Buick 215 Aluminum V8 Engine Block
orange arrow: i.d. number
green arrow: undrilled head-bolt boss
(Olds 215's have one extra bolt per cylinder)
GM 215 Aluminum V8 Engine Identification(originally published in MG-V-8 Newsletter, Volume 2 Issue 1)
by Kurt Schley
The GM 215 cubic inch aluminum V8 engine (and its Rover descendants) have historically been the V8 of choice for MG conversions because of its light weight and compact dimensions. The engine was domestically available in a variety of 1961 to 1963 Buicks, Oldsmobiles, and Pontiacs and in several performance levels.
Stock horsepower ranged from the standard Buick Special's 155 H.P. / 210 lbs torque to the Oldsmobile Jetfire's turbocharged and fluid injected 215 H.P. / 300 lbs torque. Of course, the most desirable aluminum V8's are the higher performance versions with increased compression ratios and four barrel carburetors. [Editor's note: if you're going to rebuild a Buick 215 anyway, you can easily change compression ratio by selecting different pistons. To change compression ratio on an Olds 215, you're probably looking at swapping heads. That's another article. Buick and Olds 215's have entirely different valve covers, which is probably the quickest way to sort a stack of them. Heads and valve-train are what really make Buick and Oldsmobile 215's quite different, but that's another article too!]
More often than not, when you do locate a 215 it will have been already removed from the car. Knowing the GM model from which the engine was originally installed can be helpful in determining history of the motor you are negotiating for. Chart 2 illustrates the engine I.D. system used by the three GM divisions for the aluminum 215.
Chart 1: GM Model and Standard Engine Configuration
|Year||Make||Model||H.P. @ RPM||Torque @ RPM||Compression||Carburetor|
|61||Buick||Special||155 @ 4600||210 @ 3200||8.75:1||2Bbl|
|61||Buick||Skylark||185 @ ????||??? @ ????||10.25:1||4Bbl|
|61||Oldsmobile||F-85||155 @ 4600||210 @ 3200||8.75:1||2Bbl|
|61||Pontiac||Tempest||155 @ 4600||210 @ 3200||8.75:1||2Bbl|
|62||Buick||Special||155 @ 4600||210 @ 3200||9.00:1||2Bbl|
|62||Buick||Skylark||190 @ 4800||??? @ ????||11:00:1||4Bbl|
|62||Oldsmobile||F-85||155 @ 4800||210 @ 4800||8.75:1||2Bbl|
|62||Oldsmobile||Cutlass||185 @ 4800||230 @ 4800||10:25:1||4Bbl|
|62||Oldsmobile||Jetfire||215 @ 4800||230 @ 4800||10:25:1||1Bbl (turbo)|
|62||Pontiac||Tempest||190 @ 4800||??? @ ????||11:00:1||4Bbl|
|63||Buick||Special||155 @ 4600||??? @ ????||8:75:1||4Bbl|
|63||Buick||Skylark||200 @ 5000||??? @ ????||11:00:1||4Bbl|
|63||Oldsmobile||F-85||155 @ 4800||210 @ 4800||8:75:1||2Bbl|
|63||Oldsmobile||Cutlass||185 @ 4800||230 @ 4800||10:25:1||4Bbl|
|63||Oldsmobile||Jetfire||215 @ 4800||300 @ 3200||10:25:1||1Bbl (turbo)|
Note 1: Rochester carburetors were used on all models.
Note 2: Either a three speed manual or a Hydro-Matic automatic transmission was included as standard-equipment in all model, but four speed manual transmissions were available as optional-equipment.
Enjoying this article? Our magazine is funded through the generous support of readers like you!|
To contribute to our operating budget, please click here and follow the instructions.
(Suggested contribution is twenty bucks per year. Feel free to give more!)
Chart 2: GM Engine Number and Number Location Chart
Buick Engine Numbers (stamped onto top surface of engine block, ahead of the passenger-side cylinder head)
Engine Number Format: A-B-C-DDDDDDD
"A" was the model code (0="Special", 1="Special Deluxe", 2="Skylark")
"B" was the model-year code (H="1961", I="1962", J="1963")
"C" was a single-digit plant code
"DDDDDDDD" was the production sequence number
Supplemental Engine Code Format: EE-FFF (stamped upside-down in the same location)
"EE" designated performance specification
(I="1962 / standard compression ratio /two barrel carburetor",
HI="1962 / high compression ratio / four barrel carburetor",
JM="1963 / low compression ratio / two barrel carburetor",
JN="1963 / high compression ratio / four barrel carburetor")
"FFF" is numerical (meaning unknown).
Oldsmobile Engine Numbers (stamped onto front of right-hand cylinder head)
Engine Number Format: AA-BBBBBBB
"AA" designated rated power (S="155 H.P.", SG="185 H.P.", ST="215 H.P.", SH or SE="low compression export models")
"BBBBBBB" was the production sequence number
Pontiac Engine Numbers (stamped on front of block on right cylinder bank
Engine Number Format: 21-AA-B-CCCCCCC
"AA" was the model-year code (H="1961", I="1962", J="1963")
"B" was a single-digit plant code
"CCCCCCC" was the production sequence number
Information about Buick's supplemental engine codes added in June 2014.
Copyright: text 1994, photo 2006. All rights reserved.
Use by written permission from "britishv8.org" only.