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There are some old stories about the guys who worked "on the line" finagling things so that as their personal car was rolling down the assembly line, it just happened to work out that "someone made a mistake - aw shucks" so that when the car got to the engine drop point it got a 421 instead of a 389. However I've never heard of that being an option that was available to the public though.

Bear
 

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There are some old stories about the guys who worked "on the line" finagling things so that as their personal car was rolling down the assembly line, it just happened to work out that "someone made a mistake - aw shucks" so that when the car got to the engine drop point it got a 421 instead of a 389. However I've never heard of that being an option that was available to the public though.

Bear
So just casually walk over to the 2+2 line and roll it to the gto line lol
 

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The way I heard it explained, was that for the engine drop all the cars came down the same line: A-body, B-body, etc. Back "upstream" the engines got loaded onto a separate "conveyor" and started on their way. There was a point where the two came together and the engine got dropped into the chassis. If someone were to "make a mistake" and load the wrong engine in the wrong sequence, there was no way they were going to shut down the whole line at that point long enough to permit correcting the "problem". If the engine was "close enough", they just kept running. My information though is at least 2nd or 3rd hand, so I can't attest to its veracity.

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The way I heard it explained, was that for the engine drop all the cars came down the same line: A-body, B-body, etc. Back "upstream" the engines got loaded onto a separate "conveyor" and started on their way. There was a point where the two came together and the engine got dropped into the chassis. If someone were to "make a mistake" and load the wrong engine in the wrong sequence, there was no way they were going to shut down the whole line at that point long enough to permit correcting the "problem". If the engine was "close enough", they just kept running. My information though is at least 2nd or 3rd hand, so I can't attest to its veracity.

Bear
All kinds of rumors have surfaced over the years, yet NONE have been proven. The 421 wasn't part of the 'Bobcat' kit at Royal Pontiac, although they probably did upgrade a few. But I've not seen any documentation of that either.
 

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Only thing I read is that Royal set up the geeto drag race team with 421 HOs not sure if they did dealer installed to the public
 

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Over the years I've run into several '64 GTO's with 421 emblems on the front fenders. Their story was that it was a factory option. None of them wanted to talk or race.
 

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The way I heard it explained, was that for the engine drop all the cars came down the same line: A-body, B-body, etc. Back "upstream" the engines got loaded onto a separate "conveyor" and started on their way. There was a point where the two came together and the engine got dropped into the chassis. If someone were to "make a mistake" and load the wrong engine in the wrong sequence, there was no way they were going to shut down the whole line at that point long enough to permit correcting the "problem". If the engine was "close enough", they just kept running. My information though is at least 2nd or 3rd hand, so I can't attest to its veracity.

Bear
Boy would I just love to go back in time to see it happen at the factory bear
Over the years I've run into several '64 GTO's with 421 emblems on the front fenders. Their story was that it was a factory option. None of them wanted to talk or race.
Even if not true, I love to imagine back before there were monitors and cameras supervising us everywhere, that some young buck got creative and orchestrated some "mistake" to be made like this for himself, a friend or family member. I guess if he was discreet, there would be no documentation of the "wrong" engine being installed. Maybe some auditor would have found a miscount later? It is fun to think about.
 

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Only thing I read is that Royal set up the geeto drag race team with 421 HOs not sure if they did dealer installed to the public
The race team cars in 1966 were 389CI, not 421. They used the XS code 389CI option which was the tri-power "ram air" version, close ratio 4-speeds, and 3.90/4.33 gears (I would have to check on the gearing to be correct). I believe that 421 use was said by Wangers in his book, and Milt Schornack in his book corrected that.

No 421CI, or 428CI engines were factory installed. Any installation was dealer or owner. I don't think it would be possible to slip a 421 into a GTO at the factory. Quality control would have surely caught it, ie engine code/EUN, and no doubt the bean counters would not have allowed losing money on the higher priced 421. And being union factories, I am sure others would have to be in on the swap and I don't think anyone would be willing to chance getting fired at what these guys got paid. LOL
 

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The race team cars in 1966 were 389CI, not 421. They used the XS code 389CI option which was the tri-power "ram air" version, close ratio 4-speeds, and 3.90/4.33 gears (I would have to check on the gearing to be correct). I believe that 421 use was said by Wangers in his book, and Milt Schornack in his book corrected that.

No 421CI, or 428CI engines were factory installed. Any installation was dealer or owner. I don't think it would be possible to slip a 421 into a GTO at the factory. Quality control would have surely caught it, ie engine code/EUN, and no doubt the bean counters would not have allowed losing money on the higher priced 421. And being union factories, I am sure others would have to be in on the swap and I don't think anyone would be willing to chance getting fired at what these guys got paid. LOL
Damn Jim I was wondering when you was going to weigh in on this
 

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Month or so ago, Smoke Signals Magazine had a story of a line supervisor at the Pontiac plant who ordered a late 70s Grand Am with all the good stuff for that era. Basically by buying Donuts for those involved during the night shift when it was built, they blueprinted the car and engine. In other words, the white glove treatment insuring everything was perfect. The engine received blueprinted parts and other supervisors personally insured it went into his Grand Am. This supervisor still owns the car today.
 

