The body I.D. plate – every GM truck had one attached at the factory. Basically it states the vehicle’s gross weight limit (weight of truck plus its maximum allowed load) plus stamped digits that give the assembly plant year, size of truck, month built, and sequential numbers as it came off the production line. These plates are necessary for positive vehicle identification.
A unique characteristic of the 1950 and older GM truck is that the I.D. plate was not riveted at the factory but rather held in place by two small clutch head screws with a hexagon perimeter. Thus a wrench or a clutch driver can tighten or remove them.
Over the years if the two screws begin to loosen, the owner would either retighten them from time to time or often remove the plate for safe keeping. Usually this plate stayed in the glove box or at home and just never got reattached. Thus we find some of these pre-1951 GM trucks with no I.D. plates. In the early years this was often of little concern as most trucks were titled on the engine number.
After 1950 these I.D. Plates were riveted to the door post. Probably not so much to prevent vehicle theft (we lived in a different era) but just to keep them from being lost.
In today’s world this can cause big problems in registering particularly if the transfer is to another state and an I.D. number verification is necessary. Even if the I.D. plate remains secure with screws as it left the factory, a problem may still exist. Unfortunately most inspectors today weren’t even born when these trucks were built. Sometimes an officer refuses to OK the truck, saying that I.D. plates do not come with attaching screws and it is not legal. You now have an uphill battle with an inspector that really believes he is correct.
Yes, you can attach this original scratched and painted-over I.D. plate with rivets. However, what is this inspector going to say when he sees this worn and painted on I.D. plate attached with two new shinny pop rivets? Have you ever been accused of car theft? It is then you wish the truck was titled to the engine!
Remember, on a left hand drive truck (1947-55) the I.D. plate attached to the left door post. It is attached to the opposite side on the right hand drive truck. The two holes for the plate screws or rivets are punched at the factory in both door posts.