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3412 Views 18 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Cptnbob
I just went and paid a down payment to hold an engine I found. It is a '59 Pontiac 389 and was advertised with '61 no. 504306 Super Duty Heads. These are not in real great demand but they are also very hard to find. For those that need them they are rare. I hope that if the original builder knew enough to use the Super Duty heads then he may have been savvy enough to use more Super Duty parts inside. I'll know more on Monday after I get it home and torn down. I may find nothing more than just the heads as anything special but I hope the guy did more and I can find some rare parts. Supposedly the guy put it into a '58 Pontiac and did race it so I have high hopes. Hope, hope, hope. Could help fund more parts for my '63. Mark L
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Congrats! Is this to resell and finance the '63, or will you use any part of it?
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLL is what I thought of with your title. Nice score. An SD389 would be a great engine for a gasser, too. Didn't they have tri-power not dual 4's? I know Caddy's and Chryslers had 2x4 on their big engines in the 50's and early 60's.

Tons of torque in those.

Definitely for resale and investment in the '63. From the info I could find they were used with a four barrel or tri-power. Pontiac did play with dual fours during those years too. But I'm hoping that any Super Duty parts I find will sell. The block, unless it's a 4 bolt main, is nothing special. If so I'll keep it for a project in the future. This is almost identical to the '60 block I'm using in the '63. They were cast much stouter pre '61. More nickle, thicker main webs and crankcase walls. The standard Pontiacs use an open lifter valley and when used with aggresive cams will usually break out the lifter bore castings. These blocks have thicker metal even on these lifter bores and resist breakage. So it is a great block to base a higher horsepower build on. Which is why I used my '60 block. If it has a SD forged 389 crank then that would really make my day. The heads are no use to me so I hope to recover at least the cost of buying the engine. That will give me a choice keeping some of the other parts for projects if they are SD parts. I still want to build a higher rpm motor. The block and if it has a SD forged crank, would really give me a base for that. I'd destroke the crank as much as possible to small block chevy rod journal size, using long SBC rods for possibly about 360 cubes. Good pistons and good heads. It would be fun to build it for the gasser and run it with a good liberty four or five speed and good clutch. Bringing it off the line like the old Gassers and Modified Production engines. But who knows. We'll know more Monday. I doubt my luck will stretch that far. LOL. Mark L
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Mark it's always a plus to know what you're looking at. Gives you that slight edge when no one else notices them........ Hope the block is filled with treasures. ;)
You're definitely well learned on Pontiacs Mark! I wouldn't know what I was looking at to even determine good ones!
Believe me, it is a learned talent. May years of reading and looking at parts. And a few (yeah right) wrong purchases. But thanks guys. I'm getting itchy to open the present tomorrow. I've got every thing on my body crossed (I really won't go into detail, LOL) that it's full of gold and unobtainum parts, heh. Just like my engine making 3000 horsepower right up until I start it, this engine will be everything I ever hoped for---right up until I open it. Mark L
^^ Words of wisdom. My car is an 11 second car right up to the moment I get to the line. :)

Just a side question. Do you ever feel weird buying something like your engine knowing that you could sell part of it more than the price of the whole? I just did that with the '56 Pontiac that Vall listed in another post. It wasn't Vall's car, it was on CL here in PDX. I got the car cheap and am selling the front bench seat for more than I got the car for. '55-'56 split bench seat cores are crazy expensive up here. I feel a bit guilty, but the guy was happy to get the cash for what he had and I will get a '56 Star Chief for basically free. Not sure if it will get gassed but I do have a Pontiac engine and trans sitting in the shop with no place to call home. Wish that I had a 455 to put in it. Wouldn't need much to be a quick car.

I hope your exploratory surgery goes well Mark. My luck it would be filled with broken rods. Your luck, probably SD parts. Hoping for the best.
hey Mark if you want to takea road trip come upto NJ i can get you a complete 67 gto 400 all original down to the orig. aircleaner with 76k miles on it and its still in the GOAT
Well this is the tale of the day. I got the motor home and started dismantling. The heads are theearly Super Duty heads. They appear to be totally untouched. Which adds to their value.

We found the block to be a 4 bolt '59 casting. Got excited as we pulled the first rod/piston and we discovered it had the good Super Duty rods but with pressed pins and cast pistons. Then pulled the rest of the rods/pistons. Then we hoped to find a forged crank but it turned out to be cast. Plus it was showing some repaired damage and normal performance work. Something had broken (rod?) and banged up a counterweight that had been ground to clean up the damage. Some extra weight for balancing was welded in the original drilled balancing holes. And the crank is .010/.010. Took a lunch break all excited about the heads, the four bolt mains, and the good rods. Then when we returned to do more work Keith goes, Oh OH. He was looking at one of the other rod/piston assemblies that we removed after finding the good SD rod, and we discovered that the rest of the rods were a hodge podge collection of the older less desirable rubber rods. So it turned out that we had only one good SD rod. Then Keith (damn you Keith) points at the number 7 cylinder and says, "sleeved". Sure enough. Although the pistons showed an .020 over bore, number seven was sleeved. So whatever broke must have done that damage too. The engine was equiped with solid lifters and cam. But there are no telling stampings or marks denoting what the cam is. You can see I got a nice set of Cal Custom rocker covers too.

