Quietlion79

Location of hidden VIN(s) on 64 Riviera

Recommended Posts

Hello all, I was wondering if anyone knew where the hidden VIN stamping(s) were on a 64 riviera. I have read that there is one on the upper side of the frame on the driver's side around the middle of the car as well as one that is stamped on the fire wall near where the heater box is?

 

I am going to get my car verified by the CHP soon and I have no reason to believe that the car is anything but clean, as I am the third owner, have a clean title from the second owner who didn't drive it at all and have the original manual with the protect-o plates, other documentation dating back until 1970 as well as the plate on the center console that states it was specifically made for the lady named in all the above documentation (including old registration card). I bought the vehicle from a retire LEO as well. I plan to have a statement of fact written out by the LEO and I don't really forsee any trouble, but I love this car and want to make sure all my "ducks are in a row". I can supply photos if that would help at all. Car is straight and almost rust free white on black with one respray (white is original color), interior is original and in nice shape.

Edited by Quietlion79 (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FWIW-I don't recall the cowl location, but was asked to check the frame spot you mention for a VIN on a '65 I was parting some years ago. The car had a rusty body, but the frame was very good and we couldn't find anything at all-anywhere-good luck!   Dan  Mpls. Mn.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure about the VIN on the frame but the original VIN tag for your car is located in the door jamb on the drivers side.

 

The above is in reference to a 65.  Sorry for the misinformation!!

Edited by Pat Curran (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The are stampings on the frame but they are on the TOP of the frame between the body and the frame itself.  One is on the back end just behind the axle under the trunk area and the other is under the drivers footwell.  Dont know how easy they are going to be to read with the body on.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey all, thanks for the responses!

 

Alini - I appreciate the info. The LEO PO worked in the stolen car division during his time on the force and he said they have mirrors and such to be able to read those VINs on the frame, I just want to be armed with some suggestions in case they have trouble locating them.

 

VIN tag was definitely on the cowl, not the door jamb. The VINs were located there until 65 when they were moved to the doorjamb.

Edited by Quietlion79 (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure about the VIN on the frame but the original VIN tag for your car is located in the door jamb on the drivers side.

In '65 the VIN was moved from the cowl to the jamb.

 

My car is on a lift right now and I've been scraping off old undercoating and 50 years worth of dirt, dust, grease, and grime.  If you're hoping to find a VIN on the frame, you're going to have to know pretty close to where it is, then do some heavy duty cleaning to find it.

 

Hopefully someone can narrow it down for you; if not, you'll have a nice clean frame by the time you finally find it.

 

Ed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Ed,

 

Hopefully the CHP will be patient. I am worried about losing my car! I feel that I have all the evidence necessary to show that the VIN is the same as the replacement VIN plate I had made, but the stamp on the frame would be definite proof.

 

PS- Good luck with your restoration! I plan to do a frame off resto on mine in about 8-10 years, I LOVE driving it around! I've found that for about every 5 "thumbs ups" I get, there is one offer to buy it (7 offers so far and I've only had it since my birthday (7/30)

Edited by Quietlion79 (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I went they my pics to refresh my memory. Between the body and frame just forward of where the parking brake cable goes thru the frame and between body and frame about six inches rear of the second to last body mount. Good

Luck searching thiugh. As Ed stated he has scraped a lot off the accessible point of the frame. This is punches between the body and frame. So hard to clean off

Edited by alini (see edit history)
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yup, sounds like it i will be a task, but those details sure do help. Thank you SO much, Alini. Maybe it would behoove me to do some pre-cleaning before I bring it to the CHP.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My cousin was with the California Hiway Patrol and was assigned to the Department of Motor Vehicles of which he worked in 5 different locations (one location per day for appointments)  they have a book that list where the VIN numbers are located other than the public VIN.  He looked for the VIN on one of my cars and due to age, rust, corrosion had a difficult time in locating it .....He stated: " The GM employee depending on mood, day of the week or other variables, would stamp where-ever he wanted to as long as it was in the general area sometimes as far as 30" from where they were supposed to be.   Good luck in locating it. Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is the engine the original engine for the car?  If you are sure of that, the Engine Serial Number is stamped (not cast) into the machined surface of the block.  It's on the surface where the valley cover sits, at the front, on the driver's side.  If that number matches the VIN number on the title, you should be good to go. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Carbuff2 - *gulp* Well, I hope my car didn't get stamped on a Friday afternoon or something!

