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I have been looking online and have yet to find a comprehensive guide to understanding the various numbers on my 1937 Buick Century. Ive been able to find some based on information in other peoples posts on various forums, but where the information is coming from... that I have not been able to find.

Can anyone advise?

Here is what I have found thus far:

from the original owner identification card:

Model 37-61 Sedan delivered March 8, 1937 Highland, Illiniois

frame number: 3089078 (Same I found on the bottom frame) From other posts and my shop manual I see that there were 2,999,497 made by the start of 1937... which means that 89,581 were made between the first and mine...I think...

Key number 8408 (Can I still get keys made with this number?!? I cant seem to get the glovebox to unlock! lol)

Engine no: 63241202 (I am not sure that this is the same number as found on my engine.... see photograph... is this the right place to be looking?) I see plenty of numbers on the exhaust manifold pieces as well... not sure if they are useful.. If I am looking in the correct place, the numbers on my engine have GM over them and then 129 591 2

I note that the top cover does not have the same printing as I have seen on other straight eight engines... those seem to be blue with the red writing where mine is all black ... could it be because the engine has been changed?)


From the vehicle/see photos:

Style 37-4619

Body 6138

Trim 3?0

Paint 500





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The numbers you are showing are just casting and part numbers, not the true engine number.

The engine number is stamped on a area just below the distributor. It should be 4-31XXXXXXX or a 6-31XXXXXX.

From the trim plate (Left hand photo) the only number I can find is your color which is Imperial Black.

As far as the writing on the valve cover, Buick used different colors to identify different years or features.

So it may be correct, for example my 47 & my 40 are totally different because my 50 has hydraulick lifters.

I dont know what yours should be though.

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Frame serial number:

3089078 = sequential number, range was 2,999,497 to 3,219,843

(frame numbers were assigned to the three plants in blocks, so the sequential number does not necessarily indicate the actual build order, just that there were 89,581 numbers assigned before yours)

Engine serial number:


6 = Series 60/Century

3241202 = sequential number, range was 3,176,225 to 3,388,399

Body tag:



1937 MOD.

STYLE No. 37-4619

BODY No. 6138

TRIM No. 310

PAINT No. 500



1937 = 1937 model year

MOD. = Buick model, not listed but should be 61 = 4-door sedan - trunk back, 6-passenger

STYLE No. 37-4619 = Fisher body style number

37 = 1937 model year

4619= Fisher body style number

4 = Buick

6 = Series 60 (Century)

19 = 4-door sedan - trunk back, 6-passenger

BODY No. 6138

(lack of plant code before body number indicates body was built at Flint, MI)

6138 = 6138th 4619 built at Flint, MI

TRIM No. 310 = Taupe Mohair Fabric

Available on Model 61, 64, 66S, 67, 68

PAINT No. 500 = Imperial Black

Edited by sean1997 (see edit history)
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There isn't a single source for everything. I've been compiling information for years and still don't have a complete list for somethings. Another problem is that ALL sources contain errors (yes, even those by Buick or the BCA), so it's better to use multiple sources. For paint codes you can use the BCA Judging Manual:

BCA Judging Manual (see page 44):


For trim codes see my trim code list:


These would be a few of the other sources:

Buick Master Chassis Parts Book 1930-1955, Buick Motor Division, General Motors Corporation, Flint Michigan, 1955.

Buick Prices, Colors, Equipment, Accessories, and Terms, Buick Motor Division, General Motors Corporation, Flint Michigan, 1937.

Buick Wholesale Car Order Form, General Motors Corporation, Flint Michigan, 1937.


"The Buick, A Complete History, Revised Sixth Edition", Automobile Heritage Publishing and Communications, LLC, 2005.

Dammann, George H., "Seventy Years of Buick, Revised Edition".

Gunnel, John. “Standard Catalog of Buick, 1903-2004, 3rd Edition”, 2004. (Note: contains many errors)

Brigham, Grace. "The Serial Number Book for U.S. Cars 1900-1975", Motorbooks International, 1979.

Heasley, Jerry. "The Production Figure Book for U.S. Cars", Motorbooks International, 1977.

Branham Automobile Reference Book, 1938, 1939, 1940.

Red Book National Market Reports Inc., 1940.

Paint chips, 1937


Edited by sean1997 (see edit history)
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Nobody has addressed your question about the key code. GM used Briggs and Stratton locks for many years. Any old time locksmith shop should be able to cut a key with the code number. Maybe a GM dealer that has been around since the fifties still has a key cutter and could do it for you.

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  • 5 years later...

Yes, it's an engine serial number, which was used as the VIN by many states back in the day.  Looks like a previous owner didn't know it was the engine serial number and stamped it on a tag.  Not the first time I've seen someone do that because they were unaware it was the engine serial number.  Also possible that they swapped engines and discovered that the old engine serial number was used as the VIN only after they made the swap and then made a tag to match the title.  It would be good to check the engine serial number of the engine currently in the car.

4 = Series 40/Special
3526823 = sequential number, range for 1938 was 3,396,937 to 3,572,651

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Thanks for your help.  The car no longer has the original engine. It has been restomod- makes me suspicion of the legality of a title for a car with a handmade vin plate for an engine number for a car without that engine. LOL 

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52 minutes ago, Hinmon said:

I have a straight 8 with a serial number stamped 70746784.  I can’t find it anyplace in the books to tell me about it. Can anyone help

frank. 661-809-7994


 Frank, can you get a picture of the number?  Does the 6  look more like a b? It should if it is an original stamping.



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7074678 = sequential number, starting at 6950620 for 1953 (last year for straight 😎
4 = Series 40/Special (starting in 1942 Buick put the series digit at the end of the serial number)

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  • 1 month later...

Engine numbers for 1937 start at 3001000

8 = 80 series

33198805 is in the 1937 range

To me those numbers are not stamped in the normal Buick way.  Maybe a restamped engine


Chassis numbers for 1937 start at 2830899

3160662 is in the 1937 range

Chassis numbers for 1938 start at 3219848


Edited by 1939_Buick (see edit history)
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