Mark L
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Sir Markus MysteriousPonchoStuffFinder.

Sorry the engine is not ALL you hoped it was.

What you just went thru and found out is what I am wondering about the SBC I bought earlier this year.

I have thought about taking it to someplace that could check it out and possibly dyno it, etc..... as I have said before .... with all I have been told & can see about the engine without tearing it down like you did..... looks VERY promising.

Hopefully I will get lucky.
Bummer Mark, but not all bad with those valve covers!
My friend Keith did some searching in his library of Pontiac books and he came up with the original application of the block. The code 859P serial code no. 1764 stamped on the block interprets as ---8--Bonneville, 59--year, P--Pontiac Michigan plant. The 1764 means, it was the 763rd car off of the assembly line for 1959. The build code (1764) starts at 1001 for the code number. Which means the very first car is 1002, then the second one is 1003 and on. That is why this block was in the 763rd car off the line. With just those numbers I can get a print out of the build sheet and window sticker of that car that would tell me everything that was on the original car. It would be interesting to know.
The heads have turned out to be the star of the find. They were the first purpose made Super Duty program heads. There is nothing really great performance wise about them but they are a rare casting. They were made for the '61 model year, a point at which they had made changes to the intake bolt and water patterns. But, they were developed and in the 59-60 time frame so the pattern does not fit the '61 model year and up intakes etc. They had to make a specific aluminum intake for it. You can bolt the '55-'60 intakes to the heads but they are not as good of a performance manifold as the specific aluminum Super Duty intake. This engine I found had a stock '58 cast iron intake on it. So who ever built it did not get the aluminum intake or it could have been taken off at some time and replaced with a cheaper intake. But there is a lot of value in the heads and I can always use the block for a good engine project down the road. Although, being a 4 bolt '59 block they are a little rare too and someone may just want it more than I do. Just a note. This block is virtually identical to the block that I sought out and bought to build my turbo motor on. There are some minor differences due to the one year difference and how the two years differed in the way they equiped the two blocks for cooling. But if I had started with this 4 bolt block in th efirst place I ould nto have needed the splayed 4 bolts that I put on my '60 block and it would be almost as strong. I had one gentleman that deals in buying and selling these Super Duty parts tell me that he feels it would not be too far out to expect as much as $1500 for the heads as they came off of the engine. His concern was whether they had been altered. Such as deck cut or ported and from what I have seen, they look completely original and untouched. Which could up the value even more. I want to do a quick cleanup on them to look at their overall condition. This has been fun with all the expectations and then the realities of it all. At least I know I will recover all of my costs and more. So it is a good thing. And maybe it will result in someone finally completing a restoration that otherwise might have stalled waiting for a set of these heads to show up. Mark L
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Well I think I'm going to buy a raffle ticket. I just set up with a buyer for those SD heads. I paid $250 for the entire motor, the heads sold (pending money sent) for $1500. One of those "I never get that kind of good luck stuff", HA!! Well John had a great deal fall into his lap. Now I had a great deal happen. It's time for one of you guys to reap the benefits of this lucky board. If I go that way, this enables me to buy a full fuel injection system and scratch the carbs. I think a better solution to the boost than th ecarbs. Although the carb works great, EFI it gives me options the carb cannot. MArk L
Uh uh, me next, hit me with the magic dip stick!!!!

Well I think I'm going to buy a raffle ticket. I just set up with a buyer for those SD heads. I paid $250 for the entire motor, the heads sold (pending money sent) for $1500. One of those "I never get that kind of good luck stuff", HA!! Well John had a great deal fall into his lap. Now I had a GREAT DEALHAPPEN..... MArk L
Honestly Sir Markus NoticesAlot.... I never thought about it that way. Come to think of it Lady Luck has been shinning!!!

It feels good when it happens.... probably cause it does happen often enough or never happened at all.

So glad to hear the pending deal on those heads.

Being so rare and Pontiac I figured they would sell quickly but not for as much as they did.

Good money that will be "well spent !!!!

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I've been really good, and not such good luck, so maybe me next? :)
Uh uh, me next, hit me with the magic dip stick!!!!
:D :D :D That's a good one Mike!

I feel like I must have been hit with that magic dip stick recently! :) :D :D

Sir Markus O'maximus Opportuneus........that's awesome. I can relate to the feelings of the once in a life-time deal. My recent BBC motor was an "out of the blue" experience.

Pass it on! ! !
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