FEDCO Number Plate System

This is the information on the FEDCO numbering system in a series of articles we will post on Vehicle Identification by AutomotiveTimelines Restoration Pro, Adrian Britton. If you have questions with the identification of a vehicle, you can contact Adrian at adrian@automotivetimelines.com, or post your question to one of the articles. You do not have to be a member to ask for help.

FEDCO NUMBER PLATE SYSTEM
Car theft in the 1920’s had reached an alarming rate with loses in the 100’s of millions of dollars. Vehicle ignition and locking system were easily defeated by thieves. The Federated Engineers Development Corporation (FEDCO), starting sometime in 1923, with the Society of Automotive Engineers, Underwriters Laboratory and the Burns International Detective Agency began work on an anti-theft number plate system.
FEDCO metallurgist’s fabricated a metal plate that would self-destruct if tampered with. It was made of 3 pieces of white metal and copper and was embossed with an alpha numeric code designed to look like a vehicle name plate. It was welded onto the dash of the vehicle.

FEDCO Dash Plate

FEDCO ID Dash Plate Drawing

Stutz FEDCO Brochure Excerpts

This is the decoding of the alpha-numeric system from FEDCO

FEDCO Numbers Decode

Many automotive manufactures used the FEDCO Number Plate system in the 1920’s. By the end of 1931 production of this system was no longer used.
Below is a list of some of the auto makers and the years they used the FEDCO Number Plate system.
Chrysler 1926-1930
DeSoto 1929-1930
Dodge 1928-1930 (only on DD and CC models)
Elcar 1927-1930
Gardner 1927-1931
Jordan 1927-1929
Marmon 1926-1928
Plymouth 1928-1929
Stutz 1926-1930
Windsor 1929-1931

From 1926 to 1930, Chrysler used the FEDCO system, which had numbers and letters. Dodge used FEDCO, after being purchased by Chrysler, from 1928-1930 but only one two models. Plymouth used FEDCO from 1928-1929. The letters were actually numbers, decoded according to the guide, which honored leader W.P. Chrysled. Once translated to serial numbers, one must still know what runs belonged to each car.

If you need help with the identification of a vehicle, you can contact Adrian at adrian@automotivetimelines.com, or post your questions on one of the articles. You don’t have to be a member to ask for help.

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VIN History Overview
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