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Roger Walling

1938 Buick serial number

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I have a question about a 1938 Buick serial number.

I read mine as "1332772I"

My title company stated that the correct # should be "13327721"

They said that buick in that year did not end the # with a letter. Who is correct them or me?

Thank You, Roger.

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Hi Roger,

your title company is correct, Buick never ended serial numbers with a letter, at least not from 1924 and onwards. My car´s serial number is 13301204, some 26500 units earlier than yours. Serial number for 1938 started at 13219848 for all cars like yours and mine made in Flint. The other two plants, Linden and South Gate had other serial number starts, Linden from 33245765 and South Gate from 23238767.

Regards

Mats Ahrin,

Buick 1938 model 80-C

Sweden

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Thank you Mats, I am at a loss and wonder why my serial # clearly is written "1332772I".

With the last letter/numeral is clearly different than the first one. (1 V/S I) (The last letter/ number is the roman numeral one)

Roger

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My understanding is that occasionally letters would interchange for numbers on the punches - l for 1, b for 6 or 9, E for 3. I don't recall hearing an exact reasoning for it though...that doesn't mean there isn't a good explanation though.

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I have seen serial numbers on a lot of things though the years. And I have seen some strange combinations at times. An educated guess would be that the serial number dies would sometimes break. And rather than stop production a letter or number would be subsituted for the broken one. Also, being that the numbers/letters were constantly changing there is always an element of human error.

Something that I worked on a number of years ago had a number "7" upside down. I can't remember what now? Tractor, engine, bulldozer??? Whatever it was, it was that "mistake" that stuck in my mind. smile.gif Dave!

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Dear Roger:

Your title company is correct. The first digit is a 1 which tells you that the car was built at Flint. 1938 was the first year that there was a plant identifier in the frame number. 2 is for Southgate, CA. and 3 is Linden, NJ.

The balance of the number 3,327,721 is the actual frame number and the last number is a 1, not an I, even though this is a very common Buick stamping error.

It should be noted that once you get past the first digit, Buick never duplicates a frame number.

I hope this helps explain how these numbers work. For reference, this number was used on a March, 1938 vehicle.

Regards, Dave Corbin

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