Ford Casting numbers do have some meaning. For a 460 head, the numbers should read (most likely) like this:
V=Lincoln line (the 460 was orignally a Lincoln engine)
This is an engineering code, not a date of manufacture code. You will see D1 blocks and D3 heads in late '70s trucks, because they didn't change the engineering codes.
Try searching on the Internet for "Ford casting numbers" or "Ford date codes" and the like.
The date codes are going to be cast somewhere else, and I am unsure how to decode them. Someone else should be able to help out in that regard.
The casting # is located (on the head) directly above the third exhaust port from the left, in most cases. Some late heads have the codes in other places.
The most commonly found ones are:
C8VE, C9VE, D0VE- all more or less identical & equal, with smaller 75 cc (give or take)chambers, quench surfaces
D2VE- dramatically enlarged chambers to cut compression, no quench surface, prone to detonation
D3VE- similar to C8VE, etc., in terms of the ports & chamber design, but the chamber is "lowered" or recessed into the head roughly .100, which makes the chamber around 92-97 cc & alters the port angles slightly as a result.
Pistons can be gotten for either the early C8VE/C9VE/D0VE or the D3VE chambers. Either head design can work well, with the earlier heads having a slight edge in fully ported, max effort trim. OTOH, D3VE heads are very easy & cheap to find.
Other heads are the D0OE Cobra Jet & D2OE Police Interceptor heads, but they are not very common. There are also occasionally oddball numbers reported such as D4VE & the like which are the equivalent of the D3VE head. Any head with a first letter of E is a EFI head which is not compatible with carb intakes.
Homespun: I have a question about your comment on E- coded 460 heads. Did I correctly read your message to say that a casting such as E6 is an EFI head?
If so, I must disagree with you. There are E3, E5, E6 and E7 heads, all for carburated intakes. I have E6s on my 460 right now, with an Edelbrock Performer intake. These were all made for 1980s vehicles, before fuel injection was utilized.
A carburated 460 was available for model as late as '87 for some heavy duty trucks. Apparently, their weight class didn't yet require FI to meet some or all of the smog standards. I don't know all the details of the weight divisions and smog requirements therefore, but I have dissected several like this, and have seen those casting numbers on carburated engines.
The location for these casting numbers on these heads changed, too. It is underneath the head, on a beveled plane. To see these casting numbers with the head installed on the engine, you have to use a small mirror to see it.
banjopicker nice catch, but the E7 heads are the first of the fuelie heads but your right on all the rest of the E# casting bieng for carbed engines. Yes the 87 motor homes could be had with carbs but if you look they still had the E6 or even the D3VE casting numbers on them.
Maybe it was a poorly cast 2 then. I haven't seen an E-2 before, though.
But then, my experience is limited to what I have seen, and I am relatively new to the 385 series; most of my earlier experience was with FEs.
The casting date codes are easy to spot and decode.
On the 429/460 they are located in the oil galley and look something like this.
This decodes into November 24th 1973.
Because the 429/460 was first built in 1968 we know the year of the decade can't 1963.
Therefore in this case 3 is the year 1973
L is the month
24 is the day.
Month codes are
A - January
B - February
E - May
F - June
G - July
H - August
J - September
K - October
L - Novemebr