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Old 11-28-2012, 03:49 AM
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What happened at Tonawanda in 1977?

It was this winter, a dark and stormy night in the deep valleys of Norway, I came across it. It was resting in a shed when I found it, covered in decades of dust and cold spider webs. With a resistant squeal the hood was opened, and an engine carefully crafted by the loyal lackeys of Louis Chevrolet glared at me with its chromed eyes. "It's not original," the man said, cold damp steaming from his mouth as he spoke, the contours of his face barely visible in the dim light from the torch in my hand. "It's a 305, puts out about 200 horse". He shrugged his shoulders almost apologetically. "I don't know where it's from, it was there when I bought it".

I drove it home in the dark, the twisting mountain roads lit only by the moon and the fading glow from 30 year old headlamps. In the garage I picked up my wire brush and went to work. Careful not to scratch the paint as I brushed, I gradually uncovered the letters and numbers telling the story of an iron workhorse's first days near the Canadian border. "T0607CPY". It spoke to me, an engine's way of introducing itself. "Nice to meet you," I whispered.

"T stands for Tonawanda," she said, her small glasses bouncing enthusiastically as she spoke. The room was claustrophobically dark, with a clouding smell of beewax and old books. "The CPY code was used in - no that can't be right, hang on." She turned pages frantically while squinting against the faded letters. "Yes, in 1977 for the Chevrolet 305 small block." I leaned forwards, hopefully. "It seems to have been used in several cars; Chevelles, Camaros, Novas. I am afraid I can tell you no more of its origin."

As I went to bed that night I could not help but look out towards the garage. "What were you in?" I whispered. "What happened at Tonawanda in 1977?"



(Seriously, any help identifying which car model this engine could originally have been in is greatly appreciated.)

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Old 11-28-2012, 04:46 AM
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Time to call the hardy Boys, or Nancy Drew...nice intro, can't wait for the movie...LOL
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Old 11-28-2012, 05:25 AM
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From Decoding small block Chevy engine suffix codes and stamped numbers CMK - CUD

CPY 1977 305 LG3 U 145 2 F A X
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Old 11-28-2012, 06:00 AM
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Right, as I understand we are then talking about the following cars being offered with the CPY code in 1977:

Chevrolet Nova
Chevrolet Monte Carlo
Chevrolet Chevelle
Chevrolet Malibu (?)
Chevrolet Camaro
Buick Skylark
Pontiac Phoenix
Pontiac Firebird

Were the Tonawanda engines placed in all of these? So it's a wild guess?
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Old 11-28-2012, 06:03 AM
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Not sure ...Tonawanda is (was) the GM engine plant...I remember that my late 60s big block Chevy engines were built there
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Old 11-28-2012, 06:12 AM
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Well, it's better than nothing

I need the info in order to have the engine swap approved by the Norwegian government. Earlier owners never bothered with it, but I figured I wanted to do things by the law. I'll shoot the officials an email and ask if this info is enough.
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poncho62 View Post
Not sure ...Tonawanda is (was) the GM engine plant...I remember that my late 60s big block Chevy engines were built there
I hope the OP doesn't mind as this is not going to help him, just information.

If I'm correct, Poncho 62, (a you mentioned the word was) the Tonawanda plant is still operational and GM just invested nearly 1/2 a billion Dollars into it for a new generation of eco engines that are going into Caddi's...(still producing other engines as well).

I also remember having a GMC 3/4 ton in 1994 that had a Tonawanda 454 in it.

Great opening post though, kept me riveted to my seat, wondering how it was going to turn out.

Ray
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:41 AM
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@69_widetrack: Thanks, and no, don't mind. My previous car, Chevy S10 Blazer was produced at a plant in Moraine, Ohio, which I believe was closed down not too many years ago. Good to know not all old plants are dying.
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:43 AM
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Someone has missed their calling. Excellent writing and I enjoyed it immensely.

Vince
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Old 11-28-2012, 04:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 69 widetrack View Post
I hope the OP doesn't mind as this is not going to help him, just information.

If I'm correct, Poncho 62, (a you mentioned the word was) the Tonawanda plant is still operational and GM just invested nearly 1/2 a billion Dollars into it for a new generation of eco engines that are going into Caddi's...(still producing other engines as well).

I also remember having a GMC 3/4 ton in 1994 that had a Tonawanda 454 in it.

Great opening post though, kept me riveted to my seat, wondering how it was going to turn out.

Ray
I wasnt sure if it was still open or not....and was too lazy to Google it.....
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Old 11-28-2012, 06:31 PM
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Yes Tonawanda is still producing engines as mentioned. Last big block produced was mid December two years ago. After producing big blocks since 1958 (348-409. 366-502). Then changed the line to the modern engine.
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Old 11-28-2012, 06:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vacuum View Post
Right, as I understand we are then talking about the following cars being offered with the CPY code in 1977:

Chevrolet Nova
Chevrolet Monte Carlo
Chevrolet Chevelle
Chevrolet Malibu (?)
Chevrolet Camaro
Buick Skylark
Pontiac Phoenix
Pontiac Firebird

Were the Tonawanda engines placed in all of these? So it's a wild guess?
Details here:


Small Block Suffix Code
6 Records

Code Year CID Vehicle HP RPO Trans Carb Comments
CPY 77 305 Pontiac 145 LG-3 TH 350 2-Brl Phoenix, Ventura II
CPY 77 305 Oldsmobile 145 LG-3 TH 350 2-Brl Omega
CPY 77 305 Nova 145 LG-3 TH 350 2-Brl
CPY 77 305 Chevelle 145 LG-3 TH 350 2-Brl
CPY 77 305 Camaro 145 LG-3 TH 350 2-Brl
CPY 77 305 Buick 145 LG-3 TH 350 2-Brl Skylark
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Old 11-29-2012, 12:42 AM
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Good stuff cobalt327, that's useful info
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Old 11-29-2012, 02:19 AM
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My pleasure. You mentioned the "fading glow from 30 year old headlamps", but not much else in the way of clues to the model, etc. So tell us- what's this engine in?
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Old 11-29-2012, 07:10 AM
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My pleasure. You mentioned the "fading glow from 30 year old headlamps", but not much else in the way of clues to the model, etc. So tell us- what's this engine in?
Of course It's a 1979 Pontiac Grand Prix, originally delivered with a 3.8 Buick V6. Love the car, though it needs some work before I'll consider using it as a daily driver.
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