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MG MGB Technical - Can not find a VIN # on the frame

I am trying to title my restored 1964 mgb roadster. Our New Mexico VIN inspector, a State Patrolman, refuses to go with the Vin # on the plate on the right front inside fender. He says there is no record of this vehicle. He insists that there is supposed to be another number on the frame, just below and behind the right front motor mount. He will not certify the car until I have located the secondary VIN #?? I cannot find it. The Vin # on the plate is GHN3L/38811. I need help please, anyone been in this predicament before. I bought the car wrecked/untitled/unlicensed and did a 2 year restore.Scott
SRM Scott Merrill

According to Clausager's "Original MGB" on page 121, "MGB cars for the USA had the car number stamped inside the front right-hand member in the engine compartment just behind the front engine mount, adjacent to the starter motor." This was for cars exported from the UK between 1962 and 1967 only to countries that required it, the US being one. Hope this helps. Good luck.
Lyle Radebaugh

Scott. You have just learned an important, perhaps expensive, lesson--have a valid title before you spend a cent on a vehicle. If it does not have a title, do not buy it until the seller can produce one.

That being said, I have been through a similar process myself, on a vehicle which had a valid Arizona title and had been, previously inspected before that title was issued. After having to purchase a three day temporary license to take the vehicle in for inspection (twice) when the inspectors could not find any "hidden VIN", I went to the supervisor, explained the matter to him and showed him Clausager's "Original MGB" where, on page 121 it is noted, "Only from October 1979 did all cars, including home market models, have the number, complete with VIN prefix, stamped into the right hand side member of the boot floor". I also presented a letter for a local MG wrecking yard noting that they had examined nine MG bodies, without engines in them, and found no markings on the frame near the starter.

While Clausager also notes on page 121, further up, "There remains the vexed question of whether the car number was actually stamped into the body structure. This was not a legal requirement in the UK until almost at the end of MGB production. MGB cars for the USA (and Canada?) had the car number stamped inside the front right-hand side member in the engine compartment just behind the front engine mount, adjacent to the starter motor.",I have never been able to view an example of such a marking on an MGB, inspite of examining several dozens of MGBs over the years trying to find a "hidden VIN" in this area, in the right floor board area, or in the boot area.

There was, until October of 1979, no requirement for "hidden VINs" under UK law. I would, were I in your shoes, find myself the most senior person in that chain of command and discuss the matter with him.

Les Bengtson


I also used Clausager's book to get over a VIN problem here in Kentucky. In fact, I bought it just for that purpose. I had a title, but the VIN on the title had a typo and did not match the car. The local Sheriff would not do the out of state inspection until I faxed copies from the book to the main DMV headquarters and had them give the okay.

If you get a heritage certificate for the car, would that have any other numbers on it such as the body or commission number?

Les, until about a month ago, Kentucky would not do a VIN number inspection on a dead car. So, if you were doing a build from parts or lost title chase, you had to finish the rebuild and THEN they would decide if they would give you a title. Recently they started issuing a project car title to solve the problem.

C R Huff

Ermm - what stops you punching the number onto the chassis rail yourself?
Chris at Octarine Services

Thanks to all of you for the input. I am going to get a copy of Clausager's and print out these responses and take them with me to the NMSP office, hopefully I can get somewhere. If anyone has more hints let me know. PS, my wife said "I told you so" about not getting a title to begin with, but I don't think there has been a title to this one in 20 years or more.

I do not know if this is true, but I have been told that "...stamped inside the front right-hand member..." means INSIDE the rail box structure, so you have to cut the frame apart to see it. Knew a guy who got nailed for having stolen and parted a car on these grounds, still had the body structure in pieces. How smart is that? Anybody scrapping a car should investigate this nonsense, and, if true, post the precise location of the number. If true, you could probably drill a hole and stick a little vidcam, borescope, etc. in there.

FR Millmore


Highly unlikely - the bodies were fully built on arrival at Abingdon and would not have received the chassis (VIN) number until then, just the body number on the welded tag in the engine compartment.

The location referred to in Clausager would be on the vertical inner face of the RH chassis leg near the starter motor.
Chris at Octarine Services

When I registered my MGB here in Berlin, an import from California, there was no fuss about the car not having a stamped chassis number. I had to have it stamped on the cross bar in front of the radiator by the TÜV (like the MoT). If the German authorities don't expect one, then I would say there probably isn't one.

I once saw six or seven TÜV testers crawling all over a Renault 5 turbo (the one with the engine at the back) looking for a chassis number. If an MGB had a number, they'd have known where to find it.

Mike Standring

"If you get a heritage certificate for the car, would that have any other numbers on it such as the body or commission number?"

