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Serial number help?


patrickaturner
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I'm trying to verify the serial number on my 1963 Buick Riviera. I thought that I had determined it based on this plate located on the firewall, but now I'm second guessing that. Is this the right place to find the serial number, or should I be looking somewhere else?

IMG_3372.jpg

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Your VIN tag should be on top of the cowl on the driver`s side. Your serial number should be very low, first week of production, probably the second day assuming the body was not delayed getting to Buick assembly.

  Tom Mooney

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Your tag does not have a build date on it.  Take a look at this tag and you'll see an alpha-numeric code.  The numeric is the month of the year (1- 12 = Jan - Dec.) and the week is alpha:  A for the 1st week, B for the second, etc. through E for the fifth week. 

 

Even though this tag is from a '64, it's still representative of the 63 tags that had a build date on it.  The 07A in the upper left indicates that this particular car was built in the 7th month (07) during the first week (A). 

 

Your tag is the first one that I've seen that does not have a date code stamped into it.  Jim Cannon will be interested in this early production car for his data base.

 

Ed

 

 

100_3789.JPG

 

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3 hours ago, patrickaturner said:

I guess what I'm asking is, what does the "100" after the FB mean. Does that mean this was the 100th car off the line in 1963? Thanks for your help!

What I wrote in post #3.  It's the sequential production number of the 1963 Rivieras as they rolled off the production line.

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If my memory serves me well I recall calculating average production per week and settled on about 300 cars per week. It`s been many years since I did the math and a long time since I have done this most basic type of research but divide the total production by the number of weeks of manufacture and it is easy to arrive at a guesstimate. Your car sounds like a great case study in early production peculiarities,

  Tom

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2 minutes ago, RivNut said:

What I wrote in post #3.  It's the sequential production number of the 1963 Rivieras as they rolled off the production line.

Ed,

  Just a fine point here, this number represents the sequential number for the body build, not necessarily the completed car as they rolled off the assembly line at Buick. The bodies could have and were loaded onto the assembly line without regard to the body number but with regard to other factors like build specifics. As stated, this is a fine point, but it is possible to have two cars side by side and the lower body production number may have the higher VIN.

  Tom

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Thanks for all the input. I had an inkling that this car was fairly early off the line, but wasn't sure how to verify that. The VIN on this car is 7J1001104 which would seem to jive with the low body tag number.

 

This car also has power vent windows which is an option I've not seem on many 1963 Rivieras. My exposure to this year/model might be more limited than yours, Ed and Tom.

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This is VERY INTERESTING.  With FB number 100 on it, it is the 3rd earliest Riv I have now seen.  The other 2 do not have dates on their data plates either.  The first data I have seen (on FB 206) is a 9A.  So I would say that these first 100 to 200 bodies were produced in August 1962 at Fisher Body at a slow pace (hence no official date code) to work out all of the details of their body fabrication, painting and assembly process.  They were not run at the full-on production scale speed yet.  Not exactly prototypes, but early models that were used to work the kinks out.  It is through this process that adjustments were made to the early Rivs.

 

I'd like to see some other pictures.  If Patrick is interested, I can help steer him toward little details that should be different from later '63s.  I encourage him to keep those little differences intact, if possible.

 

 

Edited by Jim Cannon (see edit history)
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Hello @Jim Cannon,

 

Thanks for your interest in my car and your willingness to help decode its history. I have a few photos of the car, but not many detail shots. If you'll let me know what I should photograph, I'll shoot and upload photos of those details so you can get a closer look.

 

The car is in pretty rough shape aesthetically, but mechanically it is very sound. I drive it pretty regularly and plan to restore it to near factory condition in the coming years. Any guidance you can provide on what definitely needs to be preserved would be much appreciated.

 

It is pretty exciting to think that this car rolled off the line so early in 1963.

 

Thanks,

Patrick Turner

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Patrick.  

 

 

By early productuon, Jim means really early.  In his post he makes reference to FB206.  That car was built 109 cars after yours and it has a date code of 9A.  It was built in the first week of SEPTEMBER 1962.  There's  a long list of differences between the cars that came off the line early and the last ones built in the same production year.   My 63 was built in February 1963 and has an FB number of 18733 and it still has some early items on it that don't appear on the last ones built.  I think that during this first year there were changes made for many months.  For you to do a correct "period" restoration, you'll need to be very cautious of you FB number and not just use the 1963 year as a guide.  Too many differences between the first  and subsequent months of production.

