Address: Daimler Chrysler Corporate Historical Collection CIMS 410-11-21, 12501 Chrysler Freeway,  Detroit MI 48288, USA

Note that the service isn’t free: $50 for three photocopies, and you can only get strictly limited information from the card , not even decoding of the data plate. The main object is to learn the name of the dealer to whom Chrysler sold the car, in the hope of getting further information from that dealer or his employes at the time – if either survive.

Copy of the factory data card..  Information from the punch card was used to stamp the data plate that is fastened to every car.

punch_card.jpg (89373 octets)

At the top, under "Dealer," is the code of the agency that received the car. It was 9412, standing for Broad Way Motors of Philadelphia. The agency got the Imperial Feb. 2, 1957 (see lower on the card). Thanks to Tony Rinaldi of the Chrysler 300 Club, I learned that the agency no longer exists, its affairs having devolved on Brandow’s Fairway Chrysler, 900 Old York Road, in Jenkintown PA 19046-1599, a northern suburb of Philadelphia. A member of IML (Imperial mailing List), Dieter, who lives not far away, kindly offered to go inquire at the Brandow dealership. Here’s his letter:

Hi Philippe
As promised I stopped by at Brandow Chrysler in Jenkintown and asked if they   keep any records of old sales and or salespeople from Broadway Motors. The   person I spoke to was there for 15 years and told me they keep any sales   connected documents whether it pertains the car or the salesman, for only 6   years. As a matter of fact he seemed to be surprised that you have more   information than he can possible give you. I guess he was referring to the   dealer code 9412. [I made a hard copy of your e-mail and let him read it.}
It must have made a tremendous impression on him, because after reading it,   he started to be more informative. I am sorry I could not get you the information you were seeking, as we say here we hit a stone wall.
Sincerely Dieter in Pa - 55 green & white hardtop.

So for now I can’t find what I hoped for, the name of the car’s first owner. Thanks anyway to Tony, Dieter and John.

READING THE DATA CARD (see also my car’s data plate and factory option codes)

punchcard.jpg (127012 octets)

This punch card is the original ID document for my car. From the Order and Production Card, as Chrysler entitled it, one can extract factory-installed options, paint colors, date, even the key numbers! Information was drawn from the card to stamp the metallic data plate fastened under the hood. Code decipherment isn’t obvious but I found the key to it. Punched holes are on a line corresponding to a digit, 0 through 9. One can thus read all the numbers, or the last digit alone when the previous ones are supplied (special equipment numbers in red). Certain codes occur twice on the card, once written out, in another place punched (e.g., "dealer code," "item," "trim" etc.)

In the case of my car, the option or special equipment codes on the card and on the data plate agree except in two instances: code 355 is not on the data plate as it should be (my car was in fact equipped with the heavy-duty generator), and the data plate correctly gives code 224 for the car’s original green convertible top, whereas the card says 221.

I can’t translate several of the codes on this card: 401 = drive, 232 = gear ratio, 241 = sold car, 464 = motor code. And all the codes on the third line are a mystery to me – 220, 274, 285, 389 etc. If any reader knows what they mean, I’ll be happy to have the answer.

data card codes:

Région 16 : Pensylvannia Dealer 9412: Broad Way Motors (Philadelphia) Order 5021: order number Model 283: Imperial Crown convertible
Paint X : Cloud white Trim code 82: ? 221: top color (black) 232: gear ratio ( 3.18/1)
241: sold car * 265: route * 323:  Custom Conditionaire heater 330: ?
332 : Solex glass 344: Air condit. model 900 345: Highway HiFi phonograph 349: dual headlights
355: generator heavy duty 40A 356: electro touch radio 357: FliteSweep deck lid 358: "imperial eagle" hood ornament
220 / 274 / 285 / 389 / 435 / 446 / 457 / 468 : ? 401: drive ? Body 08440: body number Serial C57 9909: VIN
Sched date 118: factory schedule date 1/18/1957 Item 2581: ? motor code 464: ?  (392 hemi 325 HP 4bbl) motor 9947: frame/ engine number
date shipped Feb 2 1957: shipping date to Broadway Motors

* from Dick Woodside: Based on some Cadillac material I have, I can tell you that a (241) "sold car" or a "sold order" refers to a dealer's order for a car which the dealer has already sold to the retail customer. In other words, the customer has already ordered this car from the dealer and the dealer is now ordering this car to fulfill the dealer's sale to the customer. In contrast, a dealer could be ordering cars to hold in the dealer's inventory, in other words, to put the cars on the dealer's lot and offer them for sale.

Apparently, the factory would use this information in scheduling production. Presumably, "sold" cars would be produced as soon as possible, although I wonder if the real effect was simply that sold orders would be less likely to be bumped further back in line, when other scheduling changes were being considered. After all, there might have been some consideration given to dealer's orders from dealers whose inventory was low, as well, of course, to favoring orders from dealers who had friends at the factory or headquarters, and delaying orders from dealers who were being "punished". The fellow who actually did the production line scheduling must have received many contradictory instructions from many different people within Chrysler!

As for code 265: "route", I wonder whether that was Chrysler's method of recording whether the car was to be shipped via truck, or rail, or sent to Chrysler's special production shop, or held for factory delivery to the customer. Although such things were specified between Cadillac's dealers and the factory, with various special cards, that information was not recorded on the build sheets, so it's not possible for Cadillac owners to determine, from the build sheets, whether their cars received any special treatment upon leaving the assembly line.

Thanks Dick !

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