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View Full Version : Miniature cast iron engine block- collectible?



Doc Nickel
10-10-2011, 06:38 PM
I just won this miniature engine block (http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/?cmd=ViewItem&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649&item=140614797391#ht_500wt_958) on eBay. Spur-of-the-moment "just 'cause it's cool" type buy- I picked up some other engine parts from the seller, checked his "see other items", thought it was too interesting to pass up.

I know absolutely nothing about it. Is it collectible? Antique? Who made it? What for?

I'm assuming it's like the miniature anvils that dealers gave away- sort of a sample or memento.

I'm not looking to turn it around and make a mint selling it to a collector or anything. Actually, what I'd like to do is machine it. Not to make a running engine, of course, but just to make it look like a finished block.

As in, mill the decks, bore the cylinders, drill the deck for head bolts, drill the valley for lifters, drill it for the distributor, etc. Then bolt it to a miniature engine stand or something. :D

But, I don't want to do that if it is, in fact, somewhat collectible. Anyone know where this thing might have come from?

Doc.

SGW
10-10-2011, 07:01 PM
Doc, people will collect anything, including old bottle caps and bread bag ties. Be assured that somebody, somewhere, is collecting those. I have no idea who, but they are out there.

Hogridnfool
10-10-2011, 07:05 PM
Here's some history about the foundry that did the casting. http://media.gm.com/media/us/en/gm/company_info/facilities/powertrain/defiance.html My guess is that the miniature block is is only a few years old.

Doc Nickel
10-10-2011, 08:18 PM
SGW; Very true, but that doesn't say much for this particular item.

I suppose I can infer from the eBay auction itself that it's not particularly valuable, else there'd be more than just the one bid. But then again, I've seen more valuable stuff go for cheap because of a mislabelled or misspelled auction...

Hog; Are you just assuming it's that plant because of the "Cadilac' name? Or have you seen them cast similar things?

I'm wondering how the seller knows it's a "Cadilac". The engine doesn't look like a Cadillac block, either the 70s 472/500 era or the earlier 390 style (and it's sure as hell not a Northstar. :D )

Essentially my question is would I destroy any collector's value if I were to machine and modify it.

Doc.

gbritnell
10-10-2011, 08:54 PM
Hi Doc,
Well here's the real history of your block. First it's not a Cadillac or for that matter a GM engine. It's a small block Ford, 302. If you will notice the distributor mount is in the front of the block.
To elaborate a little more I worked in the Ford foundry at Brookpark, Ohio for 38 years and this little engine was the retirement award for as long as I can remember. It was cast in iron and brass. Some of the castings has the Cleveland Casting name cast into the lifter valley.
As far as value I don't think it has much. Not that there's many of them floating around out there but it's just a small engine block casting.
I have several of them from my years of working there.
Here's a couple of pictures of it with the surfaces ground and a coat of paint on it.
gbritnell
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v43/gbritnell/MISCELLANEOUS/302blk2.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v43/gbritnell/MISCELLANEOUS/302blk1.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v43/gbritnell/MISCELLANEOUS/302blk3.jpg

Toolguy
10-10-2011, 09:50 PM
Now I see why they were called "small blocks"!:D

lakeside53
10-10-2011, 10:30 PM
ok, now finish it :D

PTSideshow
10-10-2011, 10:43 PM
I will add that some of the foundries did do small paper weight type castings they would give out when the salesmen were making visits to customers. And as the other post about.
The addition of the Cadillac name is just for the bling factor.
And speaking of anvils
http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d200/ptsideshow/Names%20and%20Models/minianvils1.jpg
http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d200/ptsideshow/Names%20and%20Models/minianvils2.jpg
Some are true salesman samples, and others are copies of them cast in high school and college shop classes. The brass/bronze ones are worth a lot more money, than any other metal.
Also some of the miniature anvils and vise that are being made today are being passed off as salesman samples even ones from China.
Here are some true collectors anvils
http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d200/ptsideshow/Names%20and%20Models/DSC02813.jpg
http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d200/ptsideshow/Names%20and%20Models/DSC02795.jpg

Doc Nickel
10-10-2011, 11:27 PM
Thanks, GB! That's exactly what I was hoping to find out.

Did you just belt-sand the surfaces, or were they milled or surface-ground?

As I said, I was thinking of doing the same thing- milling the surfaces that are machined on the real thing, and drilling (and maybe even tapping) a close approximation of the various bolt holes and lifter bores, etc. to make it look a little more realistic. (And to get the cylinder bores to line up a little better. :D )

Maybe even make a tiny set of main caps to go with it, and then bolt it to a scale engine stand.

Doesn't sound like I'd be ruining anything inherently collectible, so that's probably what I'll do.

Doc.

lugnut
10-10-2011, 11:43 PM
Cool little engine block, now you will have to finish it! check out this link to a small V-8 engine and get to work. http://www.homemodelenginemachinist.com/index.php?topic=15608.0 :)

gambler
10-10-2011, 11:58 PM
that really cool, I'll give you 20 bucks for it as is and pay shipping too. nice find, wish I had seen that.:)

Hogridnfool
10-11-2011, 01:09 AM
SGW; Very true, but that doesn't say much for this particular item.

I suppose I can infer from the eBay auction itself that it's not particularly valuable, else there'd be more than just the one bid. But then again, I've seen more valuable stuff go for cheap because of a mislabelled or misspelled auction...

Hog; Are you just assuming it's that plant because of the "Cadilac' name? Or have you seen them cast similar things?

I'm wondering how the seller knows it's a "Cadilac". The engine doesn't look like a Cadillac block, either the 70s 472/500 era or the earlier 390 style (and it's sure as hell not a Northstar. :D )

Essentially my question is would I destroy any collector's value if I were to machine and modify it.

Doc.The EBAY sellers ad said that it was poured at Central Foundry, Defiance. A search shows a Central Foundry in Defiance, OH. My link shows that foundry to be a division of GM. I see that is a casting of a Ford small block. I don't know why a GM foundry would produce castings of their competitions engines and I don't understand why the seller put the word ("Cadilac") in the ad.

rode2rouen
10-11-2011, 07:50 AM
I don't know why a GM foundry would produce castings of their competitions engines and I don't understand why the seller put the word ("Cadilac") in the ad.


Wow, this may be the first time an Ebay seller was clueless about the item they were auctioning off! :rolleyes:


Rex

vpt
10-11-2011, 08:57 AM
Now you just have to wait for the auction for the heads.

gbritnell
10-11-2011, 09:02 AM
Hi Doc,
They made so many of them they had a fixture that the rough casting was put into and then it was held against a disc sander. After the head faces, end faces and pan rail were sanded it went into another fixture to ream the bores.
The casting is pretty darn close to scale so you could put a lot of the holes in it to match a 302, or then you could just make one of these. LOL.
gbritnell
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v43/gbritnell/302%20FORD%20V8/302u.jpg

ZINOM
10-11-2011, 10:08 AM
Back when I played with cars I would have LOVED (and probably paid too much for) something like that.

Neat find, thanks for sharing.

John

panchula
10-11-2011, 07:33 PM
Buick 350's had the distributor in front. Interestingly, I had a friend who had a '76 Chevy (red, white and blue interior Bicentennial edition) C-10 shortbed with a Buick 350 from the factory.

-Mike

gary350
10-11-2011, 08:07 PM
Your suppose to build a real engine out of that block. Look at the video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9zt3SF_Flc