Vehicle Identification

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Vehicle Identification

Postby Neil Evans » Mon Apr 07, 2014 10:20 pm

I often get asked how to identify the different models of our vehicles so here's a short guide to vehicle identification. All of our Austins have a unique chassis number and this is stamped into a plate that's attached to the car. Early cars had the plate stamped from the top, later models were reverse stamped. Nowhere on the vehicles is the chassis/VIN number stamped directly into the steel as on modern vehicles.

All AS3 and early AS4/A2S4 models had this plate:-

Image

On AS3s it was located centrally to the front of the battery shelf, thus...

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The first few months of AS4/A2S4 production have the same plate, but mounted centrally on the bulkhead, behind the heater box or where it would be if one was fitted. (no picture)

All cars with this style of plate had a second plate with more details displayed, attached to the driver's sun visor.

Chassis plate 2.jpg
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By autumn 1954 Austin were using this larger plate...

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Initially mounted on the L/H flitch panel (the vertical panel to the side of the engine bay), thus...

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After a short time it moved back to the bulkhead, slightly to the left of centre, near to the starter switch...

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By 1956 the same plate had moved to the near side (left hand) 'A' post, between the door hinges, where it stayed till van production ended in february 1968.

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At some point it late van production, the plate design changed to this:-

Image

All of the plates are available as replicas from Classic Reproductions, http://www.classicrepro.co.uk/Austin.htm

All of our Austins also carry a plate with the body number stamped into it. On saloons this is welded to the leading edge of the bulkhead/battery shelf, to the right of centre, thus...

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The Van, Countryman and Pick Up models displayed the number on a plate that was pop riveted to the bulkhead, thus...

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All of the 'commercial' models built by Fisher & Ludlow also had a number directly stamped into the bulkhead, forward of where the heater ducts pass through. This is likely to be the actual factory body number, but it's a red herring as far as we're concerned as that stamped on the plate higher up is almost always a slightly different number. However, it's the one used on any official records of the vehicle. It is commonly thought that the Fisher & Ludlow staff charged with fitting the plates once they were painted didn't think it necessary to match the plates to the correct shell... :whistle:

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Re: Vehicle Identification

Postby one.relic » Tue Apr 15, 2014 4:34 pm

Fantastic info for those of us new to these cars Neil, it's greatly appreciated!

I do have a couple of additional questions about vehicle ID and information, and figured it might be easier to ask it here, instead of creating a new topic. On my A2S4, I know exactly where the chassis number plate is, but I can't seem to find where the engine number is located. I've got the information plate on top of the cylinder head, but I can't seem to see anything on it that indicates the actual engine number, and unless I'm blind (which is a great possibility), I didn't see it near the thermostat housing as has been suggested to me.

I know that I can get a heritage certificate and technical spec sheet from the Heritage Centre, but is there a place that I could find out what registration number, tax discs, etc. would've come with my car originally? Is there also any way (through the Heritage Centre or other) that anyone knows of that I could use to try and track down ownership history of my vehicle?
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Re: Vehicle Identification

Postby Neil Evans » Tue Apr 15, 2014 7:27 pm

The engine number should be on a plate attached to the top face of the cylinder block, just under the front most spark plug. Very often they have been removed by engine reconditioners to enable them to face the block before carrying out a rebore.

The DVLA will, for a fee, give the registered keeper the history that they have on the car, including previous keepers and number plates the car has had. However, this usually only goes back to the late 1970s when computerised records started to be kept for older cars...

Some of the local authority records survive at county archives etc but it is spasmodic. A postcode lottery if you like.
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Re: Vehicle Identification

Postby A40FARINAGURU » Tue Apr 15, 2014 8:50 pm

Neil Evans wrote:The DVLA will, for a fee, give the registered keeper the history that they have on the car, including previous keepers and number plates the car has had. However, this usually only goes back to the late 1970s when computerised records started to be kept for older cars...

And the form you will need for that is a V888 (downloadable) just type in V888 in Google etc
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Re: Vehicle Identification

Postby gazza82 » Tue Apr 15, 2014 8:57 pm

Would a LHD US car be on DVLA records though?
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Re: Vehicle Identification

Postby A40FARINAGURU » Tue Apr 15, 2014 8:58 pm

gazza82 wrote:Would a LHD US car be on DVLA records though?

depends if it has/or was registered in this country
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Re: Vehicle Identification

Postby Neil Evans » Wed Apr 16, 2014 7:08 am

One should always assume I'm talking about UK registered cars unless a specific question is asked otherwise. I don't have time or inclination to stalk every poster around the forum...
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Re: Vehicle Identification

Postby Duncan » Mon Feb 06, 2017 6:04 am

could be opening a can of worms, but Is it considered bad form to replace a lost chassis tag on an Austin? There seems to be replacement "blanks" around, although I'm not sure how tidy you could punch up a set with the correct numbers.

I know on another can forum I'm on (GMH-Torana) the mere mentioning of "restamping" be it chassis numbers or engine numbers brings out a lot of debate & angst because of the number of cars of dubious heritage that get sold for high prices.
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Re: Vehicle Identification

Postby Dave Clark » Mon Feb 06, 2017 8:18 am

In the UK I don,t think that there is any problem replacing a chassis plate on an A30 or A35,providing it is like for like.

The plates are "reverse stamped" so not as simple as re-stamping from the front.
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Re: Vehicle Identification

Postby Neil Evans » Mon Feb 06, 2017 10:03 am

These folk can reverse stamp the plates to original spec, though they don't appear to supply the correct plate for an A30/A35. The correct ones are available elsewhere and I'm sure they'll be able to accommodate it. There are, hopefully, security checks made to confirm you own the vehicle that you need the plate for...

https://www.minisport.com/catalogsearch/result/?cat=0&q=chassis+plate
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Re: Vehicle Identification

Postby A40FARINAGURU » Mon Feb 06, 2017 6:26 pm

Neil Evans wrote:These folk can reverse stamp the plates to original spec, though they don't appear to supply the correct plate for an A30/A35. The correct ones are available elsewhere and I'm sure they'll be able to accommodate it. There are, hopefully, security checks made to confirm you own the vehicle that you need the plate for...

https://www.minisport.com/catalogsearch/result/?cat=0&q=chassis+plate



Minimail do as well, i have known them many years, Tim is the owner

http://www.minimail.co.uk/chassis-vin-plates/
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