Fans of early 60s Mopars appreciate the unique characteristics that distinguish these Mopars from their later siblings.
But sometimes those characteristics confuse people more familiar with the later years Mopars.
Take the Mopar Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) numbers for example.
Year One had posted on their Web site that 1964-65 models have the Vehicle Identification Number located on a stainless-steel plate riveted to the left front door hinge pillar post. That's not quite correct. It is important to clarify that the 1964 and 1965 Mopar Vehicle Identification Tag plate is NOT held on by rivets! Rivets were used in later years to hold the VIN in place, beginning in 1966.
Some law officials and even some
instruction manuals for how to confirm
a serial number look for rivets holding
the VIN tag.
...[T]he pre-1966 VIN plate was not attached with rivets. Some say they were attached by spot welds, but on Windsor-built cars they appear to be glued on. Chrysler did make Cycleweld metal bonding materials, remember.
On the cars I have seen, the plate appears to have been attached by stamping holes through the plate and the door post at the same time. This can be confirmed as the plate fits correctly only one way. If you turn the plate 180º, it will not fit properly due to the hole stamping.
Also check the back on the plate. On my 1965 Valiant and my friend's 1964 Valiant (both Canadian built) there appeared to be some dried substance on the back, much like a glue. My LA-built Lancer also appears to be glued on and does not appear to have spot welds. Bill Watson
Another item of confusion about the VIN tags is that they use different types of stamping: the first two characters are different from the rest:
As for the different stamping techniques on the plate, the authorities should check every 1960 to 1965 US-built Mopar car they can. They were all made that way.
And that was due to Chrysler using the Shipping Order Number (SON) to track the car from the initial receipt of the order to the point the car rolled off the assembly line. You will find the SON on the data tag, body (which also had model year and assembly plant digits), and broadcast sheet, but you will not find the VIN on the data tag, body (although some say it is there) or broadcast sheet, The build record has both numbers as the card was produced after the car was shipped from the assembly plant (it has 'Date Shipped' on it and it is kind of hard to know on October 1 the car was shipped two weeks later).
The VIN plates were produced by machine (the raised numbers) which had model year, assembly plant and sequential production number. As the car rolled to the end of the line, a line worked would grab a plate and punch the first two digits into the plate - the car line/engine and series/body type digits. Thus the hand stamped first two digits. Bill Watson
The following e-mail shows how confusion about the early Mopar VIN tags caused consternation for the owner of a 1964 Plymouth Barracuda.Part One
Glenn wrote in an e-mail: I was wondering if you could help me out with a little ordeal Im experiencing with a 1964 Barracuda I just purchased. I bought the car in Nebraska from its third owner. I met the original owner who told me she gave the car to her husbands brother, who was killed in a plane crash. The Barracuda then sat in a field until the third owner found it. He saw the Plymouth in a field, did a little research and found that it belonged to the brother in law of the clerk at the Ford dealership where he worked. He then found out that the brother in law had been killed. He asked about buying the Plymouth but the original owner said she would give it to him since they were co-workers. They got the title transferred in Nebraska.
I contacted the third owner and he decided to sell the Barracuda, so I went to Nebraska to pick it up on a trailer. I checked the VIN with the title and headed home to Wyoming with the car on a trailer. I am also almost 100% positive this car is unmolested (except by a few rust worms and a thousand mice) since I met the original owner and talked to her about it.
Wyoming law requires that VIN numbers from out of state require verification by a police officer prior to title transfer. I pulled my car down to the police station to get the VIN confirmed and they impounded the car because there were no rivets affixing the serial number plate to the door post. The police have an instruction manual for how to confirm a serial number. One of the requirements is that 'rivets are intact'. Well, I don't think 1964 Barracudas had rivets. I think they all have two holes and two tiny spot welds holding the VIN plate to the car. Can you confirm this for me? The police also have a problem with the fact that the first V4 are stamped into the plate and the rest are pressed in. They also checked with some national law enforcement organization that specializes in car VIN numbers. The folks in that office arent aware of anything without rivets or stamped numbers either. (But then they also report that all vehicles require a minimum of 17 characters in a VIN.)
I was wondering if you could help me locate some source that clears up how a VIN plate was mounted on 1964 A-bodies and some source that shows that the V4 being stamped was also standard procedure? The police have run the serial number and found that it is a clear number but they don't believe that it is proper for my car. I also own another 1964 Barracuda that has no rivets and has the V4 stamped but they wont use it as an example to clear my new project. (They almost wanted to impound it! And I have had that Barracuda titled in Wyoming since 1970!)
Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated. My Barracuda wants to be freed from jail!Part Two
Our reply to Glenn confirmed V4 as correct for a 1964 Barracuda and that he was correct about the fact that the first two VIN numbers (V4) are stamped into the plate and the rest of the VIN numbers are pressed in. We based this on looking at the FSM and actual tag on an in-person 1965 Barracuda.Part Three
Glenn replied: Todays suggestion from the police is that they will check with a different organization on Monday who provides the location of serial numbers in other locations on a car so they can verify the plate. One problem is, I don't think car manufacturers started marking ID in other locations until 1984. [Editor's note: Chrysler did not start stamping the VIN on the car itself until 1968.] Another issue with that suggestion is that if they do verify the number they will make me get a replacement serial number plate. I hate to do that....I want the original...I want everything original (or proper replacement) on this Barracuda. So if you can find a way for me to convince the police that this is correct I would really appreciate it.Part Four
We also posted the question to members of the 1962 to 1965 Mopar Mail List Clubhouse. Many people wrote to confirm this situation and Bill Watson provided some excellent background information, (see above boxed text). We summarized and sent the information to Glenn.Part Five
Glenn replied: Thanks so much for your help. With the information you provided and a couple of photos I downloaded of VIN plates for cars on E-bay the officer I'm dealing with today is going my way. He seems convinced and now is going to take the information to his lieutenant for a confirmation this afternoon.Part Six
Glenn wrote: The information you sent was a great help. The officer and lieutenant both agreed that I could get the VIN verification. They sent a guy with me to sign the verification and release the Cuda from jail. So thanks to your assistance I wont have to change the VIN tag. I even had the detective look at the 1962 to 1965 Mopar Web site. He suggested putting a note on the Web site about the fact that the first two digits are stamped and that there are holes with nothing in them. That way if other owners have a VIN problem there's a ready reference for a second opinion.
The result of all this cooperative effort means that another 1964 Plymouth Barracuda will undergo restoration! We hope to have some pictures of the 1964 Barracuda to post sometime in the future. Also, now there is a Web reference online, per the officers request
Special thanks to all the members of the 1962 to 1965 Mopar Mail List Clubhouse who contributed information that helped free Glenns Barracuda from jail!