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CRG Research Report

Fisher Body Numbers on 1967-1969 Camaros

© 1999-2011, Camaro Research Group

Edited by and
Reviewed by the CRG
Last Edit: 03-Dec-2011
Previous Edit: 08-Jan-2011, 01-Nov-1999
Original Release: 14-Oct-1999

  1. 1967-68 Norwood Fisher Body Numbers
  2. 1967 Van Nuys Fisher Body Numbers
  3. 1968 Van Nuys Fisher Body Numbers
  4. 1969 Fisher Body Numbers

Background

One of the mysteries of the first-generation Camaro has long included the Fisher body number on the firewall cowl tag. Was there a system for numbering the bodies, and if so, what was it? Is there any information that can be gained frome the body number? Lacking an original GM source of explanation, we are to deduce answers from available data. However, examination of a few pieces of data only provide more confusion. In some cases the body numbers appear to be numbered consecutively (or nearly so) with VIN, while in other cases this is obviously not true. The numbers often appear to be disordered in relationship to either time or VIN. And in 1969, the numbering system obviously changed radically from that used in 1967-68 - but to what?

The Fisher Cowl Tag

The cowl tag is a small aluminum tag riveted to the driver's side of the firewall in the engine compartment. The tag was stamped at the Fisher Body assembly plant with information describing the basic characteristics of the body build. The body number stamped on the cowl tag enabled Fisher to track the order at the plant and then to track the body through the Fisher process.

It should be noted that the VIN assignment process is described in detail in the assembly process report.  

1967-68 Norwood Fisher Body Numbers

A review of VIN and tag data shows that in 1967-68, Fisher Body at Norwood used a local and purely incremental body number starting at 1 and increasing generally in order with the VIN, though usually offset from the VIN a small amount. The body numbers were not built sequentially, dependent on schedule requirements and assembly line work station balance, but only varied within a day or so of production.  

1967 Van Nuys Fisher Body Numbers

1967 LOS Cowl Tag with body # 24354 (thread A)
1967 LOS Cowl Tag
The body numbering from the 1967-68 Van Nuys (LOS) plant is the most difficult to explain, with the 1967 data possibly being the most perplexing.

Not only is the highest known 1967 Van Nuys body number (39907) well below the 65008 vehicles known to have been built there, but there appears, at first glance, to be total chaos in the organization of the body numbers. However, given enough data, sorted properly, it eventually becomes evident that there are four distinct "threads" of body numbers (listed below as A, B, C, and D). Within each of the four threads, the body numbers correlate nearly perfectly with the build date and Fisher model number (12437, 12467, 12637, 12667). Furthermore, adding up the totals of the maximum known body count for the four separate "threads" yields a body build that correlates well with the total vehicle build.

         Highest                                      1967
          Known                                       Cowl
         1967 LOS                                      Tag
 Thread   Body #           Description               Model # 
 ------  --------  ------------------------------    -------
   A      39907    coupe with standard interior       12437
   B       1954    convertible with standard interior 12467
   C      20988    coupe with custom interior         12637
   D       2188    convertible with custom interior   12667
 ----------------
 Total:   65037 (compare to the 65008 built at LOS in 1967)

1967 LOS Ramifications

  1. Because the total of the highest known body numbers (65,037) is higher than the total 67 LOS production of 65,008, some order numbers must have assigned and then the orders were canceled before they were built.
  2. Body numbers below about 21000 are not unique in 1967 at LOS. Body numbers between about 2000 and 21000 can have a duplicate, and body numbers below about 2000 can have a quadruplicate.
  3. It is even possible to have a duplicate body number in the same production week, since there are some weeks in which the body number threads overlap. This is true especially in the earliest few weeks, and possibly in week 11B for threads A and C. There may be other weeks where some overlap is possible for A/C or B/D pairs.
  4. However, due to each thread corresponding to a unique model, the cowl tag is always guaranteed to be unique.
  5. Each distinct Camaro Fisher model number will have a body number that will fall within known patterns for that model. This allows, among other things, verification of correct cowl tags. It also allows us to know approximately how many coupes and convertibles were built at Van Nuys, and how many of each were equipped with a given type of interior. For example, one interesting fact revealed by this data analysis is that Van Nuys built disproportionately fewer numbers of convertibles than did Norwood.
 

1968 Van Nuys Fisher Body Numbers

The same analysis applied to 1968 LOS data shows the same effect, except that there were only two threads of body numbers:

         Highest                 1968
          Known                  Cowl
         1968 LOS                 Tag
 Thread   Body #    Description  Model #
 ------  --------  -----------  -------
   A      47446    coupe         12437
   B       1569    convertible   12467
 ----------------
 Total:   49015  (compare to the 49164 known 
                    to have been built)
1968 LOS Cowl Tag with body # 15449
1968 LOS Cowl Tag

The totals of the 1968 LOS coupes and convertibles body numbers (49,015) closely approximates the 49,164 Camaros built at Van Nuys in 1968.  

1969 Fisher Body Numbers

1969 NOR Cowl Tag
1969 NOR Cowl Tag
Factory documentation indicates that the 1969 system used the central office order confirmation number as the body number and the analysis of vehicle data and documentation confirms this. This is the same number sent to the dealer as the order confirmation, used on body broadcast sheets in the IDENT number field, and that appears on the Window Sticker/Shipper. These numbers were unique for both Norwood (NOR) and Van Nuys (LOS or VN) in 1969 since they were assigned to the plants from a common pool of numbers (for example, 295460 was built at NOR (see the 69 tag picture) and 295461 may have been built at VN).

Orders were not built sequentially, but were scheduled by the assembly plant dependent on build component availability. Orders could be held for several weeks until the required components were available, e.g. 295460 may have been held for a several weeks due to a supply issue, where as 295461 may have been added to the build schedule right away. This makes the 1969 body numbers vary relative to the VIN numbers.

Due to the extended 1969 model year, the body numbers were reset in August 1969 to 100000 at Norwood (Van Nuys has ceased Camaro production by that point).  

Summary of Fisher Body Numbering Conclusions

A summary table of the body numbering approaches by year and factory is shown below.

                  Fisher Body Numbering Systems
                         1967-69 Camaro
 
              LOS (VN)                        NOR
        ----------------------       ---------------------- 
        numbered consecutively       numbered consecutively
 1967   by cowl tag body style       across all body styles
        (4 styles)

        numbered consecutively       numbered consecutively
 1968   by cowl tag body style       across all body styles
        (2 styles)

            numbered by order confirmation number
 1969       that is generated centrally for both
            LOS (VN) and NOR assembly plants.

 



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