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Need help with Mexican Buick and Cadillac

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Hi . . . I was taking care of a friend's dog in West Hollywood, so this recent LA transplant took the opportunity to walk along Sunset Boulevard. I found this 1941 Buick in a gas station and had to take a look. Noting the Mexican plates, I took a look inside and saw the speedo was in kilometers. Wow!

I chatted with the proprietors and they said it was a friend's and it was a '38 (I corrected them). I then asked them if I could take some pics. They were very willing and I was very thankful for that because, y'know, sometimes people can be weird (as well as people like me having ulterior motives).

They told me the same guy owned the 1955 Cadillac on the lot and yes, the speedo was in kmh as well - cool!

I sent the pics to my friend (who's a member here), who told me the following:

The Century is a bit of a mystery. Officially, it does not seem to be a factory export model, because the body number is too high...only 109 Model 61X four-door sedans were made, while 15,027 non-export were built. The data plate is bent down, concealing the model number, which would be 61X for an export car, 61 for a regular Century. The style number, 41-4609 is correct for the series and model. The GM export situation is rather confusing. There were cars built for export and sold through the export organization, but there were also cars exported that did not for one reason or another go through the export sales company. This must be one of those cars. There were also Canadian Buicks, but they were still produced by GM of Canada and were technically McLaughlin Buicks. (There is a possibility they did not build the large series models, though, so this could still be a car built in the US for the Canadian market.) The kilometer speedometer is incredibly cool! The data plate has the correct rivets, but the serial number strip should be attached differently...not with screws. The number, however, is a 1941 Flint-built Buick number and looks to me like it falls generally in the early months of the model year range, which would be consistent with the body number. The color code 571 is for English Green, which the car apparently remains.

He then followed up with this:

Just one more thought on the '41 Century...it might have been assembled in Mexico. Attached is part of a story from GM World magazine about the GM assembly operation there in 1940. Sub-assemblies and parts were shipped from the US in crates with assembly finished in the plant. These cars may have had regular Fisher Body plates, or not. Almost certainly, the Century was at least ordered through the GM de Mexico operation.

However, look at the Cadillac's data plate. Strange, eh? Here's what my friend said:

The Cadillac with the blank data plate is also a mystery. It looks like there might be another plate the left of it that might have some addition info? The blank data plate kind of rings a bell...I think I've read about another Cadillac that had such a plate. On the other hand, the rivets are non-standard and one is in the wrong place, making me think the plate may have been added after production. It may be there simply to legally prove the car was produced in the US, with the other info being not relevant. A few Cadillac were still sold new outside of the US at the time. I know an elderly guy who worked for Cadillac as a regional manager for the Caribbean area in this period...

Anyone can help with insight beyond my equally enthusiastic friend?

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Your friend is incorrect about the vin plate that is held on by screws. Many Buicks, including three 47' convertibles that have been in my posession and a 47' sedanette had them held on with the same screws. My 48' convertible is riveted.

Still yet, wonderful car!

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Edited by jackofalltrades70 (see edit history)

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I can tell you that Buicks and other GM cars (except Cadillac) were produced in Canada, for the Canadian market and also for export to British Commonwealth countries. It is possible some other export cars were produced in Canada as a matter of convenience. I don't know of any Commonwealth countries that would need a Kilometer speedo at that time. Canada changed to kilometers in 1976.

They did make at least 2 special order, Buick 90 limousines in 1936 for His Royal Highness Kind Edward and for Wallis Simpson. But I don't think they made the biggest Buicks in Canada as a rule.

So, it is at least possible that the Buick was made in Canada but not likely. Especially as all Canadian industries were on a war footing in 1939, more than 2 years before the US. And car production was curtailed if not suspended.

I think you are correct, that most likely the Buick was assembled in Mexico and the Cadillac in Detroit.

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The Buick was built in the US, the Canadian style data plate and serial numbers are completely different (see attached picture). The data plates on this car decode like this:

Frame serial number = 13937264

1 = assembled at Flint, MI

3937264 = sequential number, range for Flint was 3,880,012 to 4,257,441

Body tag:

STYLE No. 41-4609

BODY No. 1981

TRIM No. 907

PAINT No. 571

TOP ACC.

BODY BY FISHER

STYLE No. 41-4609 = Fisher body style number

41 = 1941 model year

4609 = Fisher body style number

4 = Buick

6 = Series 60 (Century)

09 = 4-door touring sedan, 6-passenger

(15,136 built in US, including 109 for export, this does not include Canadian production)

BODY No. 1981

Lack of a body plant code means the body was built at Flint, MI

1981 = 1981th 4609 built at Flint

TRIM No. 907 Grey Bedford Cord (2 Tone)

Available on Model 41SE, 46SSE, 61, 66, 66S, 71, 71C, 76C, 76S, 90, 91, 91F, 90L

PAINT No. 571 = Solid English Green

Hard to say if this is one of the 109 export models. Since Fisher did the body tag, the Buick model number was often not stamped on the tag so I don't know if the export models used a different body number count than the non-export models. In 1949 you could order a kilo speedometer as an option and I would guess the same would be true for 1941 was well (see attached 1949 IBM punch card).

As noted, the screws attaching the serial number plate are correct, see these threads:

http://forums.aaca.org/f162/1948-serial-number-verification-321762.html

http://forums.aaca.org/showthread.php?t=358431&page=2&p=1213335&viewfull=1#post1213335

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Edited by sean1997 (see edit history)

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