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Body Tags

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  • Body Tags

    When I bought my restorable 1954 Champion Hardtop in 1996, I noticed that the body number was 117. (To be more precise, 15G-K5 117). This made me wonder if Studebaker started their body number tags with #1, or some other number? Looking at many Studebakers through the years, I don't recall seeing one that had a body tag in the double or single digits. But maybe they exist and I just didn't see one. [?]

    This low body tag number made me wonder if my '54 was an early one. (I am aware that the body numbers weren't used in sequence.) I sent for the copy of the production order, and discovered that my car was built on October 27, 1953. And according to the book "Studebaker: The Complete Story", production of the 1954 Studebakers started on October 20, 1953. So mine was an early car, which is no big deal, but I think it's kind of neat.

    Unfortunately, the production order didn't say which dealer it was going to. I would have liked to discover that.

    Now I wonder how many '54 Champion hardtops still exist that were built between the starting production date and October 27, '53.

  • #2
    They DID start with #1. In fact, I have a shot of a #1 body tag here someplace. I've seen one or two other single-digit tags on cars thru the years. In my collection of body tags (500- 600 I've lost count) I've got several double-digit tags. I've never been lucky enough to find a single digit tag tho. I sorta figure the very earliest bodies got fitted to car's slated for shows. Don't know that for a fact tho.
    But yeah, the tag number CAN give a clue to where a car stood in the overall production run for a given year. There's no way they could have projected how many of a given body they'd need thru the whole model year so the bodies would have to have been built in batches as demand dictated.
    One little note of detail is that, like so many numbering changes that were effected with the start of the '64 model year, the body number sequences started with 101 instead of 1. Go figure![)] I've got #102 & #104 tags from Challenger 2-drs as I recall.

    Miscreant at large.

    1957 Transtar 1/2ton
    1960 Larkvertible V8
    1958 Provincial wagon
    1953 Commander coupe
    1957 President 2-dr
    1955 President State
    1951 Champion Biz cpe
    1963 Daytona project FS
    No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.


    • #3
      Mr. Biggs, thanks for your helpful response. I thought I had read somewhere about body numbers starting some years with 101 instead of 1, so you have cleared that up for me.

      By serial number sequence, my Champion was car no. 1036 off the line. So even though it was built within the first week of '54 production, quite a few others were built before it. Too bad '54 production didn't stay strong the whole model year!


      • #4
        Correction to last post: Car # 1036 of [u]Champions</u>. (Commanders used a different range of serial numbers.)