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Old 10-14-2012, 01:45 PM   #1
Paul Woolner
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Default '31 Murray Body Number Plates

I have been searching for years, trying to find the proper format for creating a replacement Body Number Plate for my 1931 Murray Fordor. I know as an example, that it might appear as M-460-12345. My questions are: 1. what is the significance of the 460 ( is it assembly plant, body type) and 2. the 12345 I presume is just the next assembly line number, not the serial number of the car. I appreciate any information and pictorial detail you may be able to provide.
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Old 10-14-2012, 03:34 PM   #2
Marco Tahtaras
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Default Re: '31 Murray Body Number Plates

The first three numbers represented the manufacturers body type. For the most part they have no correlation to Ford's numbering. The trailing numbers were the manufacturers serial number. I'm pretty sure that in all cases Murray preceded their body type number with "M". Briggs did not precede the number with anything.

As an example of the seeming random body type number, a 1930 or 1931 STRAIGHT windshield Murray bodied Town Sedan was Ford's model 155-C. Murray's designation for that body was M604. I have no idea what Murray's number was for the 165-C Standard Fordor. With introduction of the slant windshield models Briggs numbers remained seemingly disconnected. However Murray adapted Ford's body type number so a slant windshield Town Sedan would be M160B xxxx I believe.

Is your car a slant windshield model? If so, how did you determine it was built by Murray?
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Old 10-14-2012, 03:51 PM   #3
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Default Re: '31 Murray Body Number Plates

Thanks Marco. Mine is a straight windshield. I appreciate your explanation of the numbering. The car was built at the Danforth plant in Toronto and there is an assembly line number stamped in the wood subframe, prefixed with a T. I would probably be safe in using the numbers following the T, simply for my own satisfaction.
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Old 10-17-2012, 11:41 PM   #4
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Default Re: '31 Murray Body Number Plates

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Originally Posted by Paul Woolner View Post
Thanks Marco. Mine is a straight windshield. I appreciate your explanation of the numbering. The car was built at the Danforth plant in Toronto and there is an assembly line number stamped in the wood subframe, prefixed with a T. I would probably be safe in using the numbers following the T, simply for my own satisfaction.
Paul, what is the number after the "T"? I found it stamped on the three cars I have done and also written in chalk on the backs of the seats. I later found out it was the date and the number of the vehicle on the assembly line...it is how the interiors were coordinated into the cars. "T" might stand for Toronto. Marco's statements are correct...I can speak to the Brigg's body tags which had the name of the company etched in the bottom of the tag as shown on Peter's 180A Phaeton at Hershey this past week.
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Old 10-18-2012, 12:38 AM   #5
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Default Re: '31 Murray Body Number Plates

If your car was built at Toronto & has ''T ......'' stamped into the floor wood, it was not therefore built by Murray in the US, & would not have a Murray #.
These straight windsheild sedans were sometimes built in ''foreign'' plants eg. Geelong ,Australia & Manchester England.
The ones sent to New Zealand & Sth Africa were stamped ''3F/5F'' [stylised F] in 1930 '31 & were assembled at the main Ontario Plant [ Ford, Ontario], Canada.
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Old 10-18-2012, 03:18 AM   #6
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Default Re: '31 Murray Body Number Plates

Here is a photo of what Tom is talking about. (Photo courtesy of Tom)
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Old 10-18-2012, 12:38 PM   #7
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Default Re: '31 Murray Body Number Plates

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Originally Posted by Tudortomnz View Post
If your car was built at Toronto & has ''T ......'' stamped into the floor wood, it was not therefore built by Murray in the US, & would not have a Murray #.
These straight windsheild sedans were sometimes built in ''foreign'' plants eg. Geelong ,Australia & Manchester England.
The ones sent to New Zealand & Sth Africa were stamped ''3F/5F'' [stylised F] in 1930 '31 & were assembled at the main Ontario Plant [ Ford, Ontario], Canada.
Ok, I'm confused again. With the exception of the Leather back, all straight windshield Fordor models produced in Canada were with Murray built bodies from the USA. By contrast the slant windshield bodies were redesigned to be assembled from sub-assemblies that could come from multiple sources. The couple Canadian S/W bodies I've studied were clearly imported from the USA in sections and assembled in Canada. These obviously would have no body tags like many of those produced and sold here in the USA.

That takes us back to the Murray body tags. Were there actually some straight windshield Murray bodies delivered without body tags? If so, were there holes for such a tag present in the firewall?
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Old 10-18-2012, 04:35 PM   #8
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Default Re: '31 Murray Body Number Plates

I'm not an expert in relation to the numbering systems but it was mentioned that the Murray numbers have no correlation to the Ford numbering system.