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I have some photos from the International Meet held in Colorado Springs showing some of the differences. This was for a Riviera built 10C and sequence # 3926. I'm sure Jim probably has better photos and descriptions of these changes..

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  • 5 weeks later...

I found a tag that does have a date code of 07B for FB89. However the "font" of the date code is a little smaller than normal. Hopefully that is factory stamped that way.

We know that Silver Arrow I was modified from FB43. I am not sure if they had "pilot" runs or not. I wouldn't think that pilots were sold, however in the '60s we can't really know for sure what they did with their early test builds. So, presuming the 07B is authentic, then the first 200 were built in July & August (which I would call pilots).

FB00089-07B-SS-737J2-I6-N2-S7-U8-Z4.jpg

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That is very cool, Chuck!

 

I have FB25 and FB43 in my photo collection of data plates.  I will add this one.

 

One thing you should notice is that there is no D code on the data plate for the radio; the first I have seen is on FB206.

 

I have seen the small font date code before.  This moves early pilot production back into July, as you say.  I've not seen a date code before September until now, so did not know how early they started the line.

 

 

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On 6/8/2016 at 11:02 PM, Jim Cannon said:

That is very cool, Chuck!

 

I have FB25 and FB43 in my photo collection of data plates.  I will add this one.

 

One thing you should notice is that there is no D code on the data plate for the radio; the first I have seen is on FB206.

 

I have seen the small font date code before.  This moves early pilot production back into July, as you say.  I've not seen a date code before September until now, so did not know how early they started the line.

 

 

Hi Jim,

  Can you post pics of FB25 and FB43? Were these bodies dated in Sept? Thanks,

  Tom

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Just curious, just looking at the ID plates, we can see they were attached to the body before the paint shop. Does this mean they were attached at the start of the body build? If so does that mean the build date refers to when it was started to be built, not necessarily when it was completed? 

 

And regards the colours, were they painted on the same day as other Buicks of the same colour? Eg All Arctic White last Tuesday or were colours switched immediately to the next? Eg white to black to red etc.

 

interesting to understand the logistics in 1962 onward of how they went about building so many variations, for example how they made sure the left hand and right hand door trims were the same colour, style and material.

 

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On 6/10/2016 at 5:48 PM, rodneybeauchamp said:

Just curious, just looking at the ID plates, we can see they were attached to the body before the paint shop. Does this mean they were attached at the start of the body build? If so does that mean the build date refers to when it was started to be built, not necessarily when it was completed? 

 

And regards the colours, were they painted on the same day as other Buicks of the same colour? Eg All Arctic White last Tuesday or were colours switched immediately to the next? Eg white to black to red etc.

 

interesting to understand the logistics in 1962 onward of how they went about building so many variations, for example how they made sure the left hand and right hand door trims were the same colour, style and material.

 

 

Yes, the body plate was attached fairly early in the body build.  The mating of that body to its chassis would happen some days later.

 

In 1963 the firewall started out painted body color.  You can see that on the data plates.  In later models (exact date not known, but around March 1963) the firewall of all cars was painted satin black.

 

I have never heard of bodies of the same color being painted on the same day.  Someone who worked at Fisher Body might be able to tell us.  There were many different body styles going through the plant at the same time, not just Rivieras, that shared the same paint color choices.  Maybe they had dedicated paint spray lines for popular colors  (white, silver, black, etc.) running in parallel and then a few lines that switched in and out of the less popular colors.  I'd like to hear from someone that worked there.

 

Yes, the logistics of getting all of the correct pieces of a car completed and at the assembly line at the right time was a challenge.  But this was 1963.  GM had been doing it for decades at this point.  They had a system.  And they sometimes messed up, too!  8-)

 

 

 

Edited by Jim Cannon (see edit history)
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Guest Bruno

Hi,

I am looking for Riviera 63 engine serial number (information requested by French regulation in order to get plate registration number).

I was told this number actually does not exist on Rivieras. Is that correct?

Others said that the body production number showing on the body plate was also the engine serial number (in attached picture "12886"... I have to admit I am confused on this topic.

Can anyone help?

Many thanks.

Bruno Trouvé Buick Riviera 1963 Body Plate.jpg

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The FB number is the Fisher Body sequence number.  It has nothing to do with registration.  IF you car has the original engine, it will have an engine serial number that matches the VIN on the body / title.  You should be able to find it using the attached picture as a guide.

