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1949 VIN / modern engine and frame for 1949 body

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  • 1949 VIN / modern engine and frame for 1949 body

    Need to check on a VIN for 1949 convertible. Bought car on ebay, had it moved to Tennessee. I am in military in Georgia and haven't seen it yet. But I was given a title with VIN given as 460787. This seems unusual for a 1949 VIN, only 6 digits. I have another title for 49 convertible with a 7 digit VIN, 4387374 and a 52 starlight with G1166346. I have cars and parts cars scattered across several states, I haven't gotten them together yet, most I haven't even seen yet. None of them are with me in the army so I can't run out and check. The person looking after the car in Tennessee tells me he can't find the VIN, it isn't on the door post. So my question is what VINs were used in 1949, is my 6 digit VIN valid and where on the car can the VIN be found if it is missing off the door post?

    Also would appreciate any information about total mechanical upgrade. I want to change over to 1970s or 1980s running gear and possibly frame. Want to build something simple and solid for daily driver and cross country trips. I have heard Malibu or S10 truck frame will fit. Chevy 350 engine may fit but I hear it is really tight, might need some chopping on the body. Would love to put a Chevy 250 straight 6 in it but this may be too long. How much more room would you get using Commander/Land Cruiser front instead of the Champion? Does anyone have any experience doing this?

  • #2
    VIN for Studebaker can vary depening on the state it was first registered in. The body serial number (on the driver door post) is most common, but some states used the engine serial number. Only to confuse the issue, in 1949, some states didn't use titles, so it might have been titled in a different state later in its life. If the body serial number plate is missing from the driver's door, it is possible you may find a hidden serial number stamped into the chassis cross brace above the rear axle - very likely rusted away, as they weren't stamped very deep in the first place. Try light wire brushing in this area, then use blue die to see if you can find it. Not holding out a lot of hope for this. I've heard that the S-10 frame is almost a bolt-on except for the spare tire socket in the trunk, but I've never actually done this so I don't really know. Keeping the original frame will give you better handling. As to an engine swap, I think the best fit in that little engine comparment is the 4.3 V6. If you do go with a belly-button motor, you will have to cut the firewall to make it fit.


    • #3
      That 6-digit number falls into the range of '49 Champion engine numbers. Quite likely, that's what it is - the engine number. As whacker has intimated, many states registered cars by engine number, up thru the 50s at least.
      That 7-digit number is the serial (VIN)number for a '49 Commander.
      Likewise, that G1166346 is within the range for a '52 Champion.

      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.