Is one number on the car represented by the manufacturer (say Briggs or Murray) while another number may be stamped on it to indicate assembly plant? Murray and Briggs sent alot of their body assemblies to the various Ford plants didn't they?
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Old 10-18-2012, 05:11 PM   #9
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Default Re: '31 Murray Body Number Plates

any one have a picture of a Murry plate - that would be mint!
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Old 10-18-2012, 06:46 PM   #10
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Default Re: '31 Murray Body Number Plates

"The couple Canadian S/W bodies I've studied were clearly imported from the USA in sections and assembled in Canada. These obviously would have no body tags like many of those produced and sold here in the USA."

I am not sure about the 160 series bodies, but the Victorias were assembled by the Canadian Top and Body Corporation Ltd. Tilbury Ontario. I know they produced Deluxe Coupes in 1932 for Ford Canada.
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Old 10-18-2012, 11:31 PM   #11
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Default Re: '31 Murray Body Number Plates

Ive been interested in trying to track the origins of the Canadian Model A's here in NZ for a few years now.
Re the Canadian Murray style 3W fordor straight windscreen jobs, none Ive seen here have had Murray body plates as per the US ones. This is except for the 1929 3W fordors which usually have the Murray coachwork badge on the lower r/h cowl corner. They are not drilled or punched for a body plate; in fact the Canadian cars had no ford data plate at all attached after 1928.
As Marco says, the Canadian assembled sedans probably used US Murray stamped panels but they were jigged up & welded in Canada & show use of Robertsons throughout. Therefore my opinion is that they should not have a Murray body plate?
In Europe, similar body assembly of the Briggs 3W fordors occurred, with Manchester plant adapting them to the different export & home market requirements
There has been some great work done by the Model T guys [Hap Tucker]on US & Canadian Ford body #s which helped sort out Canadian & Australian body assembly.
Also an interest in early V8 assembly is valuable to sort out the Model A era.
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Old 10-19-2012, 12:35 AM   #12
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Default Re: '31 Murray Body Number Plates

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Originally Posted by Tudortomnz View Post
As Marco says, the Canadian assembled sedans probably used US Murray stamped panels but they were jigged up & welded in Canada & show use of Robertsons throughout. Therefore my opinion is that they should not have a Murray body plate?
I've spent WAY too much time with Murray and Briggs bodied Fordor models and can say without question that the method of manufacturing did NOT provide the option of assembling elsewhere. Not even Ford could do so which is why the there was extensive re-engineering for the slant windshield models.

For example the door sheet metal was final formed around the wooden frame with the jamb skins installed to the wood first and then the outer skin positioned by the window opening in the wood and then the
perimeter was folded over the jamb skins and spot welded. Similarly, the body skins were installed around a complete wooden frame that was sized as sub-assemblies but completely assembled in jigs (including the cowl assembly) before the skin (or skins) could be attached. There is way more to it than I can describe here but the method of manufacturing didn't leave many options.

Finally, it's worth noting that until about April-May 1930 the Murray and Briggs body tags were nailed to the wood floor sills near the front floor boards. These are often lost due to bad wood, etc., so the lack of such a tag must be considered.
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Old 10-19-2012, 01:06 AM   #13
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Default Re: '31 Murray Body Number Plates

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I've spent WAY too much time with Murray and Briggs bodied Fordor models and can say without question that the method of manufacturing did NOT provide the option of assembling elsewhere. Not even Ford could do so which is why the there was extensive re-engineering for the slant windshield models.
That may be so, but how do we explain the Canadian specific fordor body #s & the information on Ford Australia of their body building in the Model A era. My Father had three of these Canadian fordor sedans & I have owned another. I have looked at many over the years. Have you been able to examine many Canadian sedans ?
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Old 10-19-2012, 03:35 AM   #14
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Default Re: '31 Murray Body Number Plates

The feb 31 Murray town sedan I'm working on now shows no signs that it ever had a Murray tag on the firewall but my A400 does have the tag. I wonder what determined which car got a tag on the wall and which cars got it on the door wood etc?
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Old 10-19-2012, 04:42 AM   #15
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Default Re: '31 Murray Body Number Plates

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any one have a picture of a Murry plate - that would be mint!
Here are a couple from Victorias
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File Type: jpg Body Tag 1883.jpg (78.5 KB, 65 views)
File Type: jpg 190A 35124.jpg (47.4 KB, 61 views)
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Old 10-19-2012, 04:55 AM   #16
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Default Re: '31 Murray Body Number Plates

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Originally Posted by Marco Tahtaras View Post
I've spent WAY too much time with Murray and Briggs bodied Fordor models and can say without question that the method of manufacturing did NOT provide the option of assembling elsewhere. Not even Ford could do so which is why the there was extensive re-engineering for the slant windshield models.

For example the door sheet metal was final formed around the wooden frame with the jamb skins installed to the wood first and then the outer skin positioned by the window opening in the wood and then the perimeter was folded over the jamb skins and spot welded. Similarly, the body skins were installed around a complete wooden frame that was sized as sub-assemblies but completely assembled in jigs (including the cowl assembly) before the skin (or skins) could be attached. There is way more to it than I can describe here but the method of manufacturing didn't leave many options.