It would, Commission numbers were only issued for Mk2s and later up to about about June 76, and they weren't recorded after April 71. Body numbers weren't recorded in 1972, and early cars had two of them!
Paul Hunt

That was always my general thought, though I didn't know the exact production details. I never saw the numbers in the case I mention, but the police did say (in court) they found it, "inside the frame rail, after cutting it open." Various people including me went looking for the alleged numbers on other cars and never found one. I was at the time (1966) working in a shop with several MGB per day turnover. We did find written reference to the stamping at the time, and the police obviously had too, so it is entirely possible they said they found it even if they had not. Presumably the cops would have had to show pictures or parts with the number, but it never got that far. That case was finally thrown out of court for rampant police incompetence and lies, so who knows?

I decided that if I ever had a B that I was actually going to totally scrap I would cut the rail apart to look, but I am a "save it if there is any possibility it might be useful" guy, so never have done.

Has <<anyone>> ever found a stamped number either near the starter or in any of the locations discussed?

FR Millmore

Fletcher. As I noted in my original post, I have examined something over 20 MGBs, often with the engine out, and have never found a number stamped on the frame rail behind the motor mount and in the starter area. Nor, have I ever been able to find a number in any other location that anyone has suggested might have a "hidden VIN"--boot area, front cross piece inside the passenger compartment--driver's and passenger's side, nor anywhere along the frame rails.

There is some information on this in the archives, including a thread I started many years ago when I was having a similar problem with a car I had purchased. A few people have mentioned finding, at some location, a number that duplicated the VIN for the vehicle. But, on one has ever been able to document this on a vehicle which has been stored or owned since new. Hence, whether this was ever done at the factory, and more importantly, how it was done, remains a mystery. Since the car number/vehicle identification number, was placed on the body, which had been built elsewhere, at the MG factory, we can only assume that, if there ever was a number stamped on the frame, it was done by hand, using a hammer and a hand punch set. And, would look exactly the same as it would if someone were to take a hammer and a set of punches and stamp the VIN into the frame in some generally accepted area.

Les Bengtson

Since I've been aware of this question for 43 years now, I've likely looked at a couple hundred, more or less diligently.
So, it seems pretty clear that no number cars are lots more plentiful than the rumored numbered ones - wonder how many numbered ones have the same font and location?
Highly likely that all the numbered ones were done to satisfy some inspector.

FR Millmore

Highly unlikely that the chassis number would be stamped *inside* the chassis rail, as that would have to be done before the body was constructed. That was always done in a completely different location to the final assembly where the chassis number was attached, often having been to another location in between for painting and trimming. The concept of BL being so organised as to marry-up a specific body to a specific chassis number, solely by paperwork as no one could see the number on the body beggars belief, and surely the lunacy of putting a chassis number where no one would ever usefully be able to see it was beyond even BL. That's why the cars got a body number (or two!) when the body was assembled, a commission number (some of the time) after painting and trimming, and only got the chassis number at final assembly in Abingdon.
Paul Hunt

My 1974 MGB/GT has the number stamped, and visible, on the ***outside*** of the chassis rail behind the right motor mount.

Years of paint/grime may have covered yours...go digging.
Rick Ingram

I have looked and scraped and cleaned on my finished MGB and my donor car (same year) on the inboard side of the rf frame and the outboard side, no number!! If it is inside the frame itself, I'm not going there. I will take the Clausagers book and go back with a copy of this thread and hope for some slack. I want to thank all of you for your input!! It has been a big help. Scott

Just a follow up on this thread I started, I found a Sheriffs Deputy that is a VIN Inspector and had no trouble with the inspection what so ever. He just looked at the VIN Plate that has always been on the car and put it down as being inspected. End of story, the NM State Police seem to march to a different drummer. Thanks for all of your help.
Scott Merrill

1969 MGB
my brotherinlaw has this car mot tested and they say they need another location other than engine conpartment for the chassis/serial number,
do you know were it is?

Read the previous posts, particularly "what stops you punching the number onto the chassis rail yourself?"
Paul Hunt

The description of the location is a bit "off"

I found my VIN stamped onto the extra thickness of metal that is at the rear of the front crossmember mounting pad. It is on the right-hand side of the car, the rear mounting bolt of the front cross member.

With an engine in the car - forget seeing it.

Let me try to explain the location another way. The chassis rails have an extra thickness of metal - a "C" - if you will - which occurs at the bolt holes for the front cross-member. On the vertical walls of the chassis rails - this extra thickness is a triangle. The right-hand side, rear mounting - on hte engine side of the rail - is where this is stamped.

Mine is stamped a bit shallow - a thick coating of paint will obscure it!

Good Luck!

A photo of one would be reeeeally nice!
Paul Hunt

This thread was discussed between 11/07/2009 and 13/08/2009

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