View Full Version : Project Up-date - Body ID Tags - Success

05-24-2007, 01:41 PM
I have been working on this project for some time now. I have tried a number of methods, but until recently, the results have been disappointing. I believe that this latest tag is a faithful reproduction of the original. I am using .020 brass stock and an 80 - year old embossing machine that I found at an auction.

Cheers, Frank


05-24-2007, 02:15 PM
DANG close!!! Pretty impressive!! If you didn't have the old tag next to it, I wouldn't of known the difference... I can see some slight font differences but that probably cannot be changed with the embossing machine. Again, when no original is present who would recognize a font difference.... The concurs judges probably wouldn't....

Good JOB!!!
I might need those when I'm near finished with my Tr3.... Will you be selling the tags?

05-24-2007, 03:42 PM
Nice job of tackling the project head-on!

05-24-2007, 03:52 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:]Nice job of tackling the project head-on! [/QUOTE]

Yes, and my head has many, many dents from those projects that did not pan out!

But, yes thanks, I am pleased with the results.

05-24-2007, 04:16 PM
Your correct, the font is a little different, but very close. I searched all over, including the USA, Canada, India, China and the U.K. for this "technology". It seems that anyone younger than about 40 didn't understand what I was talking about or ever heard of embossing. The primary users of this method of identification system used to be foundries. They would make an embossed tag (reversed) and embed it into the sand so that the finished casting had an ID number which was "proud" of the surface. Also, some electric utilities still use embossed tags for marking telephone poles. There are new machines available, but the fonts are too modern looking and they are expensive, approx. $3500. I even tried making my own dies from bondo. This is tricky because each character needs a pair of dies, one above and one below the metal "tape". They actually worked but not for long. I was very close to giving up, and then like most things in life, I found this old embossing machine when I wasn't looking for it. I was out with my wife looking at antique furniture. There was an estate auction nearby. The family had owned and operated an old foundry since before WWII. I was looking in the bottom of an old china cabinet and saw the embosser. Had to buy the cabinet to get it. Don't ask me what I paid!!! If you thought that sports cars were expensive, you should see what they want for a broken down piece of original early American furniture. But, that's another story /bcforum/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/shocked.gif

Geo Hahn
05-24-2007, 05:06 PM
...Will you be selling the tags?

Same question here. Nice work.

05-24-2007, 07:29 PM
How about a price? Those look really good!

Don Elliott
05-24-2007, 08:09 PM
Frank sent me a new set of number plates for my TR3A in brass. I plan to still use the original EB number plate because it's still so good. But for the past 16 years, I have used a big number plate that a local TR friend gave me from a TR he scrapped. My original one (the lower one) got corroded and eaten away by the battery acid. The one I have been using looked good but it didn't have the correct number. It wasn't the right number as per my Heritage Build Record. Because it looked good, no judges ever deducted points for it in concours events. But now I have the right number stamped out by Frank and I plan to install it when my shell comes back from the re-spray. I had to drill a new hole to the right side of the new brass number plate and trim off about 1/2". Also I had to slot the hole at the left end so it would fit the existing original holes.

Frank seems to have overcome this now.

Thanks Frank

05-24-2007, 08:50 PM
I did a similar project when I had my door jambs repainted, but this was pad printed by a friend.

I know that it's not factory stamped, but I'll never be concours, so it doesn't matter to me. I just like the looks of this better.

Yes, I did keep the original plate.

https://www.74tr6.com/images/Paint Shop 045 (Custom).jpg

05-24-2007, 10:45 PM
pad printed??

05-25-2007, 05:02 AM
Paul: Perfecto y tambien much trabajo. Tu TR de seis is muy lindo.


05-25-2007, 01:29 PM
There is one company in the States who embosses brass repair tracking number tags for radiator shops. These tags are soldered directly onto the repaired rads.

BUT your machine has a far more interesting origin!

05-25-2007, 03:50 PM
The ink is put on via computer layout and through a pad application process, then baked on for durability.

That's how the entire layout was done on the replacement plates originally and the areas for the VIN, color, trim and build dates are left blank. I just had him do the same with the details.

05-25-2007, 09:27 PM

I think....

05-26-2007, 05:16 PM
The tag looks great. Just wondering, have you tried to roll one out after embossing? If you had some way to press them a bit it may widen the font and reduce the ripples at the same time?


05-27-2007, 01:09 PM
I've had a number of requests for pricing of these tags. I need to work out a few details, but I believe they will be somewhere in the $40 range, free shipping. This will get you a pair of tags in .020 brass. I am thinking I will supply these w/o drilled holes and a bit longer (you can easily trim them) because of the variation between cars. I will also be offering embossed tags, in brass or aluminum, for your TR tool box or anything else you would like to identify. More on this later. Until I have my web page up and running, please contact me by private message or at my email address: trtags@comcast.net

Thank you, Frank

05-27-2007, 01:12 PM
I'll try that. Thanks for the suggestion.

