Question about the S2 cylinder head (1969)

(Jonathan Kay) #1

Hi all. I was hoping someone would be able to help me with an issue. I believe that the S2 cylinder heads were marked with the engine number stamped into the front of the cylinder head (pulley side) just above the front left side bolt which joins the head to the block.
I have been told that at some point during S2 production this numbering may have been discontinued. I have an Oct 1969 OTS but cannot find any numbering… I was hoping that some esteemed members here might know a little about the history of this, and be able to advise me.

(David Langley) #2


This is news to me. I’ve never heard of a cylinder head being stamped with the engine number in the location you describe. Do you have a reference of where this is documented? Earlier cars had the engine number stamped on the front of cylinder head on the rear (plug side), but I believe that this practice ceased before the Series 2 cars.


(Paul Wigton) #3

My understanding, but, nothing would surprise me!

(Robert and Darlene Stevenson) #4

Hi David,
I still have the engine from a 68FHC that I bought as a parts car in 81 or 82 and there is no engine number on the cylinder head. I would bet that the JCNA judging guides for the 1.5 and S2 E Types cover this but it was easier for me to walk into the garage and look at the engine then to “dig” through a ton of books, literature etc in the back room.

(David Langley) #5

Hi Bob,

Thanks for the info. The JCNA Guides (Series 1, 1.5 and 2) weren’t much help here, as they I couldn’t find any mention of stampings of the engine number on the cylinder head for any Series (only the stamping on the block). However, I think there is no question about the stampings at the “head of the valley” for 3.8s and early 4.2 Series 1s. I don’t think Haddock or Clausager are definitive about when this practice stopped, except that it was some time during the 4.2 Series 1s. I’ve never heard of any stamping in the location specified by the original poster Jonathan - " the front of the cylinder head (pulley side) just above the front left side bolt which joins the head to the block."


(69 FHC ) #6

The Mueller/Haddock book documents several 3.8 and 4.2 heads as carrying the engine number where you say; on the rear face of the timing chain case. They don’t say when the practice was curtailed other than to say that “later 4.2 liter heads” were unstamped.

The authors also mention and show some letters of unknown significance stamped on the timing cover near the area the OP mentions.

(David Langley) #7

I looked through my photos and found this one:

What appears to be the letters “L”, “W”, “U” are stamped on the top corner of the timing cover on my '69 engine. Maybe this is what they are referring to. Clearly not the engine number, and also not on the cylinder head.

(69 FHC ) #8

That’s what they were referring to, stamped on the timing cover. They had no idea what there were suppose to mean. I’d guess maybe some workers in the engine assembly or run in section decided to sign their work.

(Bob Curran) #9

I just looked at my 69 Series 2 built on January 27, 1969. No serial numbers on the front of the head.

(Robert Thomas 68 FHC ) #10

My 1968 Series 1.5 has the engine number stamped on the plug side of the front of the head.( Although some stamped the 3 backwards. :grinning:)
Build date was March 10, 1968

(David Langley) #11

That’s interesting. My memory could be playing tricks on me, but as far as I remember no one else has reported a stamped engine number on their cylinder head for a S 1.5. Would you mind sharing the engine number? A photo would be even better.

(Robert Thomas 68 FHC ) #12

Here you go…

(Robert Thomas 68 FHC ) #13

And the number plate

(Robert Thomas 68 FHC ) #14

Note the backwards “3”

I’m hoping it’s like a coin, where when they reverse a character the value jumps dramatically! :blush:

(D Barnes) #15

I have not been able to find any engine number stamping on my head that corresponds to the engine number on the block or car’s data plate . My car was built Feb 19, 1968. Only stamping I see is right behind the rear spark plug in the valley on top at the very rear of the head. It is stamped as DWG875. I do not know what this stamping means. I have never had my engine apart or out of the car though to be able to do any thorough search. I do not see any receipts out of the many the original owner gave me to indicate they ever had the engine out or apart either. My engine number is 7E16125-9 on the block and data plate and Heritage Certificate. My gear box is EE2582. Wonder why the switched to a KE box on Robert’s car 3 weeks later ?

68 E-type FHC

(69 FHC ) #16

At some point the factory stopped stamping the block number on the front of the head but continued stamping a unique number on the back of the head, DWG 875 in your car’s case. I don’t think the exact significance of the letters chosen is understood.

(David Langley) #17


Given the errors in your cylinder head stamping (double hit on the “1”, and the backwards “3”) I wonder if it really was done by the factory. The "3"s I’ve seen on late Series 1s from 1967 seem to have a flat top to the “3”, unlike this one, which also makes me wonder. I’ve not been able to find any other North American Series 1.5s with the engine number stamped on the cylinder head on a quick scan of xkedata, but I admit that I didn’t look at all cars.


(Robert Thomas 68 FHC ) #18

Hi David

I continue to work on the car, and today I saw something interesting… the engine number is stamped on the block along the rear flange, as I’m sure you know.

Guess what?! The 3 is backwards on it too… how odd.

(David Langley) #19


Very interesting! I wonder if the backwards 3 was deliberate, or the stamper made the same mistake twice? I think that this supports my doubts about the stampings on your engine being from the factory. The engine number was not stamped on the bellhousing flange of the engine until part way through the Series 2 production. Yours, as a '68 Series 1.5 with a 7Exxxxx engine number, should be stamped on the block on the area adjacent to the oil filter housing. It’s often buried in grimy oil, and requires a wire brush to reveal it, and a contortionist to photograph it, but it would be interesting to know if it’s there on your engine. Without the benefit of a time machine I guess we’ll never know the history of the stampings on your engine, but I might speculate that it was a replacement engine from the factory (these came with no stampings), and someone later in it’s life decided they wanted to make the numbers match, and was misinformed about where to put the numbers - i.e. on the oil filter housing area of the block, and NOT on the cylinder head. These cars always have their secrets. My Series 2 appears to have a cylinder head from an earlier Series 2, or even a Series 1.5, and the data plate is on the wrong side of the car. I just adds to the mystery…


(Doug) #20

The head on my early October 1967 engine (numbers matching) does not have an engine number but has “DN573” stamped at the rear of the head next to the number 1 spark plug.

Just a data point…
PS: This photo was during disassembly so the crap by the spark plug hole didn’t end up in the engine :grinning: