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Technical Vintage GM Cowl tag body number.

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by AGELE55, Apr 13, 2021.

  1. AGELE55
    Joined: Jan 4, 2018
    Posts: 398

    AGELE55
    Member

    cowl1953.jpg Is there any issue registering a car using the body number from the cowl tag? As I understand it, the number is unique to the vehicle. I know the frames also had a number, but the original frame may or may not be under the body..
     

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    Last edited: Apr 13, 2021
  2. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,245

    squirrel
    Member

    visit your local DMV and see what they say.

    The body number isn't a "real" serial number...that is on the serial number tag, screwed or spot welded to the driver door hinge pillar.

    I also doubt you'd find a number on the frame on a 53 chevy.
     
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  3. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 7,090

    1971BB427
    Member
    from Oregon

    Don't recall when GM went from VIN numbers on the cowl to putting them on the A pillar? But I think it was post WWII. The frames didn't get stamped until I believe 1955.
    Some states used the engine serial number for the title paperwork, which for us is an issue. I had to trailer my old Austin to DMV before pulling the original 4 banger out, and let them inspect it first. Then they issued a new "assigned vin tag" and told me to install it on the A pillar when I was done with my build. The inspector also told me he "recommended" I stamp the same numbers into the A pillar since the issued tags had double side tape, and "could fall off some day".
     
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  4. AGELE55
    Joined: Jan 4, 2018
    Posts: 398

    AGELE55
    Member

    Oops, the pic I used isn’t my tag. It was just for reference. I’m asking because my 39 IS registered by the body number and my frame number is MIA.
     

  5. AGELE55
    Joined: Jan 4, 2018
    Posts: 398

    AGELE55
    Member

    Yep.. I ran my 55 for years with the wrong VIN. It only got noticed when I moved to another state. The VIN on the title was a partial engine number from a long gone 6 cylinder. Took so me a bunch of homework and DMV headaches to sort it out..
     
  6. H380
    Joined: Sep 20, 2015
    Posts: 466

    H380
    Member
    from Louisiana

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  7. Black Panther
    Joined: Jan 6, 2010
    Posts: 1,817

    Black Panther
    Member
    from SoCal

    What is really interesting is "SPEC" in the paint code area of the tag, meaning it was a special paint car. I don't think I've ever seen a car that early with a custom paint code. What color was it? Many times on a Chevy, the special paint would be Cadillac or some more expensive cars paint color.
     
  8. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,245

    squirrel
    Member

    The 39 Chevy had both a body tag, and the vehicle serial number tag, both attached to the cowl on the pass side, under the hood side. There were two different numbers, and the body tag does not have the vehicle serial number on it. There is no frame number. There was a serial number (different from the one on the serial tag on the cowl) on the original engine, also.

    Yes, I used to have a 39 Chevy. With its original tags intact.

    Sent from my Trimline
     
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  9. 48 Indian Rag
    Joined: Apr 20, 2011
    Posts: 84

    48 Indian Rag
    Member
    from conn

    When I registered my convertible 40 something years ago the owners manual stated that the vehicle ID was stamped on the tag on the firewall and on the top of the block, the motor had been changed before I bought the car. I had a Mass. title [ I'm in Connecticut ] the manual and the firewall tag, the Motor Vehicle inspector was young and didn't think there were enough numbers [3 letters 5 numbers] he gave me a ration of crap how it would have to be trailer-ed to the main inspection station and get a composite registration, after a while he called the main inspector and the guy told him, how many of those things did you think they made? Got my papers and on my way
     
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  10. Rusty J
    Joined: Nov 25, 2019
    Posts: 107

    Rusty J
    Member

    This thread made me think about my 39 project and I went and checked - got the registration papers from the guy I bought the car from so I'll be registering the car before I continue with the build. Thanks for the reminder!
     
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  11. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 30,185

    Mr48chev
    Member

    THIS!!!!!!! What is done in one state has absolutely no reflection on what is done in other states on pre 17 digit actual vin numbers vehicles. They all do things different from each other on how they deal with it now too.

    I don't think the cowl tag from any GM rig will fly as a vin though.
     
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  12. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 7,242

    BJR
    Member

    "Don't recall when GM went from VIN numbers on the cowl to putting them on the A pillar? But I think it was post WWII. The frames didn't get stamped until I believe 1955."
    My 49 Buick frame is stamped with the same number that is on the drivers door post.
     
  13. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,245

    squirrel
    Member

    Chevy and Buick did things differently

    Sent from my Trimline
     
  14. gary macdonald
    Joined: Jan 18, 2021
    Posts: 182

    gary macdonald
    Member

    Florida , before 1955 used the motor number .
     
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  15. AGELE55
    Joined: Jan 4, 2018
    Posts: 398

    AGELE55
    Member

    Well, the car in question is my 39 Pontiac. The pic I used was just one I snagged off the internet because for some reason I didn’t want to post my cowl tag. So from all the replies, I’m gathering there should be no issues down stream as long as Florida DMV is happy using the body number.
     
  16. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,245

    squirrel
    Member

    It sure helps to put all the pertinent info in your first post, you know.

    so we don't go around in circles
     
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  17. AGELE55
    Joined: Jan 4, 2018
    Posts: 398

    AGELE55
    Member

    Yeah...my bad. Seemed like such a simple question...lol. Just wanted to insure the body number is unique to a particular car and not used on more than one vehicle.
     
  18. gary macdonald
    Joined: Jan 18, 2021
    Posts: 182

    gary macdonald
    Member

    The body number could be the same on a few different models in the same make , I think. Florida may still have assigned vin , aspt ( assembled from parts ) rebuilt title . All were available at one time or another , and kit car .
     

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