 

Ed - Negative, I already checked and was quite crestfallen to discover the engine is not the original 425. I figured it was because the car had so few owners.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure if the Riviera was the same as an Electra or not but my Electra has the VIN stamped into the trunk opening drip rail on the drivers side about half way bewteen the front of the opening and the rear. You will have to pull back the weather strip to see it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Carbuff2 - *gulp* Well, I hope my car didn't get stamped on a Friday afternoon or something!

 

Ed - Negative, I already checked and was quite crestfallen to discover the engine is not the original 425. I figured it was because the car had so few owners.

Like, "bummer man."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had to go through this with a Lincoln Continental convertible a few years ago. The car was titled by the door tag (which specifically says "Not for title or registration purposes") but the door itself was taken from a totally different car, so when we went to title it, it was listed as a blue Continental coupe, not a green Continental 4-door convertible. Um, OK. So I went through this same procedure with the highway patrol here in Ohio. I took the car to their facility and dropped it off, and asked if they wanted me to show them where the VIN was stamped on the car (passenger's side inner fender). They rather brusquely told me, "No, we know where all the secret VINs are." Secret VINs? OK, knock yourself out.

 

Two hours later they came out and asked me to show them where the VIN was.

 

Find it yourself so you can at least be ready when they fail to find it. Remember that with civil servants, including the CHP, it's ALWAYS easier for them to say, "No, too bad, you lose," to you than to really work hard at their jobs. They don't care about you or your money or your car or your story. If your VIN is too hard to find, they'll give up and tell you that you're SOL. Do your best to find it yourself before you go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That would be my recommendation, locate it yourself prior to your appointment, cause they will go through the motions for about 15 minutes before they say that the numbers are not there (where they are supposed to be) and give up the search. Leaving you on your own.  Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks All,

 

That is what I was thinking as well, do their job for them so they don't have to. Guess who is scraping and scrubbing this weekend? THIS guy *thumbs toward self* I'll let you know what I find and how this works out. I'll probably go next week to get this over with so I can put my restored black and yellow (correct YOM, thank you very much) on and confidently cruise her around!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quietlion79,

Let us know how it goes. If you are able to see either one of the frame VINs you will be the first person I know who was successful at seeing it without having the body raised or removed. My 66 had a rust free frame and even after body removal the VINs were not easy to find because it wasn't stamped very deep. Had there been a normal amount of rust they would have been illegible even with body off. When they stamped these secret VINs I don't think much thought was put into actually having someone be able to find and read them even 10 years down the road. Of course back then many cars didn't even make it 10 years!

Edited by JZRIV (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Jason,

 

Boy that doesn't fill me with much confidence in my chances. I hope I can find SOMETHING because it sounds like the CHP will not put much effort into it...and then what? They take my car???

Edited by Quietlion79 (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You might have to take the stance with the CHP (if it's possible) for them to prove that it's NOT the car for which you have a title.  If they can't disprove it, then in essence they've proven that it is in fact the car for which you have a title and they should give it their blessing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Without seeing it, I'd be hard pressed to say.  It probably depends on how original it looks, and how what comparisons the CHP has to look at.  If it looks extremely authentic, I'd leave it.

 

Do you have any acquaintances in any law enforcement circles?  If so, get his/her opinion. 

 

Can you post pictures of it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You might have to take the stance with the CHP (if it's possible) for them to prove that it's NOT the car for which you have a title.  If they can't disprove it, then in essence they've proven that it is in fact the car for which you have a title and they should give it their blessing.

 

This just might be the funniest thing I've read all day...

 

Asking the CHP to prove a negative, that's hysterical. You'll be lucky not to be wearing bracelets when you get done asking that question...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Had a similar experience with a different make. Based on that, this is what I would do if in this situation.

