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1938 Buick Century Serial Numbers...


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Hello there again,

 

Would anyone have a list of the Buick Century's serial number range for the year 1938? I am dealing with 8 digits starting with 50XXXX97.

Furthermore, would additional stamping be located on the the driver's side front section? Thank you ..

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3 hours ago, philipj said:

Hello there again,

 

Would anyone have a list of the Buick Century's serial number range for the year 1938? I am dealing with 8 digits starting with 50XXXX97.

Furthermore, would additional stamping be located on the the driver's side front section? Thank you ..

 

  That is a 1948 series 70  [320 ] engine number.

 

  Ben

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The frame number should be attached on top of the right (passenger side) frame rail just behind the battery. If you look down between the firewall and the battery the frame serial number should be on a small metal tag that is attached to the frame by two rivets. 

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It depends a lot on what number is on the title and what state you live in. It is not an insurmountable problem in any case.  If it was titled with the original engine number and is missing the frame number, that would be the worst case scenario. Even in that case, there are legal ways to obtain a title or whatever legal documents your particular state issues for an antique car if you live in a non-title state. 

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Thank you all for your input... Very fortunately, the vehicle has a Florida title already issued to the previous owner using the engine number... I would eventually want to re-title with the car with the correct number as soon as I find it.. In the meantime, I have to search for a shipper...

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If there is no frame number tag on the top right frame rail just behind the battery, the body would probably have to come off to possibly find the frame number. I would not count on being able to find it. It was originally on top of the right frame rail behind the right rear tire. I had the body off of the frame of my 1938 Century and despite significant wire brushing and then sanding to remove rust and later sandblasting the frame, no sign of the number was ever located. 

 

If your state has it titled by the engine number that is currently in the car, don't worry about it. As long as you have legal documentation of a number that is visible on the car, it does not matter what the original frame number was or is. Some states used frame numbers back in the day, and some still used engine numbers. What number is on the paperwork really does not make much difference as long as the number matches the car.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have some good news here, I have managed to find the body tag on the frame (painted over) by the battery as indicated before by Matthew... As you may imagine, I would like to find an original body tag or reproduction (worse case scenario) to complete the car with the information that I have which is a follows:

 

S/N: 3330366

 

1938 MOD. 61

STYLE N- 38-4619?

BODY N- ?        Don't know which number corresponds here from the serial number. above..

TRIM N-  ?       I have the following numbers from Hampton Coach: Tan Bedford Cord (2-C) Seats, (2-N) panels, (F-1) Carpet and (A-806) for the headliner. ***

Color: 515      (Rembrandt Black)

 

*** I have found the following numbers corresponding to Bedford Cord ( 400, 433, 443, 487, 612, and 633) and the year 1938, but don't know which number corresponds to the beige the interior...

 

MO.                   DAY                YEAR   38

 

Well, I 'm afraid this is all that I have been able to put together... If anyone could help solve this puzzle and possibly find a replacement tag (Since the color and interior would be common for the model)  it would be greatly appreciated... Thank you.

 

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You might want to double check the frame number. I think you should find an additonal digit. Yours is only 7 digits and I think it should be 8. I am not aware of a supplier for a reproduction body data tags. But would be interested if one exists. 

 

38-4619 is the correct Fisher Body Style number for your 1938 Model 61.

 

The body number is essentially a serial number for that particular body. 

The trim number is going to be a 3 digit code. Hampton Coach's number for their product is not the same number as the original Fisher number. In 1938 Tan Bedford Cord would be Trim number 400, 409, 433, 443, 456, 469, 487, 508, 612, 623, or 633. I have no idea why the body manual lists multiple numbers for one fabric. It could indicate some difference in the particular pattern, or they could have used a different number for different body styles. Maybe the number does not indicate just a color, but a color and a particular design for a particular body style. I have no idea but my 1938 Model 61 used Trim number 409, so I suspect that would be correct for your 1938 Model 61 as well.

 

  It is not unusual to have the date blank on the body data plate.

 

The body data tag will look something like the attached photo of the one from my 1938 Model 61.

DSC_0797.JPG

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Hello Mathew,

 

Great information here... For a moment I thought the serial # would be 13330366. I will try to get a photo of that tomorrow... Which part of the body number is written on the tag? The last four digits or the first four digits? And... Do you know what the letter L stands for? Your thoughts indicating that the different trim numbers correspond to different models/body styles makes perfect sense... I will follow your tag numbers with the exception of the Body number... I will post a photo of my frame tag ASAP...  Thanks again for the great help and photo!...

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The Body Number is an individual identifying "serial number" for that particular body stamped by Fisher Body. In the case of my 1938 Model 61 the Body Number is L1230. I would guess that means it is the 1230th 38-4619 body manufactured by Fisher. I could be wrong. It is possible that they had bodies with other Letters, but I don't know. The body number is not the same as the frame number. The bodies were made by Fisher and have Fisher body numbers. The chassis was manufactured by Buick and has a frame number assigned by Buick. 

