Three types of body numbers:
There are three different types of body numbers used on the America.
- Chassis Number (VIN): Coding that specifically
identifies the car and is used for licensing and registration. VIN=Vehicle Identification Number, which is the term used here
in the USA.
- Commission Number: Coding that specifically identifies the car
for BLMC internal purposes. Also used for ordering replacement parts.
- Body Shell Number: Coding that specifially identifies the car's
body shell for BLMC internal purposes.
Chassis Number (VIN) locations:
The Americas have up to 3 VIN locations:
- On 1970 and 1971 cars, a date stamp along with a chassis number (VIN) on a metal plate attached
to the "B" pillar of the driver's door jamb. (The "B" pillar is the pillar in the middle of the car that the door closes against.)
Included in the VIN is the production number and a location code which designates the factory where the car was built. All
Americas were built in the Morris factory at Cowley Oxford, in England.
|"B" Pillar VIN plate
|Found in the driver's door opening of '70 &'71 models.
- On all year models, there is a metal tag on the inside of the left "A" pillar, which contains
just the chassis number (VIN).
|"A" Pillar VIN stamp on all cars
|Located on the left (driver's side) lower corner of windshield
- A metal tag is located on the front cross support member on the battery side. (Sometimes
called the "Slam panel" because it houses the hood latch.) It is black and silver, and held in place with 2 screws.
|Engine compartment VIN plate
|Attached to the right side of the "slam panel."
Determine the year of your America:
As a rough guide, if your VIN starts with:
"A/A 2SU" . . . . . you have a '68
"A/A 2SA-U" .
. . you have a '68
"A/A 2SD" . . . . . you have a '69
"A/A 2SD-U" . .
. you have a '69
"A/A 2SD-UA" . . you have a '70
"A/A 2SD-UB" . . you have
Reading the Chassis Number (VIN):
The VIN is a code which provides some specific information about the car. A typical America
VIN looks like this one from a car that was built in June of 1970:
First A = Austin
Second A = A-series engine
= 2 door sedan (saloon) body style
D = Deluxe trim
U = USA specification
= 1970 model year ("B" = 1971model year)
10,039 = Production Number
M = Manufactured at the Morris plant in Cowley.
Chassis Number (VIN) Series:
A-A 2SAU - 101 M thru
A-A 2SD - 15268 M
thru 37835 M
A-A 2SDU A - 104 M thru 13327 M *
A-A 2SDU B - 101 M thru 7616 M *
* Note the change in the VIN
numbers begining with 1970 production year models. Due to federal regulation changes, the VIN had to include a letter
indicating that the vehicle was built to conform to USA specifications ie, the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
In 1970 this included side marker lights in amber for the front fenders and red for the rear fenders, along with rubber clad
bumper over-riders front and rear. Also beginning in 1970, the VIN had to include a letter to indicate the year model.
Hence the addition of the "U" to indicate USA Spec. and the "A" to indicate 1970, the first
year of the requirement. In 1971, this final letter changed to a "B". Subsequent BLMC vehicles
sold in the USA market continued this pattern. For example a 1974 MG Midget will have a "U" and an
"E" to indicate USA Spec. and 1974.
Commission Number locations:
Commission Numbers are located
on a metal plate, which is riveted onto the inner fender just above the battery on cars up to the 1970 year model.
From the 1970 year model onward, the plate was mounted on the front panel cross member right next to the VIN plate.
In this configuration, the 2 plates shared the same screw in between the two and the VIN plate overlapped the Commission Number
The Commission Number plate
looks similar to the VIN plate, except that it is red and natural aluminum. A second location for the Commission
Number is on the top of the left rocker panel a few inches back from the lower door hinge. In this location, the number
is stamped directly into the body.
