Picked up an old 3.8 engine, no casting date?

Bought an old 3.8 engine, the seller didn’t know from which car it came from. The engine and head numbers are VA 1057-9. Where might I find the casting date? The head has blue paint. The sump is steel, not aluminium. Which car had this as an original engine?

Dark blue heads were installed on engines going in 3.8 sedans in the mid 60’s. Light blue, robin’s egg blue, was used on engines going in a 3.4. Since yours is a 3.8 and looks dark blue I’d guess it came out of a 3.8 sedan.

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I’m thinking VA prefix might be XK150, or perhaps Mk9. I don’t think that’s the prefix for Mk2 or S Type, which were the only other cars to use the B Type head and 3.8 block.

Rob Reilly posted this in '98. Looks like an XK150 3.8 litre 9:1 compression engine.

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Yes, I found this which also points toward it being from a 150.

Jaguar Engine Numbers - Viart (jag-lovers.org)

Hi Martin,

As others have said, it appears to be an XK150 3.8. Don’t think there were that many made, and this seems to be the 57th such production engine, so it will be late '59 or early '60. Sump is not from XK150 though. Is the block stamped (top of oil filter boss)?

There are casting numbers on bottom of head that may indicate date - there have been discussions on these numbers in XK forum.

Regards,
Clive.

I’ve added a picture.

Martin,

I see - so it is a matching block! Looks to be correct head color - metalic blue. Sump looks to be from a Mk2.

I imagine someone looking for an XK150 engine would find the 3.8 desireable.

Regards,
Clive.

Thank you gentlemen for your replies, so far. My 1970 E-type and others I know have casting dates in the block. I haven’t found one (yet), looking rhs under the head, and lhs under/beside the dipstick. Other places to look?

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Hi Martin,

Don’t think there are cast dates: see Cylinder Head Identification - #8 by Roger_Payne for some info.

Regards,
Clive.

This is an XK150 engine. For the dark blue heads, VA was associated with the 150’s:

Mk IX (NC)
XK150 3.8 (VA)
Mk 2 3.8 (LA,LB,LC,LE)
S Type 3.8 (7B)

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The fact that the VA1057-9 stampings on both the HEAD and BLOCK appear original/untampered with, is solid proof that this is indeed an engine originally fitted to a 3.8 XK150 (a basic SE XK150 and not an XK150S). But both the head and block were shared by similar age 3.8 Mark IX and 3.8 Mark 2, apart from their stamped in engine number prefixes revealing what model car originally fitted to. If you look on the underside of the Head, the side that overlaps the block, you will see a cast in part number for just the head casting - and in the case of VA1057-9 it will be C.14958… I would love to see a photo if you can arrange, as to date I have only seen such heads so far with the C14958 number having the C1495 in raised cast letters, and the final 8 stamped in, over what appears to have been another number ground off… see below…, and so far usually with the extra C1142 below, the significance being unknown…


Regardless these C14958 Heads were fitted to 3.8 XK150 engine numbers VA1001 to VA2297 (so only 1297 engines, usually -9 compression ratio, but also -8 cr.), and also to Mark IX NC3909 onwards, and 3.8 Mark 2 LA1001 onwards… In your case, the sump does indeed look like a Mark 2 sump and not an XK150, so it would seem that after originally being fitted to a new 3.8 XK150, it had a second life in a Mark 2, and that may also explain why the Oil Cleaner is missing…

The BLOCK is a little confusing for most… the XK150 SPC shows all 3.8 CYLINDER BLOCKs as being part number C.16020, but the listing needs to be correctly interpreted, this C.16020 part number is for a block assembly that includes the C.8614 Front Timing Cover, with no part number given for just the main Block. Your photos showing C13790 / FF is indeed the Part Number for just the 3.8 BLOCK, but I dont have enough evidence yet, to comment about commonality with other Mark IX and Mark 2 applications, with 3.8 blocks from at least 1960/1961 being a new Casting/Part Number.

So overall, not overly rare as a head and a block assembly, but be nice for an 3.8 XK150 to have these with at least the correct VA engine number prefix stamped in , and given the unusually good survival of the metallic blue cylinder head paint, you could be optomistic that whats is there is in overall good condition, if not for various parts missing - sump, oil cleaner, engine mounts etc…

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Roger thank you for your detailed reply. I was surprised by getting a sump at all, since the sale and it’s pictures were without a sump. I think it was added just for transport since the seller was clearing a storage and had a lot of other stuff and engines to get rid of and had it left over.

I will get pictures of the head numbers. Also from the bottom end.

I took off the loose head. Looking good so far. Here you go:

The headgasket AWOL. Would the markings left point to an original headgasket? It looks to me as if someone opened up the engine and decided not to pursue a repair/overhaul.

I see it has the tappings for the later generator driven rev counter which was introduced in mid 1959 I believe.

Martin
You may want to look at XK 150 838422 which is a DHC which was built on Sept 16,1959, this car has engine V-1056-9 the one just prior to yours. It will give you some sort of idea how old the engine is.

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Martin, thanks for extra photos. So yes, indeed your head is the expected C14958 Part Number, as found on these early 3.8 engines fitted to late 1950s XK150, Mark IX and Mark 2. What I didnt say before is that the actual head casting was made/supplied to Jaguar by two different foundries - yours from the WILLIAM MILLS foundry as you will see from the casting code WM351 shown in one of your photos. The previous photo I gave with C14958 over C1142 is from the alternate foundry - WEST YORKSHIRE Foundry. Regardless, both castings are made to a particular specification, that allowed Jaguars machine shop to then machine the casting, and some basic fixed component assembly, to become the same C14958 Part Number Head. Now I am not 100% positive, but close enough, that I believe the same two exact castings (from WM and WYF) were supplied with the actual cast part number being C14956 shown, and this being introduced to be machined up to be a C14956 HEAD as was fitted to 3.4 litre XK150. So using the same casting for the 3.8 HEAD, when it was machined up to a slightly different specification to become a C14958 HEAD, Jaguar simply ground off the final digit ‘6’ and stamped in the ‘8’ so the machined head was now correctly identified. I have a strong idea what the slightly different machining of a C14958 head was relative to the C14956 Head, but thats another story. So everything adds up as expected - the only new revelation is that your original 3.8 XK150 Head has a casting made/supplied by the West Midlands foundry, rather than the more usual (in my experience/observations) West Yorkshire Foundry. But performance/specification and interchangeability they are exactly the same… The JAG/79 stamping is a Jaguar Quality Control stamping, from inspector No. 79, and you will see this same Quality Control inspection stamp on all manner of different cylinder heads, not just C14958 heads…

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Martin, V1056-9 is a 3.4 litre XK150 engine number, and is totally irrelevant re dating relative to the 3.8 XK150 Engine Number VA1057-9. The 3.4 litre V series was introduced at V1001 onwards, from August 1957 onwards, with the totally separate/new 3.8 litre VA series introduced at VA1001 onwards, from September 1959 onwards, but in both V and VA series cases, engine numbers were not actually fitted in strict sequential order, with numbers regularly +/- 50 to 100 out of sequence. VA1057-9 is certainly one of the earliest 3.8 XK150 engines, but without JDHT advice of the exact date-of-manufacture of the XK150 it was originally fitted to, the best guess you can make is probably late 1959, maybe September/October at a GUESS.
Or is there a typo in your posting, noting you say 838422 is Sept 1959 - should Engine Number actually be VA1056-9 rather than the V1056-9 you show???

Roger
My big foo pa, I MEANT to say VA-1056. If you go XK Data on 838422 it will show VA-1056-9.