Flying"A"Garage

1957 Chevy Serial number / Body Number dilemma

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Hi all, my first post on these forums......

 

I'm looking at a 1957 Chevy Bel Air a n there is a discrepancy on the body numbers that gives me pause.  The Serial Number tag reads VC57Axxxxxx which decodes to a car built in Atlanta.  The  cowl tag Body No. 

is L34xxx which decodes to the Lansing MI Fisher Body plant.  What is the possibility that GM built a body in Michigan and shipped it to Georgia for assembly?  I know that there was a fisher body plant in Atlanta as well in 1957.   I'm wondering if this car is authentic or has there been some shenanigans going on here .  The car was a "rotisserie restoration" .   Thanks in advance for  any light that could be shed here.

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Is it a convertible? Some low volume bodies where produced in Fisher plants not in the vicinity of the assembly plant.

 

Dave 

 

I would ask on this site if you don't get an answer here;  https://vccachat.org/

Edited by Dave39MD (see edit history)

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Sorry I wasn't clear. For example when my Cabriolet (1931) was made all Cabriolet bodies were made in the Cleveland Fisher body plant then shipped to the other assembly plants. I am suggesting if the op has a low volume body it is possible they were not made near the assembly plant. This has been discussed on the VCCA site but I don't remember if it went to 57. Of course the op could have a high volume body and that would be something else. 

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1 hour ago, Dave39MD said:

Is it a convertible? Some low volume bodies where produced in Fisher plants not in the vicinity of the assembly plant.

 

Dave 

 

I would ask on this site if you don't get an answer here;  https://vccachat.org/

 

Yes, it is a convertible.  I can understand that it might be possible that the low volume bodies may have been produced in only one plant.  

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I would ask on the VCCA site just to be sure of what was going on in 57.

 

Dave

Edited by Dave39MD (see edit history)

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22 minutes ago, Dave39MD said:

I would ask on the VCCA site just to be sure of what was going on in 57.

 

Dave

Thanks Dave.  I have posted this up there as well.   I enjoy exhuming the history of how these cars were built; there's always some fascinating new detail to uncover.

 

 

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Hello Flying A, and welcome to the AACA forum.  I am speaking to you from the Pontiac side of GM and have long been intrigued by the logistics (or is that illogic?) of GM shipping bodies between plants. 

 

SHORT ANSWER I believe Chevy convertible bodies in 1955-57 were indeed built at the Lansing Fisher Body plant and shipped out to their respective assembly plants, so your car is likely correct.  IIRC all Pontiac convertible bodies were built there too in this manner in 1955-56 (station wagons also worked this way out of Cleveland).  To further check numbers (at least on Pontiacs) you can get the convertible production number and the Atlanta plant serial numbers and see if both body and chassis appear to be from about the same time of the year.

 

LONGER ANSWER and the interesting part of this example to me is that in 1957 all Pontiac convertible bodies were moved to Pontiac (MI) Fisher Body.  And now even though the Fisher plant in Pontiac was adjacent to the Pontiac Assembly plant they STILL shipped convertible bodies to the branch plants for final assembly, probably 10-15% of the time.  I ask would it not be easier to ship an entire assembled car on wheels rather than a painted body shell as an immobile unit?

 

It all dates back to the earliest days of the automobile when building the rolling chassis and powertrain was the job of the MOTOR division and the responsibility for building a body was a different discipline and subcontracted to a coachbuilder (who had usually evolved from a carriage builder).  GM merged in Fisher Body to be their in-house coachbuilder and the car was provided by two divisions—the car division to produce the rolling chassis and the front end sheet metal and Fisher Body to build the painted and trimmed body shell from the firewall back.  SO Fisher would ship bodies from its plants to the car plants nearby in Detroit/Flint.  As branch assembly plants were built around the country each usually had a Fisher plant nearby to feed it bodies and indeed Fisher was larger and ran more plants than each car division.  And even though this division of work was rooted in the early 1900s it was the GM way until the mid-1980s.  As Dave39 says, building a convertible or station wagon body rather than a normal sedan or hardtop was unique enough to justify a dedicated separate plant with nationwide shipping.  Good luck with yours, Todd C   

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Thank you to everyone who responded to this request!  I'm now comfortable that the car is more likely to be correct than I first suspected.  

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