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VIN numbers
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Joined:
2007/11/21 20:34
From Louisiana
Posts: 201
I am trying to determine what production number my 56 Ex. is. Any help on reading the VIN number for 1956 Executive?

Posted on: 2007/12/24 9:17
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Re: VIN numbers
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Joined:
2006/11/29 20:35
From Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 2780
rowdy -

Serial numbers for Packards are nowhere near as complicated as what has been used in the industry since 1980, but contained only the most basic information.

I'm working on scanning the 1955-56 parts book, which contains information on the serial number in the references page at the front of the book, but I've got hundreds of pages to scan before it will be ready for upload. In lieu of the parts book, know that the Model Info section of this site also covers those details.

If you look at the entire 56th Series, you'll see that the Exec had a model number of 5672A for sedans and 5677A for hardtops. The model number was used for the first half of the serial number.

The production number was used for the last half of the serial number, with the sequence starting at 1001 for each model. If you check the "Total Production" figure listed in the specific Model Info page for your car, you'll get some idea of where your it fell in the sequence.

While the last Packards rolled off the line in June of 1956, production of the Executive had only begun back in April, making for a rather short run.

Posted on: 2007/12/24 9:48
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Re: VIN numbers
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Joined:
2007/3/14 16:01
From New Jersey
Posts: 10554
Addressing the period from atleast 1923 thru the end, Packard used a system of Vehicle Numbers (not Vehicle Identification Numbers) stamped on a plate (except for 1938 which used a decal) affixed to the cowl. The system they used is often referred to as BTPPN, for Body Type Plus Production Number. In all cases except the sale of a bare chassis for external custom coachwork, the first set of digits uniquely defined the year, the engine/wheelbase, and the body style. For example in 1934 any body type beginning with a 7 would define 1934; a body type 703 would define a 5 passenger sedan on the 129 inch wheelbase in the (Standard) Eight series. A 713 or 753 would define a 5 passenger sedan on a different wheelbase with a different engine. An 1108-XXX would define a bare chassis sold for outside coachwork.

The second set of digits, the "production number", was just a sequence number for that particular body type. In earlier years it started with 11, and in later years with either 2001 or 1001. For the years that Briggs made to bodies and particularly 1948 thru 1950, a Briggs tag affixed on the cowl near the heater would give THEIR sequence #, not always the same as the sequence in which the cars were finally assembled.

The large embossed numbers often found on cowl (except for parts of 1940) were 'thief-proof" numbers which, since the Vehicle Numbers are on removable tags, were sort of a last resort number to be used in cases of stolen cars, etc. There is only a rough correlation of these to approximate year of production (1956 should begin with a "D") but nothing else can be determined by these numbers.

Posted on: 2007/12/24 11:05
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Re: VIN numbers
Home away from home
Joined:
2007/11/21 20:34
From Louisiana
Posts: 201
OK, so if my vin is 5677A1905, does this give any info as to what the production number might be? I believe total run for the 56 Ex. Hardtop was 1031 units.

Posted on: 2007/12/24 14:30
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Re: VIN numbers
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Joined:
2006/11/29 20:35
From Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 2780
rowdy -

WRT your example, 1905 minus 1000 (since 1001 is the first car in the run), makes this car number 905 out of 1031, but what are you expecting that number to tell you?

Aside from internal tracking, I believe the intent for the production number was to create a unique vehicle serial number for titling and registration purposes.

In addition to the thief-proof number that Owen cited, the factory also applied separate, serialized numbers to engines and transmisions, but neither of those were noted on any production manifests that I've seen. While the engine number was often included in titling the vehicle, back in the day, AFAIK, there was no direct correlation in the assignment any of those separate numbers and the vehicle serial/production number.

Rather than VINs and build dates for modern vehicles, the engine and transmission numbers for Packards are sometimes referenced, as breakpoints, in service bulletins when running changes are involved.

Posted on: 2007/12/24 18:35
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Re: VIN numbers
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2007/3/14 16:01
From New Jersey
Posts: 10554
Nice response Brian, I agree. When you're fortunate enough to obtain your original build or shipping slip and also get the engine and tranmission numbers along with various casting dates it can be very interesting though not necessarily enlightening to see how Packard handled (or mishandled) inventory control, which surely wasn't "first in, first out". Using my 56 Caribbean as an example, it's a very late convertible, one of those after the initial production of 250. The build date was June 6th, and shipped to the dealer on June 20, 1956 if I recall the dates correctly. Quite understandably it has a similarly late transmission number, #509, which makes sense with just a bit over 500 total Caribbeans built. Yet the engine number, and the engine is original to the car and has a # matching Vehicle Number, is a relatively early engine # with a December 1955 casting date. It's fun to gather these numbers from owners of similar cars (as I've done where possible) yet all it really shows is the randomness of component picks from finished inventories of motors, transmissions, etc. The correlations between engine numbers and thief-proof numbers in the 30s cars is much more exacting though still imprecise.

Brings me to asking a question that has been on my mind for some years, perhaps someone has some info. How, if at all were factory replacement engines numbered? I assume the V8 ones had the Utica Plant number but no vehicle number? Are there any extant letters to dealers instructing them to add the vehicle number to replacement engines when installed? In the 30s Packard offered factory-remanufactured cylinder bores for the 320 and 385 engines, but on these engines the engine# was on the aluminum crankcase, not the cast iron block, so no such situation existed. Thoughts or observations?

Posted on: 2007/12/25 10:55
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