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1937 Buick Special VIN Decode


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Just bought a 1937 buick special 4 door with trunk. I'm trying to research and learn about it but I'm not finding much info about decoding the VIN. I was told everything is all original.  Anyone have any helpful links so I can decode things?

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Good morning and good luck with your Buick!

I'm sure Sean will chime in here with all the specs of you data tag, but for starters:

 

1937 Model 41: Buick Special 4-door Trunkback Sedan (Usually there would be a "41" stamped on the plate after "1937 MOD"__________

Style No: (Fisher Body Style #): 37-4419:

37:  1937 Model Year

4: Buick

4: Series 40   "Special"

19: 4-door Trunkback Sedan

 

Trim: 301: Taupe Mohair Fabric.  (Available on models 41, 44, 46, 46S, 47 & 48)

Paint 500: Imperial Black (solid... not metallic)

 

According to my records, the Model 37-41 represented 40% of Buick production that year, with 85,195 produced. It was by far the most popular model sold.

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Welcome to the AACA Discussion Forum. There is not really an online listing of codes to decode the body data plate, but the books exist to do so. You probably don't need the book since Gary has already decoded that information for you. Feel free to ask any other questions you may have about the car, and please post some photos. There are lots of helpful pre-war Buick fans here. 

 

I would also suggest you consider joining the 36-38 Buick Club. You can check it out at: http://www.3638buickclub.org/ If you send me a message with your email address either by private message on this site, or through the contact the webmaster link on the 36-38 Buick Club website, I will be happy to email you a .pdf sample copy of a recent club newsletter. 

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VIN's as we know them now did not exist until mid 1950's and not standardised until 1980's

Your car may be titled by chassis number or engine number.  Check your documentation

 

Body number C9285 is unique to your car.

Not 100% sure but I think

C = assembled in California

9285th car made with that body style

Your car will have an

  • engine serial number. 1937 started 4-3166225 (the first 4 is the series)
  • chassis number. 1937 started at 2999497

https://www.teambuick.com/reference/ident_engine_til_52.php

 

 

Sean has not posted on the forum for a long time. Hope he is OK

 

We like photos

Edited by 1939_Buick (see edit history)
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Thanks for your help everyone!  I need to get some more pics but here is one to get us started.  Looking at the engine identification I'm wondering if my engine was replaced at some point although I I was told it was all original. I will have to get the number off of it tomorrow  but my oil dipstick is very short and is below the distributor just above the oil pan.  Was that a thing for our year?

IMG_20210620_141207_559.jpg

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The more I dig the more confused I am haha.  So here is a pic of the code on my engine.  Does this mean I have a 320? Could this be the original engine?  Seems like the numbers fit off of the team buick engine identification website. Also pictured is the dip stick location and a full an engine shot.

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20210621_131058.jpg

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On 6/20/2021 at 4:35 AM, MCHinson said:

Welcome to the AACA Discussion Forum. There is not really an online listing of codes to decode the body data plate, but the books exist to do so. You probably don't need the book since Gary has already decoded that information for you. Feel free to ask any other questions you may have about the car, and please post some photos. There are lots of helpful pre-war Buick fans here. 

 

I would also suggest you consider joining the 36-38 Buick Club. You can check it out at: http://www.3638buickclub.org/ If you send me a message with your email address either by private message on this site, or through the contact the webmaster link on the 36-38 Buick Club website, I will be happy to email you a .pdf sample copy of a recent club newsletter. 

So I'm too new to send a private message.  I will check out that site.  Thanks for sharing!

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A 320 won't fit where the smaller engine came out, so no. Someone may have just painted it the wrong color? I believe they were originally green and had some lettering on the valve cover. The 4 indicates 40 series, and the number is 20,000ish above the starting number 1939_Buick posted. There is also a frame number, it will not match the engine. One or the other of those would have been used for title, like we use a VIN today. It varied by state in the US. The tag on the firewall was most likely put there by Fisher Body when they built the body. Gary W's decoding seems to match what you have. In short, it all looks good to me.

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Car looks good

Engine number is from 1937

From the link for engine numbers

1937 series 40 start at 4-3166225

1938 series 40 start at 4-3396937

 

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Yes, that appears to be a 1937 40 series engine. It does have an oil filter that was either added as an option, or added by someone later. The external oil filter near the front of the engine was not standard equipment for a 1937 Buick engine but was standard on some later Buick engines. The rubber oil supply line visible at the front top right corner of the engine that supplies oil to the rocker arms is probably connected to the oil filter. The original oil supply line there would have been metal. The fuel filter just before the carburetor is a common aftermarket item. I currently have one similarly mounted on my most recently purchased 1937 Buick. I personally plan to move mine to just in front of the fuel pump. Having one located just above the hot exhaust manifold seems a bit too dangerous for me in case of a fuel leak, while one near the fuel pump would just drip gas on the ground instead of the hot manifold.  

 

The chassis number should be on the outside frame rail visible just behind the right front tire. The chassis number won't really tell you anything about the car, but either it or the engine number should match the title or other ownership documents for the vehicle. 

 

One other change from original that I see is that the car has been converted to sealed beam headlights. That conversion was fairly common in years past. Both of my 1937 Buicks had been converted to sealed beam headlights although I have changed them both back to original equipment headlight lenses. 

Edited by MCHinson (see edit history)
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You can see the original engine decal telegraphing through the paint respray on the valve cover, along with some red decal showing through chipped paint near the front. The decal says "BUICK VALVE-IN-HEAD EIGHT" and "SILENT OIL CUSHIONED." The engine number appears to have the correct type font (the "6" looks like a "b").  My 1939 Roadmaster has a replacement engine. Several tip-offs, included the correct number, but in a non-Buick font. My engine probably dates from 1947. Not necessarily a bad thing, however. Dipsticks have a part number on them. Mine is for a postwar 248, not a postwar 320. Something I need to change. A fine looking car, though. Good luck! Happy motoring!

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