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Small Block Chevy Identification

By Dave
1 year 1 month 15 days ago

You have a new project, and start checking out the motor. You know it’s a small block Chevy, but you want to know a bit more about it. Is it the original for the vehicle? Has the transmission been changed? Let’s find out!

All engines are stamped with an ID code showing plant code, production date, and suffix code. The suffix tells you application, original model, Engine RPO, and HP and transmission that were originally mated to the engine. On a Small Block Chevrolet, this stamp is located on a flat pad in front of the passenger side cylinder head, usually hidden by the alternator.

So, let’s make up a fake engine ID code and then decode it using the tables from

Engine ID Stamp: V0801CML (This ID is completely made up)

The first letter of the stamp tells us where the motor was assembled. In this case “V” stands for Flint, Michigan. The numbers that follow are the actual assembly date, in this case August 1rst. The “CML” that follows is the suffix code.

The suffix codes basically tell you what the motor was originally intended for. Of the thousands of available suffix codes, this one shows 4 possible applications, ranging from a 1975 Camaro with 155HP to a 1980 Z-28 with 190 HP.

The folks over at have managed to compile one of the most complete suffix code databases online currently that we could find, so if you want to dig into your small block a bit more, give them a look.

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