Fisher Body Number Plates - Preface

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1964 through 1972 Chevelle Fisher Body Number plates preface.

Before reading this tech series there are some things you should know first so they will not have to be explained in every year's page.

Sixty percent of Fisher was originally purchased by United Motors, a holding company owned by General Motors, from the Fisher Brothers in 1919, (also purchased earlier were controlling interests in Hyatt, Delco, Frigidaire and Dayton). By 1925 Fisher Body was fully owned by GM, and until 1968 was operated as a separate company under the same roofs as Chevrolet, Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, and Cadillac, all owned by General Motors. Between 1958 and 1964 Fisher Body was operating at a total of 18 different assembly plants (producing full size Chevrolets) around the country, 15 of which also housed Chevrolet assembly lines. The other 3 Fisher Body plants, Cleveland (Euclid), Flint #1, and Lansing had to ship partially assembled bodies to the Fisher Body lines at other assembly plants which also had Chevrolet final assembly lines.

Fisher's production was controlled by GM's need to fill dealer orders for certain models with a variety of equipment. In some cases the bodies had to be modified to accommodate different options, some installed by Fisher, some later on the Chevrolet assembly line after the body met up with its appropriate chassis. The point is, although Fisher built bodies to accept a variety of Chevrolet options, their own body labeling method, the Fisher Body Number Plate (also known as cowl tag, trim tag, and other names) contained information that only related to the body itself. For continuity this book will refer to the Fisher Body Number Plate as a trim tag.' Fisher Body, through the use of the trim tag, provided information on each body in 8 separate categories. The information on the trim tag was not placed on the cars for the benefit of the assembly line workers who were building the car, (they used the Production Broadcast Notice, or "build sheet", as most people call it); it was meant to be a permanent record of the way each body was manufactured for purposes of later identification for dealer servicing, or warranty claims. It also protected the manufacturer against possible safety or legal claims, considering that over the life span of these cars equipment might be changed.

Each plant in each model year had their way of presenting information on the Fisher Body Number Plate. One should not think a trim tag is not authentic just because it does not look like the one on their car; many other factors must be taken into account. Each plant and each year should be looked at in and of itself. It is also not uncommon for a particular plant to change the basic format of their trim tag within a single model year. In 1964 the Baltimore final assembly plant changed the overall appearance of their trim tag in mid-year as did the Fremont final assembly plant in 1966.

Plants had different ways of showing the body assembly date, some would pad a single digit month (19) with a leading 0 (zero), some did not so. Where one plant in any given year would show January 3rd week as 1C, another would show 01C.

The assembly week letter (AE) has never really been defined. By that I mean, to one plant, the week letter A may mean the first full week of a given month regardless of the actual dates involved such as April of 1964 where the first full work week of April are dates 6 through 11. April 1, 2, and 3 could be considered the D or E week (4th or 5th week) of March by some plants but April 1, 2, and 3 may be considered the A week of April. How else would one explain some plants having an E letter 5th week letter and others not for a given month or how at least one plant, Fremont, having 3 consecutive months with E week coded tags (September, October, and November of calendar year 1966)? Some plants may not have an "E" week the entire model year where other plants will for given months. Bottom line; take the week letter with a grain of salt when trying to determine a date range. The physical calendar days that week letter may represent to that plant at that point in time is probably lost to history.

The STYLE number on most plants trim tags has no meaning as far as the car being assembled with a V8 or L6 engine. Generally Fisher Body didnt care what type or size of engine was to be installed. Fisher Body built the body itself from the firewall aft. See the table below for a matrix of plants/years and what's been found so far.

Some plants (1965-1968) would use a hyphen character (-) between lower and upper paint codes (such as F-F) where others did not (such as FF). A convertible or vinyl top would be designated with a single digit number. Beginning in 1969 paint codes changed from a letter to a 2-digit number for lower and upper body paint colors and a convertible or vinyl top would be designated with a letter.

The same holds true for several years of interior codes (1965-1967). Some plants will show a black bucket seat as code 763-B where others simply show it as #763. In most cases, the -B is redundant since trim code #763 is for black bucket seats anyway, the corresponding black bench seat is code #761 which, like the #763 example, will be shown as 761-A. An exception to this is when optional head rests were ordered. For those plants that used -A or -B, a -S was used to show head rests such as 761-S for a black bench seat or 763-S for a black bucket seat. Beginning in 1968 this -A and -B designation disappeared and in 1969 head rests became standard equipment. Beginning in 1972 bench and bucket seats no longer had unique trim codes for the same color & material. Instead, either the seat type was coded A51 or A52 and would follow the trim code where A51 would indicate bucket seats and A52 would indicate a bench front seat.

