May 21 2018

Mystery Foto #20 Solved: A Fedco Vehicle Number Plate for a 1926 Chrysler Model G70-6

My friend and automotive historian Walt Gosden challenged you to decipher this rare automobile plate (badge).

The plate measures 3/4" tall by 3 3/8" wide and 1/4" thick. It has a metallic composition

Mystery Foto questions:

  • This plate was used by which automobile manufacturer?

This plate was used by the Chrysler Corporation from 1925 to 1930.

  • What is the exact copy on the plate?

Embossed surface: Walter P. Chrysler

Digits made of white metal that stood out from a background of digitized copper: WD 44 R

  • What was the purpose of the plate? Hint: There is copy on the plate that provides a clue.

This was an early vehicle identification system to prevent thefts developed by the Fedco (Federated Engineers Development Corp) Number Plate Corporation. "Fedco Systems" can be seen in the small type on the bottom of the plate which was attached to the dashboard.  To alter or remove the Fedco plate would result in its destruction.

  • What is the estimated date when the plate was produced? Provide a rationale.

According to Chrysler Fedco records, the # WD 044 R was given to a 1926 Chrysler Model 70-6 built in Febrauary 1926.  Using the Fedoc code, the Serial #  for this automobile was 090444.

Comments (13)

Congrats to Ron Ridolph, Tim Ivers, Brian McCarthy, Jeryl Schriever, Sylvia Sama, Mike K., Dick Gorman, Art Kleiner (see Kleiner's Korner), Al Prete, Steve Lucas and Dee for recognizing the early vehicle identification system.

Kudos to Art Kleiner, Al Prete, Steve Lucas and Dee who broke the code and translated the serial # to 090444.


Howard Kroplick


Note: Fedco System copy on the bottom.

A similar plate provides additional clues.

The Fedco System

Submitted by Sylvia Sama. Source:

Submitted by Mile K. Source:

Submitted by Ken Curtis, Jr.

Kleiner's Korner (Submitted by Art Kleiner)

1926- Placement of the Fedco plate on the instrument panel


1926 Chrysler 70-6 Model G. Source:

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, September 27, 1925

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, October 11, 1925

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, November 15, 1925

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, February 7, 1926


May 18 2018 Ron Ridolph 2:41 AM

  Chrysler vintage metal security identification tag.

    ( possible predates the VIN plate//tag )

May 19 2018 Tim Ivers 10:42 AM

This was a badge used by Chrysler from 1926-1930 and similar badges were used by other manufacturers.  It was welded to the dashboard and was established as an identification to deter auto theft.  The letters converted to numbers, specific to that auto.


The clue would be “FEDCO” on the bottom of the badge.

May 19 2018 Brian D McCarthy 5:37 PM

I was going to sit this one out initially. But it kept me occupied on this rainy day.

*Auto Manufacturer that used this Badge:  Chrysler stands out quite clearly ( Walter P Chrysler ).

*Exact copy on the Badge:  W D 0 4 4 R   This is seen beneath CHRYSLER and his signature. I don’t know why the letters are in sets of 3 above and below.

*Badge purpose:  To identify the vehicle with a serial # ( W D 0 4 4 R ). According to what I read, Chrysler used a FEDCO SYSTEM from 1926 thru 1958 to serial code/identify every vehicle manufactured. It was difficult for thieves to alter or remove this badges. Chrysler began using the current VIN SYSTEM in 1959.

*Date of the badge when it was produced:  Chrysler Corporation came to be in 1923. Their FEDCO SYSTEM commenced in 1926. So I’ll say the badge was created in 1926. The badge copy doesn’t refer to a time period. Perhaps the 44th vehicle manufactured?

May 20 2018 Jeryl Schriever 9:21 AM

Purpose: provide model, year and vehicle serial number
Hint: Fedco numbering system.
Believe it is from a 1930 Dodge 6 . Rational: according to page 32 of Fedco numbering system book, serial numbers D-001-WP thru D-257-PH were assigned to ā€˜30-ā€˜31 Dodge 6

May 20 2018 Sylvia Sama 9:29 AM

Sorry Iā€™m not sure I can answer all your questions or decipher the badge numbers correctly .

May 20 2018 Mike K 11:12 AM

I enjoy your weekly Mystery Photo challenges, and the other news. With most Mysteries I draw a complete blank, but I did some quick Google research on Fedco System. On the heels of the expanding auto industry was expanded auto theft. Chrysler used these “Builder’s Plates” (located in various places on different models) for ID purposes starting in 1926 and ending in 1930. Interestingly the plates were ahead of their time in that they used “holographics” engraved in the layered plates for the serial numbers which were letters to be decoded. They also used W.P. Chrysler’s name with a D at the end rather than an R, for added security no doubt. The plates were designed to self destruct if tampered with (Mission Impossible, anyone?)

