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VIN #s' 1933 Ford - Have ?'s

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 392HEMI4SPEED, Dec 2, 2007.

  1. 392HEMI4SPEED
    Joined: May 3, 2007
    Posts: 604

    from Wisconsin

    First question, where should I look on my 1933 Ford 5 Window to find the VIN#. I know where to find it all over the 60's to 70's Fords but not the 33 I have here.

    Now I do not have the car stored at my house, so I cannot look at it at this time, but I do have the title. The VIN# on the title reads
    405000. Now I do not think there were 405,000 of these babies made, so do you think this is the 405th 1933 Ford 5W made?
  2. turdytoo
    Joined: May 14, 2007
    Posts: 1,560


    I'm gonna say the 40 is for model 40 and so on such as 18- or b-.
  3. ...number should be on top of framerail near steering box; should be a star shaped stamp first ,then the no. then another star.
    Dave Mc likes this.
  4. ss34coupe
    Joined: May 13, 2007
    Posts: 4,103


    rusty 1 has it right. the VIN is stamped into the left framerail (topside) just before the cowl. At least that is the stock location. If your car has been re-registered, a number could be stamped just about anywhere.
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  5. 392HEMI4SPEED
    Joined: May 3, 2007
    Posts: 604

    from Wisconsin

    The last registration was in 1991 but it was never made road worthy before or after that time. Before 1991, the guy that I bought it from had the original title from 1933, but the DMV would not let him keep it and issued him a new one in 1991. I'm curious if anyone can break down what the VIN# is. Interested in if it is, or parts of it is, a consecutive unit number.
  6. Randy P
    Joined: Oct 3, 2006
    Posts: 411

    Randy P
    from Austin, TX

    Ford started the V8 sequence of serial numbers in 1932 and carried that sequence for a number of years. The "18-" is just a prefix and designates it as a V8 chassis, the numbers after the dash are the sequential serial number. The first 1932 Ford V8 started at "18-1" and went through "18-212238". The first 1933 Ford V8 started at "18-561592". Your title with the sequential serial number of "405000", or as the frame is probably stamped "18-405000", was produced by Ford in July of 1933. As with most early Ford stuff, it wasn't always consistent and there were some '33s and '34s that were stamped with a "40-" prefix instead of the 18, to designate the 1933-34 Model 40 as opposed to the Model 18 for the Deuce V8. I'm not exactly sure when Ford eliminated the 18 prefix but it was some time after 1939 or 1940. Hope this makes sense to you. The 4 cylinder serial numbers were a whole different ballgame, as they sort of continued the Model A sequential numbers. I say sort of because there were slightly less than 5,000,000 Model A's built but the serial numbers for 1932 4 cylinders began at 5,000,000 on November 29 of 1931. Most of this information is from the book "The Early Ford V8 as Henry Built It, a Production Facts Book 1932-38" by Edward Francis and Beverly DeAngelis. They credit their source as actual Ford production records. So, it appears that your title has a correct 1933 serial number on it.
  7. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,682

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member Emeritus

    The "18" prefix lasted as long as the 221 engine in USA production, until 1942 and presumably through the war. Starting in 1939 and then through 1948, any vehicle with a 239 got a 99 in the prefix. After 239 became standard across the lines, they added in a letter to indicate Ford, truck, or Merc chassis, and late ones got a year number. 799A would be a '47 239 Ford passenger.
    Aside from engine type and sequence of production number, there is NO other info in a Ford number except for the extra letter and number stuff used after the 239 came along. Fords after 1948 got a serial plate with the beginnings of modern type info on plant, body, etc.
  8. Rusty Springs
    Joined: Dec 3, 2007
    Posts: 54

    Rusty Springs
    from SouthTexas

    Thanks for the info Latemodel34 on serial numbers....

