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I am looking into buying my first muscle car project. I have found a "1971" Plymouth Satellite for sale in my area and had a few questions. It is the base 318 model and in '71 came with 230 hp while in '72 it was cut down to 150 hp. I was wondering if there is any way to tell the difference between a '71 satellite froma '72 other than looking at the vin #. Also if I were to pop the hood where would I find the VIN on the engine block to be sure that it is either the original engine or at least a '71 318? Any advice on what else to look for and general resto tips?

If this is already a forum discussion feel free to just post a link. Thanks for your time and help!
 

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"The last digits of the VIN is also stamped on the engine, along the oil pan, passenger side about half way." - from a Google search.

The derating from 230 hp to 150 hp was partially real - emissions standards required different cam profiles/valve timing, ignition timing, etc which reduced power. But also, the 1971 numbers were gross hp ratings (engine on a stand with no accessories attached) vs brake or net hp (with accessories attached). So it's really not a true 80 hp loss. The 1971 might have had a net hp rating of, say, about 190 hp or so.

As you probably know, the 6th digit of the VIN is the year, the 5th digit is the engine code. So a 1971 would have a "1" in the 6th digit place, a 1972 would have a "2".
 

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The main exterior styling difference is going to be the side marker lights. 1971 side markers are recessed into the front fender and rear quarter and appear split into 3rds while the 1972 is a simpler light screwed onto the exterior of the front fender and rear quarter.

There is less difference between the 1971 230hp engine and the 1972 150hp engine than it appears. The largest difference is the 1971 figure you give is gross horsepower and the 1972 is net horsepower. The actual ouput will be very similar, it is just a different rating system.

You can identify the engine as original to the car by looking for the partial VIN stamped on the rail above the oil pan. There will also be date stamps on the engine block. Since 1971 production ended around August 1971, the block should be sometime before that.
 

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Either model year Satellite would be worth having if the body is decent; the 4 door sedans have a big following with the vintage cop car 'gang', even if just 318 powered since many city patrol cars ran that size motor when new. :)
 

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Can you update on the project? Do you have the car now? I own a '71 and did a restoration on it. My brother owns a '73. I'll be glad to help in any way I can.
 

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Didn't electronic ignition get added in '72? That would be my preference.

As Valiant says.....
The H.P. numbers aren't a de-rating, but rather a new government "net" rating. I remember our '72 Chrysler with a 400 was rated at only 190 hp
but ran better than our previous "C body" 383s.
And our '71 318 Satellite Sebring Plus would take my uncle's 350 Chevelle off the line and right up to 60 mph. Every time!
 
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