NEW VERSION (FIRST SKETCH ONLY 13. May 2012) about VIN, Serial Numbers, Body Tags, 80+ Build Cards etc.

 

T'is true there's magic in the web of it: Dodge Series WC51 to WC61 Build Cards


This page is based on an analysis of Dodge Build Cards performed by Juan Pelaez and Richard Tercier.
A caveat from Juan in the beginning: This analysis is based on a limited number of cards available
at the moment of the analysis (the dataset used can be found at the bottom of this page
and the cards can be seen on the Build Card page), therefore all conclusions are preliminary.
 
A lot more cards are needed to confirm the results.
Any comments that shine more light on the interpretation of the build cards are appreciated.
 
In addition a build card template created by Richard Tercier is used in this page.

What's in a card?


The build card contains a multitude of important information about the dodge as e.g.
schedule number, sales order number, spec. o. number, body model in the top row or
date built, shipped date, serial number, motor number, body number in the bottom row.

BuildCard

The information is printed or handwritten on the card in the top, middle and bottom row

BuildCard

The information from the bottom and middle row is also encoded as a form punch card
by holes punched into the card, presumably for automated sorting/processing.

BuildCard

Decoding the punched holes, which might be useful if the written information is
no longer cleary readable, can be done with the help of this table:

BuildCard

Each number from the top row is duplicated in the same column by the punched holes.
The example below illustrates this with a fictive dealer number.

BuildCard

 
 

Let every eye negotiate for itself


Some entries on the build are also put on various parts of the vehicle.
The chassis (serial) number is put with marking stamps on the external left
front side of the chassis and the engine block is engraved with the motor
number on its front left side.

BuildCard
 
BuildCard

There is another marking on the exterior of the chassis,
located on the drivers side towards the back wheel.
This engraving identifies the chassis model.

BuildCard

WC51, 56 and 58 921681
WC52 and 57 922825
WC53 921609
WC54 922021
WC55 925065
WC59 and 61 927975
WC60 927843

BuildCard

This number consists of series number model number body number.
The series number 42 is a number given by Dodge to the ton WC series
and is the same for all vehicles of all production years.
 
The model number - the same as found on the upper right corner of the build card describes the model.

BuildCard

The body number the same as found on the bottom right of the build card describes
number in production, e.g. the 1650th vehicle of this type produced
 
The serial number from the build card is also found on the plate on the dashboard

BuildCard

In addition to that command cars have also the cabin number engraved on the firewall
at the front of the cabin. This appears to be a Budd serial number; it does not match the
body number on the identification plate and does not seem to be correlated to any of the
dodge numbers on the build card or vehicle.

BuildCard

 
 

To winch, or not to winch?

When you receive a build card from Chrysler, you will have a lot of information as built date,
the chassis number, motor number and much more, but the exact model, e.g. if it is a WC51 or WC52,
and if it was originally equipped with a winch or not is less obvious from the build card.
 
To clarify that you need a more in-depth look at the build card. There are two entries on the build card
that allow us to figure out whether it was originally equipped with a winch or not: Sales order number
and spec order number. Please be aware, that the following conclusions are based on a limited number of
available datasets.

BuildCard

This conclusion is supported by technical drawings from Dodge.
Exemplarily plans of a WC52, 53, and 54 from 1942 are shown below with the S.E.O. Number
whose first five digits are identical with the spec. order number in the top right corner.
 
PICTURES WILL FOLLOW

 
 

What's in a date?

After production the vehicles were taken to an open-air storage areas and put in stock,
awaiting the finishing details as the US registration number on the hood and the final
acceptance inspection by a government inspector.
 
It is not entirely clear what they used to give as the date of production, the day it left
the production line, the day it was fuly completed, or the day the US registration number
was painted on it. This seems not to have been clearly defined and for now the built date
is assumed to be the date when it was completely finished and ready to be packed for shipment.
 
Below the date built there is a field for the date shipped, which you could assume contains
the shipping date, but in reality this does not seem to be the case. Comparing vehicles that
still have the original serial number on the hood with this entry on their build cards shows
that this field contains in handwriting the US registration number for all the examples
available for us.

BuildCard

If we look at the build card of this vehicle, series number 81540914 with the US registration W-81540914 on the hood, the following can be found:
Dodge received the order for this WC57 under the number W-398-QM-11422 as part of an order for a batch of 916 units.
Registration numbers assigned were W-20184953 to W-20185868 and this dodge was the second unit from this batch.
 
As this is consistent for the few datasets available for this study the preliminary conclusion is:
If this field was used at all, it was routinely used to fill in by hand the US registration number already or soon to be placed on the hood.
 
 
 
Below is a detailed list of the build cards included in this study sorted by chassis number and year.
Additional buld cards received will be added to this list and carefully checked whether the conclusions presented above can be confirmed or have to be revised.

BuildCard