsewhere, of all things Packard.
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charlieshot
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2014 3:54 pm

altered engine number

Post by charlieshot » Thu Jul 03, 2014 6:39 am

anyone out there? I have a 1953 patrician, the engine number was changed at some time to (N367670 cal). I know it should be a 327 9 bearing for this car. with a usb camera I could see that the #3 was stamped over a #6. however the letter N and CAL are confusing. does anyone have a good idea as to where or who could have altered this engine?? the used car lot from which I bought it has closed and they had no info for the previous owner. the casting number on the head is 426408 any help at all is greatly appreciated charlieshot

PACKARDAPL
Posts: 193
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 7:07 am
Location: SE Missouri

Re: altered engine number

Post by PACKARDAPL » Thu Jul 03, 2014 7:04 am

This could be a couple of things: Cal =probably California N= new # --new series #???? Casting # same for all.
Does this match your registration documents?? If it does then:

1 The CAL suggests that it may be an assigned number to this motor that was restamped at some post 1953 date
with the CAL & N Identification to tie the change to California DMV's paperwork. Then could have gone out of state.

2. Some states that titled to the engine number --rather than the body number-- would permit the "original" motor number
of a car to be stamped on another replacement motor to preserve the "chain of title" when the old motor was damaged or was
beyond repair. Perhaps California permitted this--their registrations followed the cars--rather than the owners

3. Some of those states would even go as far as having the number of a replacement motor ground off and re-stamped with
the cars original one, so Title # will match. Apparently "blessed" & inspected by the state DMV. I've seen one of these (1940-to 1955)

4 The over-stamp # could have been a factory error when they did it to match proper registration numbers on the motor. The other
stamps later

5. This could have been a replacement engine and had a non-sequential assigned number or previous title number added.

6. A lesser likely event: but possible altered number which might involve fraud or a stolen vehicle at some time-maybe in 50s.

Howard56
Posts: 1163
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2012 11:35 am

Re: altered engine number

Post by Howard56 » Thu Jul 03, 2014 8:56 am

The number format with the CAL has come up a few times at the packardinfo forum and while I don't think anyone knows 100% anymore I believe PACKARDAPL has the answer. California was one of the states that registered by motor number. I believe the consensus of discussion was that since a replacement engine would have had no or an incorrect number a new one would have been assigned by DMV. We don't know for sure the N stood for new but since Packard never used the N it is logical DMV would have assigned something not in use by another year or engine. There has also been discussion that factory replacements might have had the N but that doesn't seem consistent with other documentation that indicates S for service was more likely. The CAL has been thought by many to mean it was directed by or done in California. The number is the question. Was it an old sequence number or was it arbitrary. There is discussion on other cars that would point to both. It could have been a used block and If the old 6 indicating a 9 main was stamped over it would seem to be an arbitrary number. If in fact it is a 5 main engine, that opens up a whole other line of questions. The casting number on the head doesn't mean much because heads were a factory approved interchangeable item between engines and years to change compression ratios. The block casting number and date down low on the block usually at the rear and sometimes on both sides will at least give you the range as to year the engine was mfg. I don't believe we have found a casting number correlation between CID or mains on the inline 8s as has been determined to be consistent on V8s.

There is one visual indicator on the outside that should tell if it is 9 or 5 main. The main oil gallery running the length of the engine below the manifolds and just above the oil pump will have plugged passages. The number of plugs is an indication of bearings. I can't remember if there is a plug directly above the oil pump for that bearing so possibly one less than number of bearings.

charlieshot
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2014 3:54 pm

Re: altered engine number

Post by charlieshot » Thu Jul 03, 2014 2:47 pm

Thank you :D that info is a big help. I can contact cal dmv to see what is on record.

Howard56
Posts: 1163
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2012 11:35 am

Re: altered engine number

Post by Howard56 » Thu Jul 03, 2014 3:08 pm

I wish you luck and let us know if you succeed. They might have some info on their old procedures they would share but doubt if you can get much more if even that. Our Calif DMV is sometimes quite dysfunctional. One thing old car owners usually run into is no information on file. Cars not registered for X years (think it is 5) are scrubbed from the database and with all the stalkers and photogs that used to get movie star addresses via car registrations, they won't give out squat as far as prior owners even if they do have it.

charlieshot
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2014 3:54 pm

Re: altered engine number

Post by charlieshot » Thu Jul 03, 2014 9:39 pm

thanks Howard, I will try, but it sounds like you live there and am quite familiar with the process.

charlieshot
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2014 3:54 pm

Re: altered engine number

Post by charlieshot » Fri Jul 04, 2014 9:54 pm

Hey Howard, I found the casting number below the starter on the block as you suggested. 7 21 53, so it was built in 53' that means the factory air is correct since that was not available until July of 53'. also there was a #3 above to the left of the casting number and the letter A centered below the casting number. any idea what those mane?

Howard56
Posts: 1163
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2012 11:35 am

Re: altered engine number

Post by Howard56 » Sat Jul 05, 2014 9:47 am

I wish I could help on the extra casting numbers but there is just not much info available, The July 53 casting date is very late in the run and brings more questions as why a 53 built engine with an N would be possible replacement in a 53 car that should have had an L. It must be a service engine that was stocked and installed later but even so, someone did something catastrophic in what must have been a young car. Is your vehicle ID indicating a very late production car?

You said factory air so a rare beast indeed.. Is it the Frigidaire factory AC complete and hopefully functional and if so, what do the package shelf outlet vents look like. There has been a discussion on whether they should be flat plastic louvers on the shelf or the clear forward facing tubes with air exiting at the headliner level. Parts book only shows the louver type and one part number for both 53-4 yet many have clear tubes. The question is were those tubes original to those cars having them or a retrofit and if a retrofit when did they become available.

charlieshot
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2014 3:54 pm

Re: altered engine number

Post by charlieshot » Sun Jul 06, 2014 12:44 pm

the A/C is the Frigidaire, at this time the car is not running, but the system is complete and the comp.is not frozen. the rear shelf loovers are flat plastic. I have also seen the tubes and thought they were original. this car also has screw holes where the outside visor was installed, so maybe this was a highly optioned car and those two items were taken off. the vin # is 2652-8299 and the theft proof # is <C30562> I do not know how the vin # tells when prod. was

PACKARDAPL
Posts: 193
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 7:07 am
Location: SE Missouri

Re: altered engine number

Post by PACKARDAPL » Sun Jul 06, 2014 2:00 pm

This A/C setup sounds factory. I have a friend who owned a '54 Packard with air for awhile. As he was a Frigidaire Refrigeration tech.
also--he got it going in short order. I believe his had 2 rear package shelf rectangular louvers, with the basic unit just below in the
trunk. It was a VERY GOOD A/C -- after a few minutes of operation, you could literally "hang meat" in the rear seat. Of course this
type unit is a true refrigeration style plant, so you would expect great performance.

The visor was a typical popular option of the time & also a number of cars got them post-delivery--nothing special. Some like them
some don't....could have been original.

Good luck with your Packard.

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