Please 'sit on it' as long as you can as long as there's a possibility of getting more firm information. The update you could provide today would not greatly increase what I already have (except for correcting the Zone# from 21 to 31).
I'm trying to get in touch with my friend there, who had told me yesterday that the original zone number was 31, in order to find out if he has documentation (of any kind?), or how he knew that zone number (since it changed to zone 8 a long while ago).. He was out when I called so I left a message.
The current owner of the dealership (Bryan Clayton) is the son of the original owner (Joe V Clayton), but the son is only 53 now, ( a youngster) who was only around 8 yrs old in 1969... but I will inquire with him as well...
I got a call back from my friend, parts mgr at Clayton Chevrolet, and we were able to speak for quite a while. He's been a parts man for 4-5 Chevrolet dealerships over almost 40 years in Huntsville,Albertville, and Arab Alabama, and he explained what he could about 'Zone Numbers'.
1) The Zone number references the primary warehouse that supplies the dealership with parts (among possibly other things). ie. typically the entire number code is: '5' (for Chevrolet), 'Zone number' (for the warehouse supplier), 'dealer number'. so 5-08-73 as an example (currently for Clayton Chevrolet).
2) GM/Chevrolet shifts their warehouse locations around at times; fairly recently the warehouse for Clayton shifted from Atlanta (zone
to someplace in Mississippi (Zone ?). Ft Worth is now zone 41; Memphis is zone 92, etc.
3) Apparently the zone number/dealer number which is set up for a new dealership (or owner?) remains the same, even if the warehouse (and it's zone number shifts locations).
4) Apparently the only time GM reassigns the Zone#/Dealer# for a dealer is when it is new or when the dealership changes hands.
All this makes it VERY CONFUSING when we're trying to reconstruct the old zone/dealer numbers after 45 yrs, and many many GM warehouse moves, and dealership changes. Just the dealership here in Huntsville has had six different names through the years ... Hill 1967 (5-31-255), Royal 1969-72 (5-31-340), Larry Savage 1982 (5-31-436, Landmark 1987-88 (5-08-304), Bill Heard (5-08-302/304), and Landers-McLarty 2009 (5-1-145)...
Given all that, my friend (Clay Smith) knew that the Royal Chevrolet dealership in Huntsville, AL was ZONE 31 in the late '60's and '70's. That dealership changed hands from Hill Chevrolet (5-31-255) to Royal Chevrolet in 1967 (5-31-340). Clayton Chevrolet 1987-2002 (5-08-73) took over for Richard Kelley Chevrolet 1967 (5-31-???). Richard Kelley was an uncle to Clayton, so I have no idea exactly how/when the ownership actually changed.
Note that NCRS database shows Richard Kelley Chevrolet as being zone 31 (which was the Birmingham, AL warehouse at that time), but Clayton Chevrolet has since 1987 been 5-08-73).
I found a posting on Chevelles.com, posted by an old friend of mine from York, PA .. Stan Falenski (a diehard Chevy musclecar guy who has owned some fantastic Chevy muscle cars)... he posted a long list of 'Zone numbers'...
Post #12 from: http://www.chevelles.com/forums/showthread.php?t=43413
which included the following zone numbers, confirming what Clay just told me...
08 - Atlanta (GA)
31 - Birmingham (AL)
Stan also posted a lot of dealer/zone numbers with dealer names/locations at that same link (a later post).. so you guys should check that one.
Based on the Birmingham warehouse being #31 in the late sixties, and on the other information I have, I am coming to the conclusion that in the '69 timeframe, Clayton Chevrolet WAS assigned Zone 31 (Birmingham) and Dealer 73, and only sometime between then and 1987 did their zone change to 08 (Atlanta). I believe that the warehouses serving the north Alabama region (including Huntsville and Arab) changed from Birmingham (31) to Atlanta (08) sometime between 1982 and 1987 based on the evidence that exists...
What do you think Roy??