Frame and Engine Serial Numbers

There is usually no engine number stamped in the block, but the transmission bell housing was factory stamped with a number which, when the car was assembled, becomes the vehicle serial number.

The frame numbers which match the engine (transmission) number is usually stamped in three places on the top surface of the left-hand frame rail (front, center and rear). The only number which can be seen with the body mounted is the front number. The prefix was usually omitted from the center and rear frame numbers.

For Ford cars, the frame numbers started in 1932 with *18-1* (* being a star) and ran consecutive until the end of production in February, 1942. Mercury production began in 1938 with ’39 models at *99A-1* and continued sequentially to the end of production in 1942.

Post war production began in 1945 (’46 models) continuing the Mercury sequence (*99A-etc-.*) for both Fords and Mercurys. This is due to the fact that the same 100hp 239 cubic inch engine was used in Fords and in Mercurys. The sequence continued to the end of production in 1948, the only changes being in the 1947 prefix (799A) and in the 1948 prefix (899A).

The year end cut off numbers are only approximate as some assembly plants could have engines left over from the previous model year that would be assembled into cars for the next model year. The reverse situation could also occur.

This information was compiled from various sources and we wish to thank the Ford archives as well as each of the V-8 times advisors for their assistance. The data is as accurate as we have available at this time. If time proves that some of the information is incorrect or omitted, we apologize. If you are aware of new or conflicting facts, please email us.


FORD, 221 CID V-8

NOTE: It has come to our attention that there may have been serial numbers beginning with 699 for 1946 vehicles, instead of 99 as listed above.

ALSO, For 1942-1947 Pickups, a letter after the first numbers indicate the size truck: C = 1/2 ton, Y = 1 ton, T = 1 1/2 ton


1937 started with 54-6602
1938 started with 54-358,335
1939 continued from 1938 to 54-506,500
1940 54-506,500 to the end.

There are other number sequences for 4 CYL 32-34, 4 CYL 41-42, 6 CYL 41-48. Some early 1933 model V-8’S used a “40” prefix.

Contributed by Dan Krehbiel, CA