Ford Patent Plate Decoding Charts

Serial Number (VIN) Information

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The following Ford patent plate diagrams and charts will help identify your Ford manufactured car or truck. Pay attention to the various footnotes as they may affect the proper identification of your vehicle. Ford products, prior to 1949, did not have serial number information on a tag or plate. The VIN* was a series of numbers stamped into the steel frame rails in specific locations. Refer back to the 1932 to 1948 chart and webpage for more information on the pre '49 vehicles. Note that Ford did attach a patent plate to the dash (firewall) of their 1951 and older passenger cars, but these tags did not include any vehicle identification information. They only listed the actual patents that Ford had on that particular vehicle.

1949-51 Ford Passenger Cars 
(refer to 49-59 decode chart below - see Note A
(1949-50 models stamped directly onto dash panel under the hood. Late 1951 models stamped on plate installed on dash under the hood)

1952 Ford Passenger Cars 
(Early models stamped on a plate installed on right front body pillar below upper hinge opening. Late models (May '52) on left as with 1953)

1953 Ford Passenger Cars   
(Stamped on a plate installed on left front body pillar below upper hinge opening)

1954 Ford Passenger Cars   
(Stamped on a plate installed on left front body pillar below upper hinge opening)

1955-56 Ford Passenger Cars   
(Stamped on a plate installed on left front body pillar below upper hinge opening)

1955-56 Ford Thunderbird   
(Stamped on a plate installed on the dash panel in the engine compartment)

1949 to 59 Ford Passenger Cars  
(Stamped plate locations vary by year)

1951 to 52 Ford Trucks (Series 1 thru 6) 

1953 to 55 Ford Trucks (Series 100 thru 600) 

1957 to 63 Ford Trucks 

1949 to 51 Mercury Passenger Cars 
(Stamped on top side of frame right side near front body bracket)

1952-54 Mercury Passenger Cars 
(Stamped on a plate on right front door pillar just below upper hinge opening)

1955-59 Mercury Passenger Cars
 (Stamped on a plate on left front door pillar just below upper hinge opening)

The breakdown of the codes on the plates is detailed in most Ford Parts and Accessories catalogs the cover the years of your car. The first couple years that Ford used these plates the listed identification codes were somewhat limited. Ford began to add more information to the plates as they progressed into the 1950's. There is too much detail to include on the website for these inclusive charts. We will include the basic details, but recommend that you make inquiries for more specific details to one of the many Ford enthusiast forums on the internet. Many people have access to these decoding charts and can help identify many details on your car or truck.

* VIN means "Vehicle Identification Number"

Note A: The 1949-50 and early 1951 Ford passenger cars did not have a Patent Plate/VIN tag with any breakdown data for the specific car. Late 1951 models included a stamped data plate, which included the vehicle serial number and a production code (defining color, trim, etc). The date plate with serial number and production codes continued with 1952 models and thereafter. The data plate chart for 1949-59 has a limited amount of information for the 49-51 model years. More production code numbers/letters were stamped in the cowl (dash panel) of 1949 to early 1951 models. The Early Ford V8 Club of America has additional information for these in its 1949-51 Restorers Guide book.  Station wagons from 1949 to 1951 had special serial number codes with the A prefix. There were exceptions on the wagon serial numbers. 

Note B: Resources state conflicting facts about the location of the 1952 data plate. In general, it seems to have been located on the right front pillar. One source states that the location  was changed to the left front pillar beginning with May 1, 1952 production.

1932 to 48 Ford Serial Number Chart


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