chassis number vs serial number

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    Is there a way to match the chassis number to a specific VIN or serial number for a PA 1933 model 836? Mine is listed as “236S1218”

    I believe it is the chassis number listed that somehow got onto the title as the VIN. When I look on the PA database, that “VIN” does not come up at all because I believe it is a chassis number.

    BTW, I have looked all over in all the usual and unusual places and cannot find another number under the car or in the door or engine compartment.

    This seems to be a common problem. I have noted that in many of the listed sales, there are serial numbers substituted for chassis numbers and vice-versa.

    Thank you

    Andrew Norris


    236 S 1218 is the body number, and it should be on the passenger side cowl or door sill. The engine number is on the block just below the head in the center on the drivers side. The chassis plate can be on either side in the front on the frame behind the wheels. The chassis tag is often missing. I would rather have the car titled by the engine number than the body number.


    Thanks for the fast response. Yes, I do understand that the number is wrong. I can only imagine the process that it would be to change the VIN with the DMV.

    Still, any way that you know to look up these numbers from one another? or were they just mix and match with no way to look them up from each other?



    Hi Andrew, to use the correct nomenclature, a ‘VIN” did not exist until sometime in the ’60’s I think.

    Prior to a ‘VIN’ it was a ‘chassis’ number or ‘Serial’ number.. and an engine number.

    Is the 236S1218 on your title as the ‘vin’ or serial number? or does it have a number that you cannot find anywhere on the car?

    Most but not all 1933 cars and an aluminum Chassie/Serial number plate riveted to the frame, under the right front fender. The plate was about 6″-7″ long and about 4″ high. only two aluminum rivets were used to fasten it to the chassis, so it did not take long for the rivets or the plate to corrode and the number plate to fall off.

    The engine number is on the flat, raised part of the cylinder block, just under the head gasket, midway of the engine driver’s side. The hand-stamped numbers are often difficult to read. But shining a bright light on the flat surface from several different angles and directions will often show enough to decipher the faint numbers.

    In the paper roster, both chassis and engine numbers are listed if they were provided by the PAS member when they entered their car’s information. Sometime a body number is added to the description.

    The engine numbers and chassis numbers rarely match after the 1920’s. I do know that my 1919 Series 31 does have matching engine and chassis numbers. On the earlier cars, ’28 and earlier the chassis numbers were stamped directly on the frame, in various locations. A much better and long-lasting way to serialize the chassis.

    Figure out your engine number and then look it up in the paper roster, you might find your car and the chassis number if it was ever recorded.

    Greg Long

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