Finally, it's worth noting that until about April-May 1930 the Murray and Briggs body tags were nailed to the wood floor sills near the front floor boards. These are often lost due to bad wood, etc., so the lack of such a tag must be considered.
I can understand where you are coming from on this, but what this does not explain, is why there are Roberston screws holding the bodywood together that then has the metalwork nailed over the frame. This could only have been done before the body was assembled. Here in New Zealand the only Canadian bodies I have come across that don't contain Robertson screws are cabriolets. They also have the US style Briggs Body plate / numbers on the firewall.
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Old 10-19-2012, 10:28 AM   #17
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Default Re: '31 Murray Body Number Plates

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I can understand where you are coming from on this, but what this does not explain, is why there are Roberston screws holding the bodywood together that then has the metalwork nailed over the frame. This could only have been done before the body was assembled. Here in New Zealand the only Canadian bodies I have come across that don't contain Robertson screws are cabriolets. They also have the US style Briggs Body plate / numbers on the firewall.
The 60-A leather back, 180-A Deluxe Phaeton, and 68-A,B,& C Cabriolets were the only Briggs bodies sold in Canada so Briggs had a fairly small presence there. Murray by contrast produced many models (mostly closed bodies) for Canadian production.

I've never seen either a Victoria or straight windshield Fordor from Canada or I'd be able to outline even the most subtle differences. If these models had Robertson screws in the body construction there are only two possible explanations I can see. First would be a Murray plant in Canada beginning in 1931. Unfortunately I haven't found anything else to support this and I've tried for a few years now. Second would be that due to the volume of Murray bodies coming into Canada there may have been a requirement for "domestic content" where Murray would use things such as trim fabrics, seat springs, screws, etc., manufactured in Canada.
There certainly could be another scenario but I can't see one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tudortomnz View Post
That may be so, but how do we explain the Canadian specific fordor body #s & the information on Ford Australia of their body building in the Model A era. My Father had three of these Canadian fordor sedans & I have owned another. I have looked at many over the years. Have you been able to examine many Canadian sedans ?
Numbers stamped in the wood could be done anywhere at any time. This is likely an issue of record keeping somewhat like the stampings found on many steel bodies in the USA as well as those exported from here.

Ford Australia was definitely a unique situation all it's own. The Australian Town Sedan shown here a few months back was VERY enlightening. It is somewhat a facsimile of a Murray body but a little different in essentially every respect. With the possible exception of the cowl there is not another piece interchangeable with a Murray body.
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Old 10-19-2012, 10:36 AM   #18
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Default Re: '31 Murray Body Number Plates

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Originally Posted by Bick in New Zealand View Post

I am not sure about the 160 series bodies, but the Victorias were assembled by the Canadian Top and Body Corporation Ltd. Tilbury Ontario. I know they produced Deluxe Coupes in 1932 for Ford Canada.
What are the indications that they had any involvement with the Victoria?
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Old 10-19-2012, 01:39 PM   #19
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Default Re: '31 Murray Body Number Plates

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What are the indications that they had any involvement with the Victoria?
Over the years there have been several featured in the 'Bustle' the Victoria Association Newsletter, all had the Canadian body and Top Corp. Body Tags on them including Body Number 1.
Recently there was a very complete unrestored one for sale on ebay. It was unique in that it still had the original leather upholstery offered by Ford Canada for an extra $18.
Photo courtesy "The Bustle" Editor Tom Endy and CMAFF.

A-8-2 in the 1932 Ford book by David Rehor shows two different 'Tilbury' tags used on the 1932 Canadian deluxe coupe bodies.
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Old 10-20-2012, 11:31 AM   #20
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Default Re: '31 Murray Body Number Plates

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Originally Posted by Bick in New Zealand View Post
Over the years there have been several featured in the 'Bustle' the Victoria Association Newsletter, all had the Canadian body and Top Corp. Body Tags on them including Body Number 1.
Recently there was a very complete unrestored one for sale on ebay. It was unique in that it still had the original leather upholstery offered by Ford Canada for an extra $18.
Photo courtesy "The Bustle" Editor Tom Endy and CMAFF.

A-8-2 in the 1932 Ford book by David Rehor shows two different 'Tilbury' tags used on the 1932 Canadian deluxe coupe bodies.
That tag is interesting! I had never zoomed in on the original pic to see what it said.

Although I can't recite specific details but I'm sure those that have researched the Canadian auto industry of the period know that Canada did control/limit imports. My best guess is that Canadian body and Top Corp was used as an intermediary beginning late 1930 or 1931 as a means to work around those issues and played a very limited roll in actual "construction" of the Murray bodies but their assigned body serial numbers was part of the process to make it "official".

I have about 150 photos of #488. I spent a bit of time studying them this morning. It surprised me based on this thread that there is not a single Robertson screw used in the assembly and trimming of the body including the dash rail. That indicates to me that the body was shipped from Murray completely painted (base color) and trimmed which was common practice here. Of course those items added on the assembly line such as instrument panel, floor boards, etc., were installed with Robertson screws.
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