455 Oldsmobile Engine Identification

by Anne Davis
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The 455 is a member of Oldsmobile's V-8 engine class. This engine was placed in a wide variety of Oldsmobile's vehicles for a period of nine years. Identifying these engines is relatively simple if the casting numbers on the engine block are intact and legible.


Oldsmobile built its 455 engine from 1968 until 1976. The company placed it in most of its vehicles, including the Cutlass, the 442, the Delta 88, the 98 and the Toronado. It could produce between 210 and 400 horsepower, depending on engine options.

Casting Numbers

The numbers cast on the lower left corner of the engine block -- or on the cylinder head -- indicate the year the engine was manufactured. The casting numbers for a 455 include 395021F, 396021Fa and 231788L.

Carburetor Numbers

The engine's carburetor was also stamped on the driver's side. This number indicates the specific requirements of that carburetor. Because of emissions regulations enacted by the federal government in the early 1970s, the carburetor numbers changed. All models manufactured before 1973 featured the same carburetor numbers, making them easily identifiable.

Other Identifying Specifications

From 1968 until 1969 these engines -- with the exception of the engine placed in the Oldsmobile Toronado -- were painted red. Those engines built from 1970 until 1976 were painted blue. Before 1974, the air cleaner's identification decal bore the name "Rocket," identifying the engine as a Rocket 455. The bore on this engine was 4.126 inches, and the stroke was 4.25 inches.

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