View topic - 58 firesweep serial number tag

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 4:02 pm 
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My 58 desoto firesweep 2drht is missing the serial number tag on the post. I do have a title with the engine number on it and it matches the engine. It does have the body tag. I have tried to get the chrysler historical society to research the serial number based on the engine number but they will not.

I am hesitant to put $20K in a restoration and then not being able to sell the car. As long as i kept it for ever i could replace the tag with the engine number on it but anyone whom knows desotos would know it is not a serial number thus it would be hard to sell.

i could not find the serial number on the body but did not remove the body from the frame. Any ideas?


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 4:48 pm 
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Conrad,
I know from experience that there are confidential serial numbers stamped into the frame for local and law enforcement use in identifying stolen vehicles and their parts.
Back in the early sixties, a car club member bought a '56 Chevrolet from a friend that turned out to be AWOL from the Navy and had stolen the car to get back home from the base. One day a conspicuous black sedan pulled up to the club house and a couple of "black suits" pulled out a tool box and proceeded to cut a hole in the front floor of the Chevy, just ahead of the driver's side seat. They wire brushed the top of the exposed frame rail in that location and wrote down the serial number in their little "spirial bound' note book. They then rounded up all of the members present calling them out by name and confirming each member's name, address, phone number, place of employment, girl friend's name and address, etc.(Scary, huh?)
I believe that you will find your De Soto's serial number in this location hopefully without having to cut a hole in the floor by using mirrors. If you're not successful finding it here, you may want to check with your local law enforcement folks to see if they can tell you where to find it or find it for you.
In Ohio, the State Highway Patrol can do this but you have to take it to one of their inspection stations. They can also create a legal replacement tag.
You may also want to contact Richard Blomquist (Hemmings Advertiser) of White Glove Collection email: whitegloveauto@hotmail.com a supplier of custom fabricated serial number plates.
Hope this has been helpful (if not entertaining)
Geoff


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 9:05 pm 
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Please post a copy of the data plate and hopefully we can help you

There are a number of curve balls to get past:

Firesweeps were made in Detroit at Dodge Main and also in LA which means different sequences of numbers

The format of data plates were more Dodge than the senior DeSotos

The format of the VIN changed from 57 to 58 to 59; 57 used 5xxxxxx, 58 used a L prefix; 59 M41x

In 59, they drilled holes for a plate on the door jam but didn't use it because the full VIN was on the top line of the data plate....


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:59 am 
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geoff, the car is pretty much disassembled so i probably should remove the body from the frame to check if the serial number is there. If i find the serial number i can then get a bonded title or have DMV check it out and switch title to serial number otherwise i cannot do anything.

If you hear more about where desoto put the hidden serial number it would be very helpful. There has to be at least one person in the club that has done a frame off restoration that may have seen that it exists.

Bob, I will post the body tag info. The car does have the body tag. I contacted Chrysler historical for a build sheet and they could not search based on the engine number nor the body tag info.

A number of posts state that many states registered cars based on the engine number in the 50's. Once post indicated that california dealers had to stamp the serial number on the engine someplace when they registered the care with the engine number. it would be nice to know that place as well and if it is true.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:17 am 
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Conrad, ask Ed Petrus where the number is on the frame. He is the 1957 model year advisor and you can get his contact info by clicking on resources on the left. I had a similar question some time back and he told me where it is located. I can't remember exactly where it is but I think somewhere on the rear where the frame goes up over the axle.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 8:26 pm 
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Thanks, Les, for recommending me. I told Conrad where I "believed" that hidden number is located, but honestly, I've never SEEN one. The "scoop" is that it is on the passenger side, outside, or possibly TOP of frame, just ahead of where the frame curves up over the rear axle. If it's on TOP, I imagine you'd only find it with the body off, unless there's a way of squeezing a mirror up there. However, I've never had a frame clean enough to look for it personally. Several folks have sent me pictures (which I have in my collection) of stenciled-on numbers, on the frame side, driver's side, but we think that's the frame PART number. Surely the VIN wouldn't be painted/stenciled on. I'm hoping that one of the guys who has done a concours restoration, including the frame, found that number and can help.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 8:46 pm 
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I found it stamped on a '57 and '58 Chrysler years ago just where Ed suggests, but it required very thorough cleaning of the frame to see it.

I've seen the numbers on the driver's side of a '56 frame and also agree it was likely the part number of the frame since it was painted stencil rather than stamped.

I've never found a stamped number on a DeSoto frame, even though we HAVE looked. However, all of the DeSoto frames I've seen stripped down were '56, rather than '57.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 1:29 am 
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I searched the frame and could not find a serial number. The place on the door where the serial number tag would have been has rust around the screw holes which appears that the plate has been gone for decades or never existed.

Could this car have been a late 58 and used the 59 serial number tagging? In 59 they just used the body tag. Are any of the numbers on the attached body tag the serial number?

If you look at the body tag it has four rows of numbers at the top.These rows are listed as sequence numbers so that you cannot alter the first numbers as the sequence would be wrong and it would be evident.
If you take the first digit from each row you get 6 1 2 9. Could this be my serial number? what other meaining could these rows have. Could some one check it against their serial number tag for a 58 desoto?


