Q&A by Kit Foster

Answers to auto restoration questions from OCW readers.
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Q. I just finished restoration of a 1951 Chevy truck, my first project, and I had numerous resources to draw from for parts and services. I’m now moving on to a 1940 Plymouth Road King P9 two-door sedan. I’m struggling to find resources for parts. The body and engine are sound and will make the major parts of this project relatively easy. However, can you point me to some available and reliable resources for interior (I need all the details) and body trim parts (weather stripping, rubber kits, etc.)? John Roth, Harvest, Ala.

A. Yours is a frequent lament, for once one leaves the Chevy-Ford domain the reproduction companies and specialists become more scarce. There’s safety (and comfort) in numbers, however, so the first thing you should do is join the Plymouth Owners Club (P.O. Box 416, Cavalier, ND 58220-0416, www.plymouthbulletin.com). If anyone knows where to find Plymouth materials, it will be members of that club. This holds true for any marque, but is especially true for independent and orphan makes.

Q. I have a 1942 Ford coupe, short-door, five-window, that was sold to me years ago as a Super Deluxe. It was purchased as a basket case after being torn down by a previous owner, so its original configuration is near impossible to discern other than from its VIN. The DMV registration shows it as 1GA90348. However, my research indicates that the VIN should start with “IGA,” not “1GA.” The actual VIN on the left frame member is faint and impossible to verify. Under the hood on the upper left firewall in large stampings is “KC” with “27G364” stamped in the upper middle area. The cowl tag is missing. A VIN of IGA90348 would indicate it was built with a six-cylinder engine. Since Model 21A (both Deluxe and Super Deluxe) had only the eight-cylinder engine, mine must be the Model 2GA (Deluxe or Standard). Model 2GA came as a three-passenger coupe, six-passenger Tudor or six-passenger Fordor. Therefore, my car must be the three-passenger coupe of which only 1,606 were produced in war-shortened 1942. Would you agree? Is there any way to estimate the production date of the vehicle? Ralph Cannon, Citrus Heights, Calif.

A. Not exactly. The 1942 Ford listings in the Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942 are confusing. To begin with, the VIN actually does begin with 1GA, not IGA. For some reason, a number of manufacturers actually stamped a capital “I” for the numeral one on data plates — I had a Studebaker where this was so. It was most confusing and probably one reason why the letters I, O and Q are not used in VINs today. It seems odd that a car of model 2GA had a VIN beginning with 1GA, but that is due to the oddities of the Ford numbering system. Ford used engine numbers for VINs (Ford called them “motor numbers”), and these numbers kept the same prefix for the life of a given engine design, up to World War II. Thus all prewar Ford V-8s had VINs beginning with “18,” because the engine was first used in the Model 18 of 1932. The ’42 Ford six had an engine first used in the ’41 Ford, Model 1GA. VINs for the ’41 sixes ran to 1GA-34800. All six-cylinder ’42 Fords were designated Model 2GA. There were three series of sixes, Super Deluxe, Deluxe (which corresponded to the old “Standard” model pre-1941) and an entry-level Special of fairly austere specification. The Special was only available in the three body styles you mention. Deluxe and Super Deluxe sixes also had a “sedan coupe” (what we call a club coupe) and station wagon, and a convertible was available only as a Special Deluxe. The V-8 lineup was the same except that there was no Special series. This means that your car could be a Special, Deluxe or Super Deluxe. The corresponding body types are 77C, 77A and 77B, respectively. You can probably identify the car by its front trim, given that all the pieces actually came from the same car. The Super Deluxe had a script on the left front fender, and Deluxe cars had the series name vertically on the grille separator. Specials had no bumper guards and used black hub caps. Yes, the production of Special coupes ran to 1,606 cars only. The only production figures I can find for the other three-passenger coupes lump sixes and V-8s together: 5,936 Deluxes and 5,411 Super Deluxes. As for estimating production date, Model 2GA VINs ran from 34801 to 227523 (with some exceptions). Production began on Sept. 12, 1941, and was suspended the first week of February 1942. Simple interpolation, which is a bit simplistic because it assumes a constant production rate, suggests your car was built the third week of October 1941.

To submit questions to this column: E-mail ron.kowalke@fwpubs.com or mail to: Q&A, c/o Ron Kowalke, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990-0001

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