While cleaning off the old leather on my 1910 T, I noticed an odd stamping on the front seat wood frame next to the normal manufacturer numbers. It's a typical Pontiac/Beaudette body with the usual B stamped prior to a four digit number. However, there's another set of Roman numerals stamped as well. You can clearly see XXI in the frame before the B. I've never seen this type of marking and was wondering if anyone has any information to share about this. Maybe it indicates the body was made in the tenth year on the tenth day of the first month? My car is a Feb. 4, 1910 build so perhaps this is the explanation? Any thoughts would be helpful!
Bill most of these old cars didn't have titles back when they were new. Steal it, remove any personalized marking and serial numbers and they were unrecoverable Perhaps an owner of old marked this area to prove ownership if a theft occoured.
Beaudette body company
Many early cars have a body serial number under the seat. Thatís what you have found. Does not usually correspond to engine, or vehicle title numbers. Just an identifier at the factory, etc.
The oversize "X X I" could be almost anything. I know I have seen something similar years ago, but don't recall what car or other details. I doubt that it would translate into a manufacturer date, but that is possible. I would expect the numbers to to be closer in size to the serial number if it were a date code. They could also be some sort of quality control mark, given at several stages of construction or finishing. Pure speculation. Or, as said, something added by an early owner? Another mystery to solve.
My 1910 has the same markings, a B and a number about 3500. It was called a "Pontiac " body by Ford. The build sheet for my 1910 states "Pontiac" as the body make.
That is the first one of those I have seen on a car body. I plan to add it to my "that's interesting" folder. Sometimes another one will show up. That is actually how we were able to determine that the later 1914-15ish Beaudett body numbers had the year and month in them. It became apparent when we put about 3 or 4 of them together along with the serial numbers from the cars. Others may have already known that about the 1914-15 and later Beaudett body numbers. For sure back in the day they did.
Thank you for posting it.
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Darel, Ford often called Beaudett "Pontiac" for some reason. Someone here probably has the answer.
Mr. Oliver Joseph Beaudette was well known in Pontiac Mich. He was also very well liked by his employees. What I didn't realize when I first figured out that Beaudette WAS Pontiac was that the practice of naming some major product by its city of origin is a long standing tradition or custom. For instance today you may have heard of a Windsor V8. It is NOT manufactured by the Windsor V8 company but IS made in Windsor Canada. A MUNCIE 4 speed transmission was not made by the MUNCIE TRANSMISSION COMPANY but was built in Muncie Indiana. The crates that things came in generally had the city of origin stamped on it in big letters so from a distance the crate would read Muncie or Windsor or Pontiac. They did this during Ford T era and they still do it today to a certain extent. Beaudette factory was more than 2 city blocks of Pontiac Michigan and there are historical markers all over Pontiac that mention his name. He has a park named after him in Pontiac and Bruce McCalley and I had the pleasure of dining with his grand daughter one evening or was it his great grand daugter. Can't remember - getting old. The family lost most of the wealth during the depression so she was just a nice lady with a very interesting heritage. She was happy that Bruce and I were going to set the record straight and tell the world about Beaudette. His employees called him the "Chief" and they really loved the guy. He sold his business to Fisher Body company in 1922 and retired. His son also retired with him at the same time. They worked very much as a team in the later years and unlike Henry and Edsel they complemented each other. Beaudette's son built a very nice house in Pontiac that today I think is a fraternity house. The son was running the business at the time the house was while O.J. was monitoring the progress of the construction as his son's foreman so to speak. I have a letter written by OJB written to his son advising him of progress on the house. I think the son must have been out of town on business or something at that time.
O.J. B. had his entire business destroyed by fire and then rebuilt it all before 1911. He had several major fires but everyone chipped in and loaned him money to rebuild and it was based largely if not solely on his own good name as the loan guarantee. He never owned more than about 10% of the shares of his company and yet everyone let him run it since he shared his good fortune with all that participated with him. He built some of the roads in Pontiac with his own company funds to help business in Pontiac to succeed. He was a generous man and all of those involved with him prospered. One of the major roads between Pontiac and Ford plant was paid for by O.J. Beaudette to help transport goods there yet Ford stopped using Beaudette as a source in 1922 since Ford WANTED IT ALL and had a different idea about who should prosper.
Great history John, thanks for sharing the true facts!
I know of a 1911 that has a Beaudette body with the typical stamping on the seat frame. What is interesting about this one is it is also stamped "BRIGGS CO"
According to Coachbuilt, in 1910, Briggs got a contract to upholster 10,000 cars for Ford.
I believe that the upholstery on this Beaudette bodied car was done by Briggs.
It could be XXI was mark of the trimmer, or maybe an inspector.
: ^ )
John, thank you for the Beaudette history. I can't help wondering if your comment that " . . . Ford stopped using Beaudette as a source in 1922 because FORD WANTED IT ALL . . . " is truly an indication of Henry Ford's avarice. According to your post, Beaudette sold out to Fisher Body Corp. in 1922 and retired. In 1919, GM had acquired a 60% controlling interest in Fisher Body. Perhaps Ford's decision had less to do with "wanting it all" and more to do with avoiding a conflict of interest with GM that could adversely affect Ford's lines of supply ?