  9. Elrod
    Joined: Aug 7, 2002
    Posts: 3,557


    Bringing up an old post. I have a 1933 frame with a "40" prefix in the VIN...
    So does that suggest a 4 cyl car originally?
  10. I have heard of a few vehicles showing up with a prefix of “40" but it was not the standard practice. Any chance you are reading the first two digits of the sequential number and assuming it is the prefix? The sequential number should be between 212239 and 561592 thus the first two digits of the sequential number could be “40”). What is the whole number (use XXX for the last 3 digits). The 4 cylinder vehicles should have a prefix of “B” and a sequential number between 5179580 and 5263534 (they started numbering with 5 million). Note the number should be three places on the frame, see

    Charlie Stephens
  11. Elrod
    Joined: Aug 7, 2002
    Posts: 3,557


    Here is the picture. Not reading the number wrong. The 306XXX is also halfway down the frame and again a third time on the kick up over the rear axle.



  12. That definitely looks like a number stamped by the factory. Where are you located (I thought the location in your profile was just a joke, Dallas Texas upside down, but now I am beginning to think I might be seeing something in another language, Russian)? Foreign plants may have been different? Another thing to note is that the star in the center of the number was never used on US produced vehicles, the stars only appeared at the beginning and end of the number. You only find a dash or a dash with arrows on both ends. within the number. Try posting your question in the V8 section of, including the photo. Be sure to post your location.

    Charlie Stephens
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2016
  13. 33highboy
    Joined: Jun 22, 2013
    Posts: 51

    from Florida

    another quick question, do the number 1's look like a capital I
  14. I'm wondering if the original poster had a "reissued" serial number from his state.
  15. 3blapcam
    Joined: Jul 15, 2004
    Posts: 526

    from Austin, TX

    My '33 VIN is of the Star 40 Star type... did we ever figure out what that meant? Are these Canadian frames/cars or something?

    I went to Fordbarn and did a few quick searches and for whatever reason when I put VIN in the search, nothing showed up.
  16. Johnboy34
    Joined: Jul 12, 2011
    Posts: 1,214

    from Seattle,Wa

    There is a good write-up on the number "40" and "18" prefix to the 33 and 34 vin number in the V8 club 34 Ford book. ( ) Also about some cars had no prefixes, Canadian and export prefixes, and different assembly line people and times.
  17. 34Larry
    Joined: Apr 25, 2011
    Posts: 1,237


    ss34Coupe is correct. I found mine where he said but it was very faint. I took the body off the frame for the first time in 65 years when I had to rework and box it and found it by mistake when cleaning and sanding it down for paint. It's painted over now and not visible but I know where it is if I ever have to prove it. In the shot below notice the temp 2 x 4 set up for engine test on the frame rail left side. Your Vin will be right in that area someplace. 100_0132.jpg
  18. justpassinthru
    Joined: Jul 23, 2010
    Posts: 260


    To quote Bruce Lancaster from another post about the style of serial number fonts.
    "The number style changed in early 1931. Most Model A's had "1" and conventional looking 6 and 9, later 1931's and V8's got "I" and the 6's and 9's had straight tails.
    The 1931 service bulletin shows a complete set of each and tells the dealers to buy the new ones...
    There were reminders in service bulletins in 1937 and again in 1940, Ford whining about dealers still using the early style and potentially causing legal troubles for customers whose numbers would not match the reference books. The whole font is shown again in 1940, subject 6000 p22...
    Some sites misinterpret the later bulletins as referring to something new in '37 or '40...the "new" numbers referred to are the 1931 set because there were dealers who never updated from the Model A simple style. Note the KRW number given: set A-404-B, with the A here referring to a tool released in the Model A era.
    Reality shows variants and mistakes of all sorts, dealer and factory, but I is what was intended for '32's and almost all will show that"

    With that said, the #6 font in your number would be incorrect for 1933.

    I have the actual KR Wilson service bulletin from 1931 and will post it as soon as I can find it.

    Joined: Apr 23, 2006
    Posts: 678

    from central NY

    These are the matching numbers from the frame and trans on my 33 5wdw
  20. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 15,510


    Don't take the number changeover in 1931 as gospel. My little brother has a 1932 coupe built in the Twin Cities plant with the early style numbers stamps still on it. We recently saw the same early stamps in all three spots on the left frame rail. So, at least one of the assembly plants wasn't up to speed.

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