The question of VIN numbers frequently comes up on the Model A. The concept of a vehicle identification number was started well after the production of the Model A ended, so there is no 'VIN' for a Model A. The original titles for the A's used the engine number for identification. The Model A engine number can be found on the boss on the driver's side of the engine just below the head. It was stamped on the engine after the break-in period. It takes the form of a star, followed by either an A or AA, then the number, and finally another star. The AA was originally used to specify a heavy duty clutch for use in the large trucks. Soon all engines had this clutch and the AA engine number was dropped. The engines were then crated and shipped to the assembly plants.
  As the engine was dropped into the frame the same engine number was stamped on the frame rail on the American cars. This was done only on the early Canadian cars. Both positions are shown in the photo above. (Thanks to Leon Davis for the photo)   The number on the frame is not visible without lifting the body, and even then, it can be difficult to find. It may be lost in the rust completely. Often times the frame and engine numbers do not match, due to the swapping of engines in the car's history. There were differences in the font used for the numbers over the years. The standards should be consulted for the details.

Here's detail of a storage area of an assembly plant in California, in 1931.

  Because of the huge number of engines in 'float', it was impossible to use the engines in numerical sequence. The judging standards allow 90 days for an engine to be installed in a vehicle.
      On some (most?)of the 1928/1929 models the date the body was finished 'in white' was stamped on the engine compartment side of the fire wall. This is found just above the seam between the upper and lower fire wall. A body 'in white' would still require paint and trim, so there is a lag between the 'in white' stage and the time the body was dropped on the chassis.
There are several other numbers on data plates, and stamped on various areas of the frame and body. Assembly Plants and Body Numbers is a research study by Dave Sturges of Glenwood, Maryland (dasturg@erols.com), who is trying to discover the meaning of letters and numbers stamped into the floors of Model A bodies. Dave could use your help to refine his research information. Check this out!

Page designed by Jim Mason July, 2007