by Gerard Wilson
Automobile manufacturers maintain detailed production records because those records are essential to allocate investment capital, always a limited commodity, to maximize the rate of return. Products which are selling will receive more attention and funds, those which are not generating a return will be reduced or eliminated. What happens to the data when it is no longer current is a mystery.
Chrysler Historical Services currently provides production certificates for U.S. cars built between 1930 and 1967; GM from 1977 up; and Ford apparently has limited information available from the Benson Ford Center. These companies might have a larger database; but it is also possible that a great deal of historical information has been discarded.
What the companies do not do is provide production data in response to casual public inquiries, unless the individual making the request has developed a relationship with someone within the company who has information and is willing to provide it. The time and expense of doing so for all would generate no income. Nor have they provided production data to Chrysler Historical Services, the GM Heritage Center, or the Benson Ford Center. They have provided information to commercial publishers or established authors who can assure that it will receive wide distribution. However, some of the published information is inaccurate, incomplete, or misleading without qualifying information which is not included.
We are somewhat more fortunate with Chrysler than we are with the other two companies in that certain factory records cited in the sources at the end of the tables have survived, at least for the cars built between 1926 and 1957 in the U.S., and between 1926 and 1966 in Canada. Dodge Brothers records begin with 1914 in the U.S., 1928 in Canada.
To build these tables, I examined all of the sources of information on each make and model, and tried to determine the most accurate figure for that make and model. Data which had to be estimated is shown in italics.
Between 1930 and 1959, Chrysler used an alphanumeric serial number prefix for each make: P for Plymouth, D for Dodge, S for Desoto, SP for Plymouth-based Desoto, C for Chrysler and Imperial. These started at “PA”, “DA”, and, later, P1 and up, D1 and up. Because these series designations are usually cited for the older models, I have included them in the tables, until, towards the mid-1950s, they became cumbersome [and largely unnecessary, with the introduction of modern name].
These tables should not in any way be considered to be definitive or fully accurate. They are the best I could do with the information which I was able to uncover. I would welcome correspondence with anyone who is interested in this material and can correct any errors or misinformation on my part.
— Gerard Wilson, April 2013
For other brands, see Gerard’s site, autoproductionline.info
Also by Gerard Wilson: Chrysler 1945-48 • Chrysler 1949-52 • Chrysler 1953-54 • Chrysler 1955-56
and Production numbers and histories, 1946-onwards
More Mopar Car and Truck News
2018 or 2019 Chrysler 300? • Dodge Demon hints... • Only premium remains untouched:Lexus launches...