What is correct number to use for VIN?

Queries about model and year identification, engine and vehicle numbers, etc.

What is correct number to use for VIN?

Postby hofcag » Fri Jan 28, 2011 6:37 pm

Several months ago I purchased a 1948 Custom 8 Touring sedan. I bought the car from a very well respected dealer in California who was selling it on consignment from the estate of the previous owner who lived in Arizona. The title & registration were from Arizona. I had the car shipped to me in North Carolina where I live, and I am having difficulty getting a NC title because the DOT will not accept the VIN number that appeared on the AZ title. The car was registered in AZ with the "thief-proof" number embossed on the firewall as the VIN. I know most of the car's history and have documentation going back to when it was originally purchased in Delano, California in 1948. Prior to my purchase of the car, it had spent it's entire life in either California or Arizona and as far as I can tell the VIN used to identify the car was always the large embossed number on the firewall. Every single document associated with the car for the past 63 years identifies it with VIN 801032. The North Carolina DOT says that is not the correct VIN and they insist I produce a "valid" VIN before they will issue a title. Today I met with the DOT inspector for the THIRD time and he suggested using the engine number stamped on the left forward side of the crank case as the VIN and stated that he felt sure that was in fact the correct VIN number. Does anyone know what number IS typically used as the vehicle identification number for a series 22 Packard? The DOT inspector assigned to my case has acknowledged that this club is an "authority" on the marque and told me today he will "seriously consider" any advice offered by "knowledgeable" club members. I'll add that there has never been any question that the AZ title the car came with was perfectly OK. The NC DOT essentially says that just because Arizona (and California) accepted the thief-proof number as the VIN it didn't mean NC has to. My fear is that if I am forced to title the car with a VIN that differs from the VIN associated with all records of the car for the past 60+ years it will cause problems in the future. I would welcome and appreciate advice. Thanks, Keith in Durham, NC
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Re: What is correct number to use for VIN?

Postby genehouse » Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:01 pm

Does it still have the VIN Plate attached to it? The 23rd Series has a VIN Plate attached just below the windshield on the driver's side under the hood just above the firewall. It clearly states that it is the VIN #. It was my understanding, although I am new to this, that the 22nd Series had the same VIN Plate. If so, the numbers should start with something like VIN 2226 ?????? Here is a picture of my VIN Plate. Gene
Attachments
SU8 VIN.JPG
1950 Super 8 VIN Plate
1949 Super 8 Limousine
1939 Buick Special

If you are going to skate on thin ice, you might as well dance!
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Re: What is correct number to use for VIN?

Postby Dave Czirr » Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:05 pm

Later 22nd series have the same Patent Plate as the 23rd series; the early 22nd series have the same Patent Plate as the 46-47 and also prewar. The difference is that the earlier one has spaces for dealer name and date of delivery, and the later one those are replaced with spaces for paint and trim codes.

The VN on the plate grhouse shows in the photo is for a 23rd Series 1950 model, as noted by the -5- inserted between the body type number and the sequential production number.

Though there are a lot of similarities, there are also MANY differences between the 22nd and 23rd series Custom 8s. Most easily recognized is that the 23rd series have "pod" tailights, whereas the 22nd series are flush with the fender. Also the 22nd series have 2 stainless trim strips on the sides, down low; and the 23rd series has a single about mid-door level. The given "thief-proof" or cowl number of 801032 is clearly in the 22nd series cars, 2252-XXXX would be a 1948, 2252-9-XXXX would be a 1949.

The number typically used as the vehicle number by motor vehicle agencies IS the vehicle number on the Patent Plate, though some states prefer to use the engine number because the Patent Plate is easily removeable and exchanged.
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Re: What is correct number to use for VIN?

Postby JD in KC » Fri Jan 28, 2011 9:06 pm

Between the two of them, my Packards have been registered in California, Arizona, Illinois, Kentucky and currently Missouri. In all cases the stamped vehicle number from the Patent Plate was used. As Dave points out, some states prefer the engine number for the reasons he stated.