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Month or so ago, Smoke Signals Magazine had a story of a line supervisor at the Pontiac plant who ordered a late 70s Grand Am with all the good stuff for that era. Basically by buying Donuts for those involved during the night shift when it was built, they blueprinted the car and engine. In other words, the white glove treatment insuring everything was perfect. The engine received blueprinted parts and other supervisors personally insured it went into his Grand Am. This supervisor still owns the car today.
SD455?
 

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Hello All, please correct me if Iḿ wrong; I have a convertable 66 4spd sitting on the back burner for about 10 years now. Had a machine shop redo the engine, and they informed me the car has a 421 I asked the mechanic who was doing the rebuild if the engine ever looked like it had been changed, and he told me not that he could tell. (that was about 15 years ago) I later replaced the clutch and had problems with Summit Racing (I think) because they had no listing for a gto with 421. I then started to do research, and found some literature about Pontiac running NASCAR Catalinas with 421s (I believe there is one or two valuable aluminum body models floating around somewhere). Anyway what I further discovered is that the 421 and 389 blocks are the same in that, intake, exhaust, etc can be interchanged. My car (here in Hawaii) was ordered from the dealer (i have the build sheet) with factory air. Now why would you need factory air in a convertable? Because at the same time the car was ordered, a 421 shortblock was ordered. GM would not allow an A body car to ship from the factory with a engine larger than 389 in 1966. (which may explain why they relented a litlle in 1967 due to competion with other car models, and shipped GTOs from the factory with a 400) Anyway, from what I have gathered, you walked into the Pontiac dealer, ordered your car with AC because an AC car has an oversized radiator, and at the same time ordered the 421 shortblock and paid the dealer for the swith out, so when the car arrived, the engine was yanked, exhaust intake accessories etc were switched to the 421 block and reinstalled in the car. When your car was delivered to you, you drove off the lot with a "dealer option" GTO with a 421, but the emblem badges were not changed, fakeing out any competitor in a stop light off the line challange. (unfortunatly the previous owner did not order power brakes which makes stopping interesting). Please update me if I have any of this wrong because I did spend hours of research trying to get to the bottom of why my car has a 421; btw the casting numbers on the block, exhaust & intake of of the same year series making unlikely the idea that someone (my car was a one owner) could go to the junkyard in later years to buy a 421 & find a matching casting series.
 

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Damn Jim I was wondering when you was going to weigh in on this
Was just watching to see where it was going to wind up. LOL I don't think the 421 swap was done much as you could get pretty good performance out of a well prepped tri-power engine, or even 4-Bbl. You have to remember that all things cost and after buying a 389CI GTO in any form and then paying extra for the 421 and labor would have really had a big price tag and not for the average guy. The 428 swap which was offered and better known, was the same deal, you had to buy the GTO with its 400CI and pay extra for the 428 swap. It was a dealership swap. I talked with an older gentleman at a car show who was from the New York/Long Island area and not far from where Motion Performance was located. He bought 2 new matching1968 GTO's. A hardtop 4-speed for himself and an automatic convertible for his wife. The dealer asked him if he wanted to order a 428 to replace the 400CI. He told him yes, and the dealer said it would be a few more weeks additional for such an order. When his 428 GTO arrived at the dealer, he went and picked up both cars - his wife's car had arrived earlier.


He said it was a fast car. Then as it got older, he set it up to race circle track. With the body banged/beat up, he retired the car, pulled the engine/transmission and scrapped the body. He held on to the 428CI and it went with him during a couple relocations. He was a master body man who did customs. At the car show where I met him, the 428CI was sitting in one of his hot rods with dual quads and the adapters to put them sideways like a crossram intake. The heads did not have any numbers as they were smoothed out, and there was no engine letter code. My guess is he cleaned up the engine to make it more "show" worthy and smooth. It did have the transfer lug on the back of the block indicating a 428, so I had to believe his story as being true. Long Island during that time had a number of dealerships that offered modified cars for street/drag racing right off the showroom floor and there was a Pontiac dealership that did the 428 installations and I have an article on their 428/Firebird installation.

428 hot rod 1.JPG
hot rod 428 - 2.JPG
 

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This is the car of a friend of mine. It's a 455 Pontiac tri-power with Edelbrock heads. I got to know him by helping him with the engine and the tri-power. That's his business name on the side of the car, Super Rides by Jordan.



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