The Packard vehicle number system can give you an exceeding headache, 180 style, if you let it. Here are some of the ways you can tell the body style, the production series, the model, and approximate age of your Packard.
Prior to late 1930, the vehicle numbers were basically the same numbers that appeared on the engine and other chassis components. This system identifies the series and approximate age only.
Starting with the 8th series in 1930, a new vehicle numbering system came into use. The serial system consisted of a body type code incorporating the production numbers. The body type numbers consisted of two or more digits and were used by Packard internal record-keeping from the beginning. Now they would be used on the car and be the first group of digits on the vehicle plate The next digits represented the production number of the body style What we have as a result is this: Found on the fire-wall is a rectangular plate with the numbers 510-100. By consulting one of several Packard subject books you can find that 510 is a 9th series Touring. The second numbers tell you that it is the 100th Touring model produced in the model. This system remained unchanged through the 11th series.
Starting with the 12 Series in August 1934 the production number of each body style started with a 200 base. A 1935 120 Business Coupe has a body style code of 898. Thus if it were the 100th produced its entire number would be 898-300.
Starting in August of 1937, with the 16th Series, the production number started with a 2000 base. Thus a 1938 110 Business Coupe has a body style code of 1188. If it were the 100th produced, its entire number would read 1183-2100. This system was used until Packards last model was produced.
Packard custom built autos have a different series system for vehicle numbers. Since the factory didn’t know what kind of body would be built on the chassis, the vehicle number is composed of the model number and yjr production number on the chassis. Custom bodied Packards usually have an additional number located elsewhere on the body to identify its builder.
Somewhere in this mess is also the fact that Packard made two 1949 models, and the late 1949 and the 1950 23rd series covered a two year span. As you may remember from our previous articles on the 22nd and 23rd series, the 1949 22nd series carried a -9- between the model and production numbers. The 1950 23rd series has a -5- between the model and production numbers.