 

id_nailhead.jpg - 18526 Bytes

 

Good luck.  What happens if somewhere in time over the past 50+ years, someone has swapped engines????

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  • 2 years later...

Hi Guys,

Can someone help me decode the following:

engine numbers 5H139501and LT 187

tranny cfd1

8623503

chax 3

11-64

pan has dimples and shoe imprint - sp?

just double checking  before I order new carb

Was going with 64 carter 3363s but not sure what dates I have for the powertrain

seems that the powertrain was swapped out at one time

was sp available for late model 64 rivi and is that 11-64  on tranny pan confiming that.

thanks

Paul

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1 hour ago, bluesy66 said:

Hi Guys,

Can someone help me decode the following:

engine numbers 5H139501and LT 187

tranny cfd1

8623503

chax 3

11-64

pan has dimples and shoe imprint - sp?

just double checking  before I order new carb

Was going with 64 carter 3363s but not sure what dates I have for the powertrain

seems that the powertrain was swapped out at one time

was sp available for late model 64 rivi and is that 11-64  on tranny pan confiming that.

thanks

Paul

Paul,

  Your engine is a 1965 401 cu. in Nailhead.

  To order a carb rebuild kit you should use the carb number. You most likely have a Carter AFB although it is possible you have a Rochester 4GC because Buick used both on their 401 engines.

  If you have a Carter, you will find the carb # stamped on the pass front lower casting just above the mounting surface. The number you are looking for is a 4 digit number. There may be alpha characters but I dont think you will need those to order a kit.

  Tom Mooney

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2 hours ago, bluesy66 said:

Hi Guys,

Can someone help me decode the following:

engine numbers 5H139501and LT 187

tranny cfd1

8623503

chax 3

11-64

pan has dimples and shoe imprint - sp?

just double checking  before I order new carb

Was going with 64 carter 3363s but not sure what dates I have for the powertrain

seems that the powertrain was swapped out at one time

was sp available for late model 64 rivi and is that 11-64  on tranny pan confiming that.

thanks

Paul

LT identifies it as a 1965 401.  Look on the (passenger's) side of the transmission for an aluminum tag for transmission identification.  11 of 64 would be a 65 build date.  On the opposite side of the transmission, look at the electrical sender for the solenoid(s).  A sender with two terminals indicates a "switch pitch" transmission.

3921 is a valid carb number for a 65 401.  5H in your serial number: 5 = 1965, H = Flint assembly plant. The last six digits should match your car's VIN.

 

sp1.jpg.b8ea6342718fa65f64cb210752298481.jpg

 

This is a tag from a 64, but the 65 tag looks the same. Yours most likely is coded BT.

IMG_0627.JPG.f2f1ad522082007fd4e940a1619b09c8.thumb.JPG.69f2d000ec7d0141492f3610197ee4a5.JPG

 

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My public apology to Tom.  When I looked this thread on the forum, Paul's post was the "first unread" and it was the last post on page 1 on my tablet.  Not until I submitted my post did i realize that there was a page 2 and Tom had already responded.  I was NOT trying to add to what Tom posted, he answered everything.

 

Ed

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1 hour ago, RivNut said:

My public apology to Tom.  When I looked this thread on the forum, Paul's post was the "first unread" and it was the last post on page 1 on my tablet.  Not until I submitted my post did i realize that there was a page 2 and Tom had already responded.  I was NOT trying to add to what Tom posted, he answered everything.

 

Ed

Ed,

  Please!? No apologies necessary?! I only answered the primary question re the carb kit...and you answered the poster`s question re the trans..between us, mission accomplished! Maybe now between the two of us we can convince him to join the ROA!  If he hasnt already...

Tom

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I'll go one step further:

 

Here's a picture of a Carter AFB (AFB = Aluminum Four Barrel)

Image result for 1965 Buick Carter AFB carburetor

The code number is located on the base; passenger's side front bolt (this picture is NOT of a 1965 Buick carburetor)

image.jpeg.11ce7646719403d28bb1215c5f6895ce.jpeg

Make sure that when you install the carburetor that you have a stainless shield between the manifold and the gasket.  Image result for Carter AFB carburetor stainles heat shield

 

Rochester 4GC

 

Image result for 1965 buick rochester 4gc carburetor

This is copied and pasted from Jon's website (The carburetor Shop I mentioned above)

The primary method of identification of the Rochester 4G series is a triangular tag. The early 4G tags were brass. The metal was changed to aluminum sometime during late 1956~early 1957. The brass tags were brass colored. The aluminum tags had an anodized color on the top side. The color was used internally by Rochester plant employees to help in the identification of the carburetor.

