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How to Decode a 1957 Chevy Motor

by Thomas West

Beginning in 1955, Chevrolets featured a much sleeker appearance than previous models as well as a powerful V-8 engine. Chevy made due with slight revisions in 1956, but in 1957 added tail fins, a styling trend of the time. This makes the 1957 Chevy immediately recognizable and highly prized by most auto collectors. Many factors determine the value of an old Chevy, including whether it still has its original factory-installed engine. Learn how to decode the numbers stamped on your 1957 Chevy's motor to determine if it is original to your car.

Open the hood. Locate the engine code stamped into the engine block. For 6-cylinder engines, check behind the distributor on the right hand, or passenger, side of the block. For 8-cylinders, check behind the water pump on the front of the block. Use a flashlight if necessary.

Check the first character in the stamped code. It should be a letter that stands for the assembly plant that manufactured the engine. "T" stands for the engine assembly plant at Tonawanda, New York. "F" stands for the plant at Flint, Michigan.

Check the next character to determine the month the engine was made. "1" stands for January, "2" for February, and so forth up to "9" for September. October, November, and December are represented by the letters "A", "B" and "C," respectively.

Check the next two characters, which stand for the day of the month.

Determine the exact engine used in your vehicle by decoding the last two letters in the engine code. There are too many to list here, but letter codes starting with an "A" or a "B" indicate a 235-cubic inch 6-cylinder engine. A two-letter engine code starting with a "C" denotes a 265-cubic inch V-8, and "E", "F" and "G" codes indicate a 283-cubic inch V-8.

Tip

  • An example of a 1957 Chevrolet engine code is F223EM. The first character, "F", stands for the Flint, Michigan assembly plant. The second, third and fourth characters indicate that this engine was built on February 23. The letters "EM" indicate that this engine is a 283-cubic inch unit that was installed into a Corvette with a three-speed manual transmission and fuel injection.

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About the Author

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  • 57 chevy belair hood ornament image by Jorge Moro from Fotolia.com