How to Identify Mopar Big Block Engines

Can you recognize a Mopar big block? Know the difference between a 392 Hemi and a 426? Don’t you know we’ve got you covered even if you don’t currently possess that useful knowledge? While in Colorado shooting the fantastic “Broughammer” episode of Roadkill, Freiburger spotted a low-mile ‘69 Plymouth Satellite in Andy Moss’  car lot and dished out some classic Chrysler, Dodge, and Plymouth—Mopar, that is—V8 knowledge including how to identify them. The location of the distributor gives away a Mopar small-block or big-block designation right away: On small-block (A- and LA-series) Mopars, the distributor is at the back of the engine while it sits angled at the front of big-block (B- and RB-series) engines. Hemis, of course, have those marvelous big valvecovers with the spark plug wires sticking through the centers of them, but beware! The early Hemis (331, 392 and the like) were more closely related to the later small blocks, and have the distributor in the back. So tricky!

Quick! Name the engine, and the Freiburger car it went into.

If it’s a Mopar big-block wedge, further identification is just a matter of looking for a stamped pad on the engine with identifying information: On a B-series engine, it should be on the passenger-side next to the distributor on top of the block while tall-deck RB (those desirable 413, 426, and 440 wedge) engines have a similar pad on the driver’s side of the engine at the top and front of the block.

You can check out Freiburger’s Mopar V8 spotter guide Roadkill Extra episode on Motor Trend On Demand to get the info straight from him and to hear his assorted other musings about his favorite Mopar engines.

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