 

A secondary method of identification, but not present on all 4G series carburetors, is a stamp on the airhorn. This stamp was the last 4 or 5 digits of the tag number.

 

Note in the picture below (carburetor 7007221) the presence of the tag, and in approximate of the center of the picture, the stamped number 7221.

 

 

image001.jpg

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6 hours ago, bluesy66 said:

Hi Guys,

Can someone help me decode the following:

engine numbers 5H139501and LT 187

tranny cfd1

8623503

chax 3

11-64

pan has dimples and shoe imprint - sp?

just double checking  before I order new carb

Was going with 64 carter 3363s but not sure what dates I have for the powertrain

seems that the powertrain was swapped out at one time

was sp available for late model 64 rivi and is that 11-64  on tranny pan confiming that.

thanks

Paul

I just wanted to ad, that your drive-train was indeed swapped.  The block number indicates it's out of a 1965 vehicle, other than a Riviera as the serial number starts with 1.  Can you take a picture of the trans id plate and the bottom of the pan?

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32 minutes ago, psychostang said:

I just wanted to ad, that your drive-train was indeed swapped.  The block number indicates it's out of a 1965 vehicle, other than a Riviera as the serial number starts with 1.  Can you take a picture of the trans id plate and the bottom of the pan?

The entire VIN is NOT stamped into the block.  4, 94. 47 would precede the 5H........

4=Buick

94=Riviera

47= 2 door hardtop,

 

The the 5 for 1965

H for Flint assembly plant

and then the six digit VIN follows

 

Until you can say that this engine did not come from the car, you'll have to ascertain the VIN from the car and compare it to the last six in the Engine Serial Number.

 

So with the information Paul has provided and what I've stated above, his completer VIN should be 494475H139501, then only the 5H139501 appears as the Engine Serial Number on the engine block if the engine and chassis are matching.

 

Ed

 

https://www.teambuick.com/reference/years/65/65_vin.php

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8 hours ago, psychostang said:

I understand that Ed, problem is that the last six numbers on the vehicle serial number for 1965 Rivieras start with 9.  His starts with 1, so this engine came out of a 1965 vehicle other than a Riviera.  :)

Correct, `65 Riv and Wildcat VIN starts with 900,000 with the exception that the first 30 (?) or so Wildcats began with 100,000

Tom

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3 hours ago, 1965rivgs said:

Correct, `65 Riv and Wildcat VIN starts with 900,000 with the exception that the first 30 (?) or so Wildcats began with 100,000

Tom

That helps some because I couldn't find any model that started with a 1.

The Special was a 3

The Skylark was a 4

Lesabre was a 5

Wildcat was a 6 (or so what I found says, but Tom's sources state differntly)

Electra was an 8

and Riviera was a 9

 

The stamp that Buick used to make a 9 is a really odd shaped 9. It looks move like an upside down b standing on a _.  I'm wondering if per chance, Paul didn't take the 9 as a 1 because of that funny foot the 9 stands on. 

 

Hopefully, he'll post some pictures for us soon.

 

Ed

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25 minutes ago, RivNut said:

That helps some because I couldn't find any model that started with a 1.

The Special was a 3

The Skylark was a 4

Lesabre was a 5

Wildcat was a 6 (or so what I found says, but Tom's sources state differntly)

Electra was an 8

and Riviera was a 9

 

The stamp that Buick used to make a 9 is a really odd shaped 9. It looks move like an upside down b standing on a _.  I'm wondering if per chance, Paul didn't take the 9 as a 1 because of that funny foot the 9 stands on. 

 

Hopefully, he'll post some pictures for us soon.

 

Ed

Ed,

  You are confusing the model number with the sequential, numerical serial number.

Tom

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I have a friend here in the KC area who has 4 or 5 1965 Buicks, one of which is a Riviera.  All of his '65's have 1 as the first of the six digits in the serial number except for the Riviera, which has a 9.  He's wondering if the 9 might be unique to cars built in Flint.  What other models were built in Flint besides the RIviera in 1965?  Is his thinking worth exploring?

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