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 3:33 pm 
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conradgeibel wrote:
I searched the frame and could not find a serial number. The place on the door where the serial number tag would have been has rust around the screw holes which appears that the plate has been gone for decades or never existed.
Could this car have been a late 58 and used the 59 serial number tagging? In 59 they just used the body tag. Are any of the numbers on the attached body tag the serial number?


IMHO, the serial-number-on-frame thing was used to ensure that during the body drop phase of assembly, the correct body was mated to the correct frame. Also, I believe that the serial number was stenciled in white to make it easy to read. I've seen concourse-quality Mopars with this clearly visible on the frame in white. I've never heard a first-hand account that this was done for law enforcement purposes.

Your car's production date was Oct 11, 1957. So it was built early in the model year. Your car, and every other Dodge/Desoto built during the 58 model year, had the VIN number on the A-post.

conradgeibel wrote:
If you look at the body tag it has four rows of numbers at the top.These rows are listed as sequence numbers so that you cannot alter the first numbers as the sequence would be wrong and it would be evident.
If you take the first digit from each row you get 6 1 2 9. Could this be my serial number? what other meaning could these rows have. Could some one check it against their serial number tag for a 58 desoto?


The numbers on the body tag are designed to be read vertically. There would be a larger number as a third digit, which is used to indicate that a car has a given option. While most 59 Dodges/Desotos had the VIN incorporated in the data plate, cars built in LA still had the tag on the A-post, along with a completely different data plate than what you would see on a Detroit-built car.

Ron


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 4:11 pm 
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Hi Ron,

Can you tell from the body tag whether the car was built in LA or Detroit? Which one do i have?
Also, I still do not understand what the top four rows of numbers mean. They represent something. the rows start with different numbers and each row is sequenced differently. As you read the first column of the top four rows down vertically they show 6129.

1011 = October 11, that makes sense

This car has not tag on the A frame.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 8:04 pm 
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The stainless tags on the left front hinge pillar were resistance spot-welded to the pillar, and holes in the pillar were for alignment and location of the tag.

It is not uncommon for the tags to have fallen off. I've flicked them off with my fingernail by accident when I inspect them on cars we restore.

If it's just a matter of establishing a valid VIN for the car so that the car is marketable in some future time, your state should be able to do an inspection based on your documentation in hand and issue a new VIN. In Kansas that unfortunately means that the state is going to stick a very inauthentic looking tag on the car, but the car is legal afterwards.

It's interesting that your title has the engine number on it. Is that indicated as the VIN, or only as the engine number? Conventional wisdom is that the engine number was used almost exclusively as the VIN until about 1954 but a VIN other than the engine # was used afterwards.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 9:59 pm 
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It is almost the engine number on the title and not a serial number. Of course when i bought it the guy indicated he had a clear title. He faxed me it and it listed a 58 desoto firesweep and an L35D-xxxx as the vin on the title. I trusted that seeing the title that it was a serial number as i did not know the format. Never thought about it until i went to restore it and discovered it was not a serial number. So now i have a disassembled project in the paint shop.

Now it was a valid california title from 1980's. Maybe the state assigned this as the title but the dude never replaced the serial number tag with the number on the title.

i hope somebody can tell me what the numbers mean at the top of my body tag as they are not on the 57 & 58 body tags i have seen on line. These may be a clue so i can get the build sheet.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 10:47 pm 
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Conrad,

A complete serial number or VIN for a 1958 Desoto Firesweep built in Detroit would look like LS1-1001 which was the beginning SN for the Detroit Firesweeps. The beginning serial number for the Firesweeps built in LA was LS1L-1001. Your body tag does not show your VIN or SN.

Don't hold me to it, but I believe the numbers on your body tag (top rows read 61-80 with the bottom rows reading 29-60. These numbers correspond to the numbers on the IBM punch cards in use at the time. The larger numbers stamped below the bottom row of numbers indicate the options your car was equipped with.

Mac


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2015 2:09 am 
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As Mac notes 58 Desoto Firesweeps are IDed by LS1-xxxx (1958 Desoto Firesweep)

You mentioned that the fax was L35D-xxxx

Was the VIN on the fax hand written?

Could it be that the correct "S1" was incorrectly transcribed to "35D"?

Oct 11 is early in the production year. They made 19,414 Firesweeps in 58

Is your xxxx a rather low number?

It may be that your car VIN is LS-1 xxxx

412 confirms Desoto Firesweep 2 door HT

XDX Pearl White top/Midnight Blue Body/Pearl White sweep


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2015 9:29 pm 
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Hi Bob,

the car matches the body tag perfectly.

The issue is the title has a vin of L35D-WXYZ. WXYZ is in the 7000's

The motor has the motor number of L350-WXYZ stamped on it. This matches the title except that the 0 has been replaced with a D on the title.

No serial number tag. I am suspecting that the tag fell off many years ago and the car was retitled with the engine number with a D instead of 0. It is to much of a coincidence that the title matches the engine number except for the zero which is a D. The owner never had the DVM add a new serial number tag. California title. I cannot drive the car with out a serial number tag. I am going to request a lost tag.

I asked the chrysler to search for the engine number and provide the serial number but they would not since the build sheets are on microfish numbered by serial number only.

I understand the serial number format for 58. I understand the engine number format for 58. I do not understand all of the small numbers on the build plate and was hoping if read vertically they provided a serial number such as 6129 (first row of the numbers).


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