Edit 8/17/2011: Now three Packards, still all registered with the Vehicle Number from the Data Plate (Missouri).
Last edited by JD in KC on Wed Aug 17, 2011 6:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is correct number to use for VIN?

Postby hofcag » Sat Jan 29, 2011 4:59 pm

Thanks to Gene, JD & Dave for your input. My car does have the patent plate with vehicle number 2252-5239 clearly visible. When the DMV inspector initially told me the car could not be titled using the thief-proof number, I showed him the vehicle number and he said that was not acceptable either. No reason was given. I couldn't argue as the thief-proof number had always been used as the VIN on the old California and Arizona titles, rather than the vehicle number. I suppose if DMV ends up using the number stamped on the engine that will be OK. I just want to get this taken care of and have a title issued in MY name.
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Re: What is correct number to use for VIN?

Postby GTO » Sun Feb 06, 2011 6:28 am

2252-xxxx is your VN number.I have a 22nd series custom eight and that is the number on my registration.I have read stories that certain states did not like to use that VN as the plate had four screws and could be easily removed.Many states used the engine number but yours is the first one I ever heard of that used the Thief Proof number.The thief proof number, when you think about it, makes the most sense as it can never be removed.The same cannot be said for the VN plate or even the engine. Has North Carolina given you any reasob why they will not accept the Vehicle Manufacturers VN plate?
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Re: What is correct number to use for VIN?

Postby John Harley » Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:01 pm

hofcag


I f you have an owner' s manual you can show them the page where it shows the location of the number tag. If you don't have a manual there are many for sale on this site

Regards

John Harley
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Re: What is correct number to use for VIN?

Postby PACKARDAPL » Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:32 am

The big problem here is that every state made its own determination as to what it would accept
on Packards. Since I'm familiar with Missouri, I know that they made an effort to register cars to the
engine # *(problem here is that when the motor wore out or changed for some reason the new # was
always different) presumably the state could re-register the new numbers. Old mechanics tell me
they even tapped in the old # on a different engine block so that it would agree. Some cars did get
registered to the vin patent plate (even tho the thing was held on by 4 easily removable screws).
Some of the 1940s had a DECAL that lasted just a couple years & was totally useless except for initial
production registration, this mistake was was corrected in a few months, but some are out there with
an appearent blank firewall. According to the dealer service letters in the early days; this thief-proof
number was to be the last resort offical registry number for a Packard; when 1. no other numbers were
available for the car or 2. the other numbers were unreadable or otherwise rendered unusable for
registration purposes. So Packard intended for this firewall number to be used if there were no other
available numbers. They thought the embossing on the firewall would preclude number tampering. This would
have been sent to the various states-at that time(1920s). Missouri will accept the t-proof numbers if
verified by an offical inspector. *Missouri went to the VIN #s in the middle 1950s, but old titles still
have the engine block number as registration info.
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Re: What is correct number to use for VIN?

Postby Dave Czirr » Wed Aug 17, 2011 11:41 am

Just to clarify:

1938 was the year of the "patent plate" decal. Metal plates resumed again in 1939.
1940 was the year of a partial interruption in the use of thief-proof numbers.
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Re: What is correct number to use for VIN?

Postby PACKARDAPL » Fri Aug 19, 2011 1:10 pm

Yes, you are correct on the decal, I got in a hurry and crossed two points. The useless decals were 38s,
and some of the 1940s had the blank firewall (no number embossing). I had one of these, a 1940 180 Limo.
I couldnt think of any reason why it was missing & all the other Packards had one. Also I couldnt see any signs of
major damage, repair, or tampering on the firewall. It was much later that I found that Packard omitted these
things at the factory for awhile.

One other related note on registrations ; I'm not sure about other states, but Missouri registered some of
the commercial Packard Henneys as just "Henney"--with nothing mentioning Packard on the title. They of course
used the motor block number, as the VIN.

The thief-proof numbers are valuable, since they may be the only "original" number identifying a given Packard
left on it. Even a well maintained/restored cars often have had a motor change or loss of the patent plate VIN at
some point in their history. You could say Packard is still trying to give the present day owner help in trying to
return incomplete, damaged or pieced together Packards back to the road. Good luck.............
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