|Engine compartment Commission Number plate
|Located on the inner fender or the "slam panel"
Reading the Commission Number:
The Commission Number (CN) is also a code which provides some specific
information about the car. A typical America CN looks like this one from a 1970 model:
AU 162S A - 10039 M
A = Austin
U = Possibly
16 = BMC Internal Reference Code meaning "ADO-16"
= 2 Door Sedan (Saloon) Body
A = 1970 year model (B would indicate 1971
10039 = Production
Number (began with car #104)
M = Morris Factory at Cowley
AU 162S - 101 thru
37835 = 1968 & '69 model year
AU 162S A - 104 thru 13237
= 1970 model year
AU 162S B - 101 thru 7616 = 1971
Body Shell Number
Body shell numbers are located above the battery on a long narrow metal plate that is riveted
to the inner fender. On 1968/69 cars it was located next to the Commission Number plate. The body shell number
plates are painted over during the building of the actual body shell and are usually difficult to read. Here is a photo
of an actual Body Shell plate from an America built in late August 1970. Although it is unknown when the body shell
was actually built because they were stockpiled until needed. Also, note what appears to be an inspection tag that is
rivited next to the Body Shell plate:
the Body Shell Numbers:
Body shell numbers contain a special series of numbers that were significant to BLMC's internal
use only. When BLMC began producing Mk2, 2 Door body shells in
1968, the body shell number series was started with "18001" as the first body and counted up from that
point. A typical America body shell number looks like this one from an America built in October of 1969:
2S 092072 P
Here is a second example from an America built in June of 1970:
2S 108715 P
2S = 2 Door Sedan (saloon) Body
Production Number of the body shell
P = BLMC Internal Reference Code (Possibly because the body shell
was built by "Pressed Steel Fisher" who made the shells in Cowley Oxford.
|Pressed Steel Fisher placard
|Located on bulkhead under rear parcel shelf upholstery panel
Special thanks to the contributors:
I could not have created this page without the huge contributions of time and knowledge
from the following long standing British car enthusiasts! Thank you again gentlemen!
- Declan Berridge in London, England - for taking the time to research his vast archives
and type the large amount of information into several emails.
- Chuck Heleker in Washington State, USA - for taking the time to not only research
my numerous questions for engine code information and send me emails with the answers, but he also loaned me his very rare
BMC 1100/1300 factory micro-fiche.
- Peter Williams in Wick, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, England-for taking the time the
answer my my sometimes endless questions about the origins of these cars.
Austin America Engines:
All Americas came with a 1275cc A-series engine. The engine code
is reverse stamed into a metal plate that is riveted to a boss on the top of the engine block, just below and
to the right of the #1 sparkplug. The engine codes used in the America engines are somewhat different
than those used for other BMC or BL models of the time and are written as follows:
12H291B - H1234
|Engine Number stamp
|Located on flange below #1 sparkplug
First & Third prefix group coding:
12 = 1275cc
H = Transverse mounted
The third prefix
= The engine's production number. All engine production number groups began with engine number "101"
as the number of the first power unit produced in the series. The production numbers counted up from there.
The production numbers are always the last numbers listed.
Second prefix group coding:
The second set of prefix numbers and letters represent the items attached to the engine and what the compression
ratio was. These are the codes used for the America engines.
157 = Ra + Ub + Ud + Ta
= Ra + Ub + Ud + A
291 = Ra + Ub + Ta
292 = Ra + Ub + A
Ra + Bf + Ta
394 = Ra + Bf + A
452 = Ra + Bf + Ug
Ra = Exhaust Emission Control (Air Pump)
= Lucas C40 Generator (Dynamo)
Ud = Crankcase ventilation
Bf = Lucas 16AC
Alternator with negative ground
A = Automatic transmission
Ta = Standard ratio remote
control all synchro gearbox
B = Positive Crankcase ventilation
= Carburetor Crankcase ventilation
= Carburetor Crankcase ventilation with evaporative loss control
H = High compression ratio (which is actually a standard 8.8:1 compression ratio, but there was a "Low"
compression 8.1:1 engine available in Europe.)
-1969 America - pos. ground & 4spd. manual trans.
12H157 - H6570
157 = Lucas C40 generator (dynamo), crankcase ventilation,
exhaust emission control, standard ratio remote-control gearbox with 4-syncro transmission.
-1970 America - neg. ground & 4spd. manual trans.
12H393E - H6233
393 = Exhaust emission control, Lucas Alternator with integral voltage regulator,
carburetor crankcase ventilation, standard ratio remote-control gearbox with 4-syncro transmission.
Carburetor Crankcase Ventilation.
-1970 America - neg. ground & automatic trans.
This would be the same engine as above, except mounted to an automatic