Paint designation codes varied between plants in the early years. Fremont in 1964 used 3 letters to designate the upper body color, the lower body color, and the steel wheel color. Fremont in 1964 was the only plant in any year to list the upper body color first followed by the lower body color. Other plants in 1964 used a 3-digit number for the paint code. In 1964, only the Kansas City plant used a 4th digit on convertibles to designate the convertible top color but Van Nuys (and Atlanta convertible bodies built at Euclid, OH.) would use a single digit number after the trim code to designate the convertible top color.

From 1964 through 1967 some plants would include group option codes while others did not. Beginning in 1968 this feature disappeared as well. The group option codes were to indicate to Fisher Body that something had to be changed from the 'norm' to accommodate an option typically installed by the final assembly line. This could be anything from noting tinted glass (all) or just tinted windshield; a different transmission (automatic or floor shifted manual) required modifications to either major dash assembly or floor pans; air conditioning required a different dash as well as firewall; even something as simple as a rear antenna required the hole to be marked in the passenger side quarter panel for the mounting. Optional equipment that required no modifications or installation by Fisher Body (such as a standard radio) were not noted in these group options.

Concerning Chevelles built in Oshawa, Ontario, those built for intended sale in Canada and those that were "imported" into the U.S. under GMs banner have vastly different trim tags than Chevelles built in the U.S. for U.S. sale. GM of Canada did not always offer the same body styles and in some cases, engine options that the U.S. did. For example, in 1965 and 1966, GM of Canada did not have a 300 Deluxe series but GM of Canada did have a 300 series convertible that the U.S. did not. No El Caminos were built in Canada, all were "imported" from the U.S. The 1970 LS6 engine was not available in a Canadian-built Chevelle in 1970 but GM of Canada documentation shows 231 U.S.-built Chevelles with the optional LS6 engine were sold via Canadian dealers but all of those LS6 Chevelles were built in the U.S. so they would have the appropriate U.S. plant trim tag.
Table of known assembly plants and whether they support odd 3rd digit in Style number or not
Plant ↓   Year → 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972
Arlington, TX.             unk Yes unk
Atlanta, GA. No unk No No unk No unk    
Baltimore, MD. unk No No No No unk Yes Yes Yes
Euclid, OH. unk No *              
Framingham, MA. No No No No Yes
Flint, MI.     No       unk    
Fremont, CA. Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes      
Kansas City, MO. No No * No No No No Yes Yes Yes
Van Nuys, CA. No           unk Yes unk
Oshawa, ON. Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes unk Yes

unk ~ No proof one way or the other if the plant that year coded the trim tag to match the engine type (L6 or V8). Any "unk" entry is still questionable. Anyone finding a trim tag from one of these plants with an odd 3rd digit is encouraged to email a photo of the tag to me and I'll update this page.

No ~ Those noted No are known to NOT have coded the trim tag to match engine type (such as 13637) and have L6 VINs (such as 13537) or 64 5637 trim tag style number and 45537 VIN in the case of 1964. Meaning the style number on the trim tag will show 13637 whether the car is a V8 or L6.

Yes ~ The trim tag style numbers match the series/body style on the VIN. Meaning a 13537 L6 Malibu will have a 13537 style number on the trim tag and 13637 V8 Malibu will have a style number of 13637 on the trim tag.

No * - confirmed on at least one El Camino body built at Euclid with 13480 body style and assembled at Kansas City with 13380 VIN and at least two 2-door station wagons built at Euclid with a 13215 body style assembled at Kansas City with a 13115 VIN.

          ~ Plant did not assemble Chevelles in this year.

It should also be noted that in 1972 Chevrolet VIN format changed and a single letter such as "B," "C,", "D," and "H" replaced the 31/32, 33/34, 35/36 and 38 series designation but the trim tag retained the Fisher Body Style 5-digit number so the Chevrolet VIN will not match the Fisher Body Style number in that regard, only the body style designation did not change - For example, #37 body style is still a sport coupe, #67 a convertible, etc.

Download the matrix as a .jpg file - right click and "Save"

[  Preface  ] | [ 1964 ] | [ 1965 ] | [ 1966 ] | [ 1967 ] | [ 1968 ] | [ 1969 ] | [ 1970 ] | [ 1971 ] | [ 1972 ]