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1938 Special firewall name plate


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If you look in the standard catalog of Buick 3rd edition a 38-44 is a 2 door sedan. My car is a 4 door sedan with dual sidemounts. Does the body no. L1917 mean its a 6 wheeler?

No a 6wheel car will have"6W" stamped on the tag in some but not all factory 6wheel cars

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It can get confusing at times. You are correct a 1938 model 44 is a 2 door slant back. If the data plate had 38-4401 (Fisher body number) it would be a 1938 Special with a 2 door slant back body. The confusion is caused because of Fisher and Buick numbers. The 38-4419 (Fisher body number) means it is a 1938 4 door touring sedan.

Thanks Sean, I should have caught that.


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  • 5 months later...

Hi together,

On my '38 Special Tag is for the Style No. : 38- 4427 B

Normally i must have 38-46.

But my Car is,I think, a Buisiness Coupe,not a Opera Coupe.(nothing looks like rear Side Seats)

Anybody know what's the Problem with the wrong Tags ?

The Rivets looks for me like the original ones ..

The outer Paint is Original in dark green, is it correct for this Paint No. ?

Any suggestions ?

Here is a Pic from my Tag :


Thanks Guys

Edited by jenz38 (see edit history)
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I'm not an expert so hopefully someone else can confirm my information. According to a book I have your tag would confirm your suspicion.

38-4427B (I agree your tag looks like an 8) would be a Special Business Coupe-Plain Back 38-4427 would be the Special Sport Coupe with Opera Seats

400- is Tan Bedford Cloth and the 521 is Homer Grey


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Hi Carl,


Yes it looks like that Car. For Opera Seats I can't find any signs in the Car for that option.

The naked wooden Wall looks like the original one.

Do you have a list for what it means behind the 44 ?

I wouldn't get smart out of my Manual ,here my Model must be a 38-46...


Thanks ahead Guys

  • Thanks 1
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Buick model 46 = Fisher body style 4427B (2-door business coupe - plain back)

Buick model 46S = Fisher body style 4427 (2-door sport coupe with opera seats)

Model charts (Buick model number vs Fisher body style number), paint codes, and trim codes can be found in the attached file.

Paint 521 = Homer Grey

Trim 400 = Tan Bedford Cord

Production information for 1903-1980 is in the PDF in this post:


1930-1955 Buick Master Chassis Parts Book.pdf

Edited by sean1997 (see edit history)
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Remember, Fisher built bodies for all GM divisions, so they needed a numbering system that was more flexible than just a model number. The Fisher body style number can be broken down like this:


4 = GM division = Buick (1=Chevy, 2=Pontiac, 3=Olds, 6=Cadillac)

4 = Series 40 = Special

For 1938 Series 60=Century, Series 80=Roadmaster, Series 90=Limited

For other years Series 50=Super, Series 70=Roadmaster, Series 80=Limited

27B = body style = 2-door business coupe - plain back, 2-passenger

The Buick model number would sometimes be hand stamped in the space provided (see attached pictures), but not always as can be seen from your cars body tag.



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Yes, in 1938 La Salle was 5. Some of the division numbers depend on the year and country, so 5 may have been used again later, but I'n not sure. Here are a few others:

1 = Chevy (cars and truck, US and Canada), Maple Leaf trucks (Canada)

7 = Fleetwood and then Canadian Pontiac and Acadian

8 = Beaumont (Canada)

9 = GMC trucks

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