There is something sterile and just a bit too fussy about a modern VIN or vehicle information number. That’s the 17-digit code stamped onto a plate mounted in the dash of the driver’s-side lower corner of every modern vehicle windshield. The number identifies not only the car, but the car’s original components.
Green doesn’t have a VIN–too old. Instead, he has a series of serial numbers stamped onto components individually. One of my first interests as I get time is to document the numbers, but fall is coming, winter will be close behind, and I am not fond of crawling around in snow under a truck for the sake of pictures. That may have to wait until spring but I’ll get to those numbers eventually.
What Green has as an identity is a manufacturer’s model plate on the driver’s-side door pillar. You can see that his has been scrubbed clean by decades of time, weather, and wear, so I’ll have to eventually go looking for a reproduction. Thankfully General Motors stamped the serial numbers into the zinc rather than painting it on: 5GRB3125. Like the other numbers used on components, the number codifies a bit of mechanical family history. The information in the serial number can be deciphered from second page of the GM Vehicle Information Kit, which was the subject of a previous posting. Here is what it tells me:
5 = Kansas City, Mo. assembly plant
GR = 3600 series (3/4-ton) truck
B = February assembly
3125 = sequential assembly number in 1949
So no wonder Green could buck like a Missouri mule when the clutch didn’t come out right (though I’ve learned to shift a standard transmission a little better than I did back in 1977).