Wednesday Rewind: Small-Block Chevy Cylinder Head Casting Numbers

The advent of CNC machining seems to have fostered an explosion of ported aftermarket heads, which is great for the enthusiast that isn’t encumbered with casting numbers and originality. But, what about that person who has a set of heads sitting on the shelf and wonders what they might be for, or if they would work for their application?

Well, thankfully, the General has a way of distinguishing each and every head that they’ve ever created, and a while back, our own Bobby Kimbrough took the time to compile a listing of part numbers and castings to help shed some light on this minefield of small ports and rare castings.

How many millions of heads has GM produced? Amazingly, they can be broken down into a surprisingly limited number of casting numbers.

We’re riding the way-back machine to a story that Bobby did that focuses mainly on heads produced up to the early LS-years. There have been many castings poured since then, but also, the ‘net is quite rife with what they do, and what to look for when scouring the swap meet.

The story does get into the LS years, slightly. Of course, their castings are much different from the earlier small-block heads.

For this installment of Wednesday Rewind, check out the listing of cylinder heads Bobby has compiled and compare them to any castings that you might have sitting around. Or, keep the link handy on your cellphone for when you’re scouring the salvage yard and come across an early set of heads for your next project. Either way, this information is great to have on-hand and definitely worth repeating.

About the author

Andy Bolig

Andy has been intrigued by mechanical things all of his life and enjoys tinkering with cars of all makes and ages. Finding value in style points, he can appreciate cars of all power and performance levels. Andy is an avid railfan and gets his “high” by flying radio-controlled model airplanes when time permits. He keeps his feet firmly grounded by working on his two street rods and his supercharged C4 Corvette. Whether planes, trains, motorcycles, or automobiles, Andy has immersed himself in a world driven by internal combustion.
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