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72 Pontiac engine


I am currently working on a 1972 Pontiac Luxury Lemans. It has a 400 4bbl engine. it has blue paint. My father who had a 1970 or 71 Lemans back in the day would tell me about his having a blue engine which meant it was an American engine and was more powerful.

a) is it true that an American blue engine was more powerful than Canadian engine?

b) how can I tell if the engine I have is in fact an American blue engine?



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Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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In that lingo, the blue engine means it's a Pontiac motor (produced by the Pontiac Division of GM) whereas an orange engine means it's a Chevrolet motor (produced by the Chevrolet Division of GM).

Post a photo of what you've got and we'll identify it.

From the clues you've given, it sounds like a Pontiac 400 to me.

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Easiest way to tell is if your battery and starter are on the passenger side, it's a Chevy engine. If it's on the driver's side it's a Pontiac engine.

In those years, yes, the Pontiac 400 would have outpowered the Chevy version. I didn't think a Lemans came with a 400 Chevy engine in 72 did it?

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1966 Strato Chief 2 door sedan 283 "survivor"


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thank you. Battery and starter are on the drivers side. It has the 400 stamp on the block and has the VIN that matches the car vin. It has a block date of H161 (August 16, 1971: car was built in September 71). On front of block it has stamped 0017194 YS (I think Im not in front of it, sure of YS). I doubt have good pics right now.

BTW: does that means there is no truth an american engine versus Canadian engine. Is it just that red symbolizes Canada and blue symbolizes usa?



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Yes, the Pontiacs were blue originally, Chevy engines were orange.



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1966 Strato Chief 2 door sedan 283 "survivor"


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First I want say that Ive read posts and like these, Im always impressed with the information that you guys have just on the top of your head! Im learning quickly.

second maybe Im a bit dense here: were pontiacs built in US while chevys were built in Canada?



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In '72, Le Mans were built in the U.S. with Pontiac engines (350-400-455) & in Canada with Pontiac engines (400-455) & Chevrolet 350s. The sixes in '72 Le Mans were all Chevrolet 250s be it a Canadian or U.S. produced car.



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Just a couple of things, there were never any Chevy 400 small blocks offered in the LeMans car line. In the Library is a thread with engines used by year and the 1972 LeMans engines are there. 

Pontiac were built in Canada depending on model, same goes for Chevrolet. In 1972 LeMans was built at Ste. Therese factory and you could get one with different engines. I'd say most were Chevrolet 350 engines and painted orange. Very few would have been with Pontiac blue engine 400 4bbls like you have and even less with the 455 blue Pontiac engine. 

The blue block vs orange block vernacular dates back to the sixties. Generally is was an easy way to know if your Pontiac was a US car or Canadian car since full sized Pontiacs used orange "Canadian" engines exclusively up until 1970. in 1970 some Canadian built Pontiacs began getting blue US Pontiac engines and it began a mix of engines from then on. 

Was a Pontiac engine more powerful than the counterpart Chevy? That's not easily answered because the specifications vary so much but in the era that this was coined Pontiacs here had 283's and 327's mostly and a US car would have been a 389 so in that case mostly yes, but then there is the size and weight factor of the smaller Canadian cars. Lots of cases of 327 Parisiennes blowing 389 Bonnevilles away.  

Most US enthusiasts and many Canadians do not consider Canadian cars with orange engines as legitimate Pontiacs although as you can see this entire forum exists to refute that. 



-- Edited by 73SC on Thursday 4th of October 2018 10:08:46 PM

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Ray White, Toronto ON

1973 LeMans 454 "Astro-Jet"

Built March 9, 1973 - Oshawa ON

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I know of an original owner 72 GTO with a 400 close by. Nice engine, in spite of it being lower compression than the earlier 400's. I think you'll like it!

You've clearly identified your's as a Pontiac 400 by what you've described but you can't always go by colour alone. Guys pull engines and paint them whatever colour they want. I know of a 400 Pontiac powered Lemans that the owner took in to a shop for some work and they "did him a favour". (Painted his 400 red.......) He wasn't too happy when he got it back.

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Only a 5 year old with a two watt bulb for a brain would paint a Pontiac engine red.

Having said that Pontiac did supply GMC with V8's from 1955 to 1957 and GMC painted them Red to distinguish them, the old GMC,162 hectare factory was right on South Opdyke Road in Pontiac.



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Ray White, Toronto ON

1973 LeMans 454 "Astro-Jet"

Built March 9, 1973 - Oshawa ON

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This was my Lemans at one point, It is one of 33 built in Oshawa with the matching # Pontiac 400... Did the person from Winkler MB who sold you the car gave you the papers I gave him with the car as pictured ?



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Pascal, your papers say 200 HP but that's wrong, it does not consider the dual exhaust N10 option. The engine with duals was rated at 230 HP. This is just a minor oversight on GMVVS documentation because the paperwork shows the basic engine with single exhaust, its only once the option is chosen that the rating changed. 



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Ray White, Toronto ON

1973 LeMans 454 "Astro-Jet"

Built March 9, 1973 - Oshawa ON

Tweet me @BigRaySays






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Hi Pascal. Yes I got the papers. To be honest I have a steep learning curve. Im learning a lot but every time I learn something I realize I have so much more to learn. For example: the car was built in oshawa but according to various sites 72s were built in ste Theres. I first I thought something was screwy until I put 2 +2 together: car was a 72 built in 71. Also was the engine automatically built in Oshawa too? Here the stories of the blue American engine, I thought they must imported those engines. Which when researching the engine seemed to fit the story because some sites have a 400 dual exhaust 250hp some at 300hp. Which then begs the question to 73sc: 230hp thats the first I see that.

also: another roll your eyes question from a newbie.... if the engine I have was built in 71 then does qualify as a 71 engine or a 72 engine.

i apologize if these are inane questions but Im getting i promise



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Yes my error as I was posting from memory on the HP rating with duals. Now that I access my documentation the engine is rated at 250 HP with duals. Nonetheless my premise and assertion that the GMVVS did not consider the N10 option is correct. 

In 1972 only the six and 350 with 8.5:1 compression are Chevrolet engines, produced by McKinnon Industries in St. Catharines, Ontario. No Pontiac engines were ever produced in Canada so they had to be imported. 

Being a 1972 your car is a total anomaly because it is actually a carry over 1971. There was a huge strike by the auto workers and what we know as the 1973 LeMans was intended to be the 1972 LeMans so GM couldn't accomplish the changeover because of the strike so in your case early 72's were actually 1971 final production at Oshawa. After that the LeMans was built in St. Therese. Your engine has to have a 1971 ID because that's when it was produced, it is numbers matching but it was installed in a 1972 model car. This sort of discrepancy with numbers happened all the time with early and even late production models. There is virtually no difference in a 1971 engine and 1972 engine except in compression ratios and methodology used to rate horsepower. For example 1972 is net HP, 1971 is Gross HP. Your 250 HP 1972 rating would roughly translate to 310 HP in 1971 rating. 

 

1972%20Pontiac%20LeMans%20Canadian%20Bro



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Ray White, Toronto ON

1973 LeMans 454 "Astro-Jet"

Built March 9, 1973 - Oshawa ON

Tweet me @BigRaySays






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This is what I love about you guys. How you have all this of the top of your head is amazing. Thank you all.

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