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L = Linden, NJ assembly plant.   Without a letter is Flint assembly.  Have a look in the BCA judging handbook (can be downloaded)

 

The body number has no relational ship to the frame number.  They were made a different times and joined together on the assembly line

 

Dave T may be able to supply a body data plate for the cowl/firewall.  (Dave T should become you best Buick friend)

 

Sean1997 can decode

 

The (serial) plate on the chassis/frame is not refereed  to as the body plate

 

 

Edited by 1939_Buick (see edit history)
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If I recall correctly, The first digit being a 1 indicates that the frame was produced in Flint, MI.

 

A 2 as the first digit would indicate a frame produced in California (I do not recall which City in California), and a 3 would indicate a Linden, NJ car like mine.

 

From 1939 Buick's information, the body number for a Flint produced car would not have a letter in the body number. That being the case, if you are able to find someone to reproduce the tag for you, I would guess any four digit number would look correct, although almost nobody will ever notice. Sean1997 could give you a better idea of the approximate number range for the approximate time of the frame number if you really want to have it seem to be original.  If Dave is able to provide a used data plate for a Flint produced 1938 Model 61 with the interior and paint code to match your car, it would be the best thing to match the car. 

 

The body tag does not really matter that much. Either the frame number or the engine number are used for legal identification to title a car. The body tag was simply something that Fisher Body used for production purposes. 

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Multiple trim codes are listed because the code number varied by model, you can find my trim code list here:

 

http://forums.aaca.org/topic/231704-1932-1975-buick-trim-codes-by-model/


I don't have enough data for 1938 to estimate a body number.  The MO. DAY and YEAR fields were almost never filled in.  A. G. Backeast makes replacement tags:

 

http://www.datatags.com/

 

I believe they also advertise in the Bugle.

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Hello all,

Thank you for your knowledge and insight here... Are there any detailed records available from Fisher regarding production figures/assigned numbers to the different manufacturers? If you had a vehicle with side mounts for example, would that be significant enough to be reflected in the body code?

I have contacted datatags.com for a replacement quote, but will also contact Mr. Tacheny, for I would prefer an original tag... 

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There are no detailed records regarding the Fisher body number.  The body number started at 1 for each model (style number) at each plant.  For 6-wheeled cars (dual side mounts) the tag was stamped with either a -6W or just a 6 as shown in the two tags attached.

1938 Buick Trim Tag 03.jpg

1938 Buick Trim Tag 21.jpg

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Let me clarify my post, I said the body numbers started at 1 not with a 1.  There is a big difference.  Starting at 1 is like counting, 1, 2, 3,...X.  If you assume that they built all 1938 model 61s at Flint (clearly not a correct assumption) then X = 12,673 because they built 12,673 model 61s in 1938.  If you assume that they built one third of the model 61s at each plant (probably not a good assumption either) then the highest body number would be about 4225.

 

Flint:   1,2,3...4225
South Gate: C 1,2,3...4224
Linden: L 1,2,3...4224


I would expect that there were more built at Flint since the production at Flint was at least five times higher than at the other plants, so in reality the highest body number from Flint is probably much higher than 4225 and much lower than that at South Gate and Linden.

 

 

1938 Buick Trim Tag 02.jpg

1938 Buick Trim Tag 15.jpg

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Hello Sean,

 

Thank you for the clarification...I imagine it is possible to think that they may have built at least half of the vehicles at the Flint plant? in which case the body numbers could go as high as 63XX.? I was following your second photo, body Nr- 1805, which is a similar model, but I went too far back I guess... I can then substitute the 1 for a 4 or 5 to make it more believable...

 

Going back to the subject of records covered before but just to be clear; Fisher didn't keep any records of the bodies sold to any automakers, but did GM keep any records of which body numbers went with the various frame numbers when they were assembled? Don't mean to beat a dead horse here...

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I would suspect that there were once records of which body number went on which chassis. I also am fairly certain that those records were destroyed many years ago. They did not really have much value to Buick after the cars were sold and out the door. When they were produced, nobody in the factory expected them to still be out here 80 years later. In a number of years of involvement in the hobby, I have never heard of any such records being found by anybody. 

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  • 1 month later...
  • 3 months later...

Please let me correct myself here, would body #4340 be a reasonable number to use for my vehicle?

 

1938 MOD.   61          6

STYLE N-    38 - 4619

BODY N-            4340        

TRIM N-              409    

 PAINT N-   515 

 

I now have a sample body tag and have found someone that can reasonably reproduce them... If there is any interest please contact me directly. I imagine it might be beneficial regarding the final cost...

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