 

I would not go to CHP or DMV for verification. Not sure why you are going to CHP.  Did you already try to have it verified and were directed there?  Next,  DO NOT tell them or anyone you attached a replacement VIN tag. Only the CHP can do that. If the CHP thinks anything is fishy they may/will impound your car because in their opinion it may not be yours (stolen). If you just need to get it verified to transfer title,  go to an independent CA Auto registration service. They just want their $$ and usually don't scrutinize things too closely. Ones in not so good neighborhoods are usually good for this and better than the Auto Club.  Also, If I remember, on the 64, the vin tag is riveted to the cowl. You mentioned you JB Welded or glued the replacement tag on. Are there holes in the replacement tag for rivets? If so, that is a red flag if rivets aren't securing it, If no holes, it may not matter because if you look at the CA DMV VIN Verification form, "adhesive" is one of the options listed to attach VIN tags. The DMV form is here:

https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/wcm/connect/052f05b3-ea4f-4cde-b017-3d970b8ea1a4/reg31.pdf?MOD=AJPERES

 

But if you HAVE to go to DMV or CHP, +3 on finding the hidden VIN number BEFORE you go. The motor swap could complicate things because when they cannot find a hidden frame # quickly, they will then go to the engine #s to verify.  Their books/info will say the engine number should match the VIN. Now since the engine is the only number on the car, they have nothing to support your claim it is the car listed on your title. A missing or funny looking VIN plate on the cowl will also cause the verification process to go this direction.   CHP will "run" both the VIN on your title and the engine #/VIN through NICB (National Insurance Crime Bureau). BTW, you can run numbers yourself through NICB on their website. If all numbers come up clean and not listed as stolen, and no hidden numbers can be found on your car, then a really bad thing can happen. At this point, your car is nothing to the CHP in regard to identity. If no hidden VIN numbers can be found to match the title, your car won't be impounded or if it was you will get it back,  but it will be assigned a replacement VIN tag aka "blue tag" and designated as a newly constructed vehicle. Your car will then be titled as a current model year which now is 2015. Congratulations. You now own the only 2015 Buick Riviera in existence. :) Higher registration and insurance costs too because its a 2015. 

 

But if you do get it verified as-is without locating the hidden VIN, I would want to some how confirm its identity for my own peace of mind. Our data plate experts here may be able to comment if you can confirm your vehicle's VIN though the data plate? Sorry, but its possible your car may not be the car listed on the title. I would even go as far as lifting the body or cutting a hole in the floor to see the top of the frame. When you sell this car in the future and it is not the car you think it is, the buyer can come back later and get his money back. 

 

So, to sum up. If I was in this situation, and needed to register the car asap and could not find the hidden VIN, I would go to an independent registration service and have them verify it.  If I  had to go to the DMV or CHP for verification then would ONLY go if you can show them the hidden VIN.  Last, any CA Peace Officer can verify vehicles. All of this is only my opinion and what I would do.  You should research all these processes and their legalities. Good Luck.

Edited by Paul K. (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Paul, your sage advice is most appreciated.

 

The previous owner will be completing a "statement of facts" for (He's actually an EX-LEO from the stolen cars dvision...maybe he has a friend that is still on the force that can verify it??) and I was thinking about trying to track down the original owner to have them fill one out as well to explain the engine change. Maybe that is going overboard? I'd rather do too much than too little.

 

I have some other assorted paperwork in my "gallery", including the protect-o plates and a shot of the plate on the console that names the person in the owner's manual and some of the other paperwork. I hope that will help matters.

 

I am certainly leaning towards the independent inspector route, but as you can see they put a note on the registration that states "CHP only" (when they saw the new VIN plate), I guess I can just get a new registration form printed out when I go to the dmv or the dmv services place I plan to use.

 

I ran both the title VIN and the engine VIN through NICB and both came up clean *whew*

 

That "blue tag" scenario sounds like a real bummer. I'd probably have to get it smogged too!

 

If I do end up going to CHP (I have till 10/15 on my temporary permit) I will DEFINITELY find the frame VINs before i go. I uploaded a bunch of pics to my gallery, both of the car and of the documentation.

Edited by Quietlion79 (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was working on my car yesterday and looked at the VIN tag.  It's been spot welded on.  There are two spot welds, one each where your screws/rivets are.  Otherwise, the tag looks good.

 

Ed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now