View Full Version : VIN, "off-the-wall" question

02-15-2010, 08:58 AM
I have heard that the VIN was "secretly" marked on the frame cross member at the back of the car. I've done frame offs on 6 cars ranging from 1954 to 63 models and have never seen this. I now have a 1963 GT frame with very little rust; and if such a number was present it should be visible, but no trace of it can be located. Does anyone know if the secret VIN was in fact marked on the frame and if so where?

02-15-2010, 09:18 AM
From a previous discussion...it is under the place marked:

02-15-2010, 10:32 AM
The frame number was used as the vehicle serial number. I suspect when frames were ordered the buyer provided the frame manufacture with the series of numbers to be used. No secret.


02-15-2010, 10:51 AM
I too have yet to find these numbers on the frames and I have tore down many cars, but I blamed it on being to rusty.


02-15-2010, 02:25 PM
I have found the VIN on the rear crossmember very easily on both a '50 Champion and my '53 Commander Starliner. Probably made easy because both are California crs.

53 Commander Starliner
56 Sky Hawk

02-15-2010, 02:39 PM
I found the number on my '53 that had been sitting out in the woods for 30 yrs before I got it. Some of the numbers were faint but the others deeper. Although the frame had some serious rust (including holes) elsewhere, the rear crossmember was not scaley so it was still visible after lightly sandblasting the bottom. In my case, the number was more to the passenger side rather than in the center as the picture shows. If you are looking, may be prudent to look everywhere on both flanges on the rear crossmember (front/rear) before giving up. I suspect these were stamped in by hand and likely not using a template for location so could be located at random spots on the bottom of the crossmember. They seem to be usually in the middle or passenger side though.

Jeff in ND
'53 Champion Hardtop

Dick Steinkamp
02-15-2010, 02:47 PM
I've found that number on several cars I've done. Here's the one on my '54 Starliner...


Dick Steinkamp
Bellingham, WA

Nelsen Motorsports
02-15-2010, 03:03 PM
My car was a South Bend car and only had surface rust on the frame, but there is no number, Nothing! It spent its whole life in Georgia as far as I know.

Alex Nelsen, 15 year old Studebaker nut.
1954 Champion Coupe
Lizella, GA

02-15-2010, 03:17 PM
The rear crossmember is where the salt spray ends up, if that car was in South Bend even one or two Winters, that metal would "mike" thinner than when new, and some serial numbers were very lightly stamped.

Dick's car must have been stamped by a very conscientious worker on a very good day, because it is better than most. [^]
Even though he installed the die for the first 8 in the tool upside down! :D


Dick Steinkamp
02-15-2010, 03:30 PM
The Starliner was an LA assembled car and spent its whole life in California.

Here's my '63 Hawk...


It was a Hamilton assembled car and spent its life in British Columbia.

Dick Steinkamp
Bellingham, WA

02-15-2010, 05:03 PM
thanks, everybody, after careful sanding, I found the number, it was on the inside flange plainly visible from under the car, no "secret' VIn number. One story i heard was that this number was on top of the rear cross member and was to be a secret from the public to help identify stolen cars.

02-15-2010, 05:08 PM
Well, as you can see it's tough enough to see where it is. ;) Glad you found it.

02-15-2010, 05:58 PM
Secret? Well Ken, would you have found that tiny number on that big car if we did not tell you where to look?

Most State Patrol Officers have access to the list of locations to look in, yes on a Studebaker! [:0] I know I've been there! :(

No, I did not steal my '64 Daytona! Lol! :D


02-15-2010, 06:20 PM
I presume there are 7 digits,is this correct ?...do they sometimes start with letters...John

quote:Originally posted by barnlark

Well, as you can see it's tough enough to see where it is. ;) Glad you found it.

02-15-2010, 07:03 PM
Perhaps the letter 'I' used in place of a '1'.

02-16-2010, 12:03 AM
quote:Originally posted by zoegrant

I presume there are 7 digits,is this correct ?...do they sometimes start with letters...John

Yes, like a G.

Gary L.
Wappinger, NY

SDC member since 1968
Studebaker enthusiast much longer

02-16-2010, 10:15 PM
To Retired's point.

Auto assembly does not change all that much between manufacturers, at least on a higher level. The VIN is established at the assembly plant. So the VIN numbers are stamped into the components in the plant during the assembly process. The secondary stamp is requirement for government agencies and is normally not easily spotted unless you know where to look.


David King

1964 Studebaker Commander
1958 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham (615)
1966 Pontiac GTO convertible

SDC Member#: A011937K