How Do I Identify a Chrysler 383?by Robert Bleser
There are two sure ways to identify a Chrysler 383 CID (cubic inch displacement) V8 engine. The first is to locate and decode the large casting number on the left side of the block. The second and easier way is to locate and decode the hand-stampings on the block's ID boss.
Please note that while a casting number on an engine intake manifold, cylinder head or other part can identify a Chrysler 383 component, such identification is not the same thing as identifying the engine as a 383.
Identify by Block Casting Number
Locate the large, seven-digit casting number stamped on left side of block. If necessary, use a wire brush to remove dirt and grime from the stamping.
View and record the block casting number. Use a magnifying glass as necessary.
Decode the block casting number you recorded as follows: 2120329 = 383 RB (1959-1960) 1851729 = 383 B (1959-1964) 2128854 = 383 B (1964) 2532130 = 383 B (1965) 2568130 = 383 B (1959-1971) 2899830 = 383 B (1970)
Identify by ID Boss Stampings
Locate the engine ID boss. If the ID boss is located on the block's right side just below the cylinder head next to the distributor base, then the engine has an RB (Golden Lion) block; if the ID boss is located on top of the block directly in front of the intake manifold valley, then the engine is a B block.
As necessary, use a wire brush to remove dirt and grime from the ID boss stampings.
View and record the top row of ID boss stampings (e.g., "P38", "E383", so on). Use a magnifying glass as necessary.
Decode the ID boss stamping you recorded as follows: M38 = 1959 383 (B block) MR38 = 1959 383 (RB block) P38 = 1960 383 (B block) PR38 = 1960 383 (RB block) R38 or R383 = 1961 383 S38 or S383 = 1962 383 T38 or T383 = 1963 383 V38 or V383 = 1964 383 A383 = 1965 383 B383 = 1966 383 C383 = 1967 383 D383 = 1968 383 E383 = 1969 383 F383 = 1970 383 G383 = 1971 383
Things You'll Need
- Wire brush
- Magnifying glass
- Pen and paper
- Access to places where identifying casting numbers and ID boss stampings are located may require removal of certain engine components. Do not attempt to remove these components unless you are capable or have the necessary assistance to do so.
- Because of continued interest in muscle-car era engines generally, information about the 383 CID V8 and other Chrysler high-performance engines is being added and changed all the time. While this article represents current "best knowledge", it is by no means the last word.
Robert Bleser began freelance and technical writing in 1975. He served as a Marine in Vietnam and worked for the Los Angeles Police Department. He has a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from the University of California at Berkeley and was a teaching assistant at University of California at Santa Barbara while completing his Ph.D. in philosophy.