Recently I picked up an interesting and unique old Pontiac V8, a 10:1 compression 1959 280 HP 2-barrel 389. It was originally equipped with the 529472 letter stamp 'D' cam, the same profile as the 9779066 'N' cam (273/282 advertised duration, .406"/.406" lift). This same '472' cam was used in the 10:1 300 HP 4-barrel engines as well as the 10.5:1 315 HP Tri-Power engines in 1959. Not sure what I will do with it at this point, but it certainly was worth picking up just to explore the differences between it and the later Pontiac V8s. The 1959 389 block is among the thicker Pontiac block castings if not the thickest. It has extra reinforcements cast into the oil pan rail area on the passenger side and is of higher nickel content than later blocks if I'm not mistaken. The 2-bolt main caps are also about 1/4" thicker than the caps on later engines. This 389 could very well end up as the basis for a late '50s/early '60s hot rod engine project in the future. This was the first year of the 389 and the last year for reverse-flow cooling. These engines pipe water through the front of the cylinder heads first, then through the block. It was also the first year Pontiac used side engine mounts. The engine code 'A' stamped in the front of the block just below the passenger side cylinder head indicates this engine is a 10:1 compression 2-barrel 280 HP version. The '295746' following the 'A' is the Motor Unit Number or MUN. Block casting # on the passenger side 532000 confirms it's a 1959 389 block. Here you can see the water inlets on the front the the heads and the cast iron timing cover with the corresponding water outlets on either side. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it looked to be mostly intact after 56 years. Other than a few spliced hoses and various small repairs that kept it running over the years it looks to have retained all of the original equipment. Cylinder head casting # 531395 was used on all 1959 389 engines. Like all Pontiac heads they featured fully machined combustion chambers. The stamped steel rocker arms were oiled through hollow rocker arm studs that were fed by a long oil passage cast into the heads. Valves sizes are 1.88"/1.60" for the intake and exhaust. Water pump casting # 518040. This is a 4-bolt pump that was used until the 8-bolt pump and timing cover was introduced in 1963 and used until 1967. A road draft tube was used on these engines before a PCV valve was standard equipment, this one is still in perfect shape. Intake manifold casting # 532119. Note the unusual engine lifting loop that was cast into the front of the intake itself. What looks to be the original 2-barrel carb. Both exhaust manifolds are still intact, the passenger side manifold has an interesting cast iron 'Y' connection bolted to it for both sides to feed into a single exhaust. The original canister oil filter has been replaced with a later spin-on filter. The Dual-Coupling Hydra-Matic trans is very heavy at over 200 pounds, most of the trans case is cast iron. In order to use a 1964 or later BOP pattern trans you must either buy or make an adapter. The trans is held to the block with big 7/16-14 threaded bolts, it wasn't until 1964 that 3/8-16 bolts were used here. First gear is a low 3.97. Even the 2.55 second gear is steeper than 1st in most 3 speed autos. The transmission is "locked up" once in second gear and uses a unique split torque design that's incredibly efficient. Dual band/dual couplings were the most efficient automatic transmissions around until lockup torque converter trannys became common in the 1980's. This 389 looks to be a runner as-is with a little clean-up and inspection, it turns over freely by hand and feels like it still has some compression. It's only 56 years old and looks to have been kept out of the elements, by all indications it looks like it should be able to come back to life. Rebuild the carb, put some new oil in the pan and a new oil filter, squirt a little Marvel Mystery Oil down the cylinders, prime the oil passages and bearings by driving the oil pump counter-clockwise using a tool made from an old distributor, pull the valve covers and oil up the rockers. First of the 389s and still 99% complete, a great score for a Pontiac guy.