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1948 Serial Number Verification


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A friend contacted me today about a problem he is having with NC DMV about transfering at title to a '48 Roadmaster to him. NC DMV will not issue a title in his name because Buick attached the serial number plate to the body with screws not rivets. They are insisting on seeing the serial number on the frame. All my research shows that the only serial number attached to the car is on the data plate on the side of the cowl. The screws holding the plate are correct, as I've documented it on three unrestored '47 and '49 Buicks.

I'm looking for factory documentation that the serial number plate is attached with screws. Any help is appreciated.

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Is Dr. Corbin in the House?

Same friend of 61Polara needs to confirm that his '48 Buick has a S/N plate attached with screws.

Beyond that, DMV wants to see a number on the frame, but nothing I have points to a frame

number location for '48. Also, are the frame numbers different than the cowl S/N on '47-'48's?

If not, where is the S/N on the '47-48 frame? (I know where to find it on a '49 frame).


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From what I read there are two locations for the ID... one on the cowl and the other on the left front door pillar. Earlier Buick's had them on the frame behind the left wheel on the side of the frame and also behind the battery on top of the frame.

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X-Frame, if you're using info from a Red Book (which I trust implicitly), this is one of those instances where more verification is needed. My April, 1948 issue notes the one S/N location on the cowl (at the beginning of the Buick section that lists '47 and earlier data) and makes no mention of a frame number location. The still "new" '48's are listed in the blue section.

61Polara is using a 1949 issue with S/N locations on the door jamb and frame member extension, indicating a change between these two very diferent years (except for Series 40). His '47 Buick's cowl plate (no other S/N location) and his '49's S/N on the door jamb confirm this change (plus a 2nd '47 in storage).

All three use screws to attach the S/N plate so let's hope DMV will acceot photos of the 3 plates as proof.

The reason I'd like Dave Corbin to weigh in is that he extrapolates his amazing conclusions from Serial, Motor and Frame numbers, but I don't know when they started matching S/N and frame Numbers. If DMV sees a number on the frame that doesn't match that on the '48's cowl, that'll be a red flag.

If anyone has a BCA Judging Manual handy, can you check and see if the S/N plate screws are mentioned?



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The owner of the '48 has not been back to DMV. I sent him three photos of '47 - '49 Buicks all showing the same style screws holding the plate on. Also sent him a scan of the '48 Red Book which says the s/n on '41-'48 is in one location only, on the cowl. He believes this will work and will let me know after his next visit to DMV.

Also, there appears to be an error in the Red Books starting in 1949. The '49 and later books indicate an additional s/n location on the '41-'48 Buicks that was not documented in the '48 and earlier books.

I'll let everyone know what the DMV says.


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  • 2 months later...

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