Sources: {your second photo source}

More than this I’ll again leave to the resident auto experts.

May 20 2018 Dick Gorman 11:27 AM

Mystery Foto #20… The badge shown here is an example of the FEDCO Number Plate System. In this case on a Chrysler. These FEDCO number plates were created to combat the rampant car theft that had reached alarming rates in the 1920’s. These plates were welded to the dash and they would self-destruct if tampered with. FEDCO stands for Federated Engineers Development Corporation. As for the copy on the plate. At left we see a circular Chrysler logo; Just to the right is the Walter P. Chrysler signature in script. Above and below the logo and signature we see WWW-DDD-ZERO-FOUR-FOUR-RRR. And in a layer behind the logo and script we see W-D-0-4-4-R. This all translated into an encoded serial number for the car attached. These badges were in use on Chryslers and other Chrysler products from 1926 to 1930.
To read more about theses FEDCO plates go to
On the other hand it could just be a long lost candy bar from Hershey.

May 20 2018 Art Kleiner 5:32 PM

This badge was used by which automobile manufacturer?  Chrysler (others also used similar badges)

What is the exact copy on the badge? WWW DDD Zero Four Four RRR which translates to WD044R (see following answer).  Also Chrysler and Walter P. Chrysler.  Copy at bottom (the hint) reads FEDCO SYSTEM.

What was the purpose of the badge? Hint: There is copy on the badge that provides a clue.
Used as an anti-theft number plate installed in Chrysler vehicles as a joint effort between Chrysler, the Federated Engineers Development Corporate (FEDCO) and the Williams J. Burns International Detective Agency starting around 1925/1926.  The plate was designed to disintegrate upon attempted tampering/removal and was made of nickel and copper and attached to the instrument panel.
Used by other manufactures as well.  Developed to stem the rise in stolen automobiles (12,000 cars were stolen in NY in 1925, in Chicago stolen cars increased between 1924 and 1925 52% to 8,141).

What is the estimated date when the badge was produced? Provide a rationale.
This badge was used in the 1925/1926 Chrysler Model 70-6, Model G as evidenced by the number that the text and copy equals (based on the FEDCO attaching a number to the letters in the name WPChrysled - the last “d” was used instead of “r” since “r” was already used.)  Based on documentation being sent to Howard showing this numerical code and the numbers assigned to Chrysler autos the code of WD044R equates to #090444.  This code # falls between FEDCO codes WY580W and WD999D which equals #055800 and #09999.  Documentation shows this range was assigned to the prior mentioned Chrysler model and years.

May 20 2018 Al Prete 8:10 PM

It’s obvious that it was used by Chrysler - Chrysler logo on the left, and Walter P. Chrysler’s signature. To figure out the rest, I had to enlarge it. The bottom reads “FEDCO SYSTEM”. Now I had enough information to Google it, and this is what I found:

The serial number WD-044-R using Chrysler’s translation table (0123456789/WPCHRYSLED) maps to 090444. This format was used in the ‘20’s and it was a vehicle identification number. The plate would self-destruct if tampered with, and so was an anti-theft device.

May 20 2018 Steve Lucas 10:46 PM

Obviously it was used by Chrysler Corp. I believe these badges were attached to the dashboard of Chrysler and Plymouth models from about 1926 to July, 1931 when they switched to another system. They utilized the FEDCO system of assigning serial numbers to each individual car that was built; an ancestor of today’s VIN numbers. They were used to identify when the car was built. This badge reads WWW DDD ZERO FOUR FOUR RRR. Using the code WPCHRYSLED for the numbers 0123456789, the serial number in today’s photo would be 090444. By cross referencing that number in FEDCO charts, you could determine the month and year the car was built.

May 21 2018 Greg & Dee 8:10 AM

Have to give Dee credit for this one. I had given up, but she noticed the FEDCO copy (before the additional hint) which lead me to the answer.

-This badge was used by which automobile manufacturer?

-What is the exact copy on the badge?

-What was the purpose of the badge? Hint: There is copy on the badge that provides a clue.
VIN number of the vehicle. After letter conversion, this particular VIN is; 090444

-What is the estimated date when the badge was produced? Provide a rationale.
From 1926 to 1930, Chrysler used the FEDCO system, which had numbers and letters. The letters were actually numbers

May 21 2018 Al Velocci 6:26 PM

Before Chrysler became involved in the automotive business, he was a railroad man. My guess is that this badge is more railroad than automobile, pre 1920.

May 21 2018 Howard Kroplick 11:38 PM

Ken Curtis Jr.
Relative to your post concerning identifying the Chrysler serial number badge find above copy of 1934 and prior models serial and production information along with the Fedco code system explained. This style badge and the Fedco system was employed on Chrysler cars at least from 1924-29.

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