05-27-2007, 09:03 PM
Hi Frank,

My 3A only has one brass EB body tag. While I would love a repro EB tag for it, why would anyone want a pair of EB tags? How 'bout an EB tag and that-other-number tag on the firewall?

05-28-2007, 05:25 AM
Sorry. I should have stated that more clearly. The price would include two tags; the EB tag and the Muliners tag. Or if you wish I can supply only the Muliners tag, which is the lower tag closest to the battery and most likely to have been damaged or destroyed by acid fumes.

05-28-2007, 07:50 AM
Thanks Frank. That make more sense. Now to figure the appropriate Muliner's number (that-other-number) for my car as both tags are gone from a battery tray replacement long ago.


05-28-2007, 08:14 AM
Peter: Then I bought the 3A back in 1986, it was a near basket case. or as a good friend of mine from NC says, "she looks like she was rode hard and put up wet". So, the lower "Mulliner's tag was 50 percent eaten away and I couldn't even guess the numbers. Well maybe 10 years ago, I sent off to BMIHT and got he records. Perhaps I was lucky, but everything matched. The commission number, engine number and "EB" number. So my confidence that the correct Mulliner's number was high. If you haven't done this you might consider contacting them at: https://www.heritage-motor-centre.co.uk/

<u>The Mulliner family has its roots set deeply in BMI history, being one of the original builders of coaches for the royal mail. Just a bit of trivia, I didn't realize until I read this today. From 1958, Triumph owned Mulliners. I had always considered them a "vendor" and not actually a part of Triumph. </u>
<span style='font-size: 8pt'>This company seems to have originated around 1896 and built a few bodies for Daimler before deciding the future lay in making large production runs for motor companies that did not have their own facilities. An early contract was gained from Calthorpe, then a booming company, leading to probably the entire output going to them and eventual close financial and corporate links between the two. After Calthorpe failed in 1924, the managing director of Mulliners, Louis Antweiler, arranged to buy the coachbuilding company which was then renamed Mulliners Ltd. He obtained contracts with Clyno and Austin for who he made many Weymann style fabric bodies for the Austin 7. When the fashion for fabric bodies declined the business with Austin went but was replaced by orders from Hillman, Humber, Standard and Lanchester. In 1929 the company went public. The main business was now with Daimler and Lanchester wherre they made the bodies for the cheaper range of cars with confusingly, Arthur Mulliner of Northampton making the up-market models. Alvis was added to the list of customers. During World War 2 they made bodies for military vehicles and troop carrying gliders. After the war body making for cars resumed with Aston Martin, Armstrong Siddeley and Triumph joining the list of customers. <u>Standard-Triumph had by then a shortage of body making capacity and this led them to buy the company in 1958. The name disappeared in 1962.</span></u>

05-28-2007, 09:15 AM
I've never obtained a BMH or other certificate for either of mine, but I take it that a Mulliner's # is not available. It could be an interesting experiment if everyone, who has an unmolested car with a TS# to provide it along with their Mulliner's # and input both on a spreadsheet. The data points could then be used to create an X(TS#)-Y(Mull.#) graph. Could work if Mulliners was at all consistent. Then folks like Peter and I would have at least a snowballs chance in Hades of figuring it out. I would volunteer to create and publish the database.

Don Elliott
05-28-2007, 09:41 AM
Mulliners made and painted the bodies. They attached the EB number and it was painted body colour. When I bought my TR3A brand new the EB plate was painted black.

The lower plate is also made of brass and was not painted. It was like this when I bought my car. This lower plate was attached as the TR was moving down the Triumph production line. Because everything that needed painting had already been painted earlier, this lower brass plate didn't get painted. It is for this reason that I don't call this lower plate the "Mulliner" plate. In fact, I don't call either one by this name.

For those interested in getting a number plate near to the correct number here are my numbers for reference.

TS 27489 LO (Comm. No. or VIN)
TS 27789 E (engine)
EB 27710 (painted brass)
983670 (bare brass)
TS 27764 (gearbox)

05-28-2007, 01:14 PM
Don, Interesting, your EB # is a couple hundred ahead of your commission # and mine is a couple thousand behind, 56k vs. 58k. Do you still have your invoice? Are any of the other #'s listed on the original paperwork? Any ideas surrounding the bare plate #? Did you order any accessories? Mine is 7 digits. Thanks for the #'s.

05-28-2007, 01:58 PM

I have a BMIHT certificate:

Car/Chassis TS/29694-L
Engine TS/30195-E
Body 985294-TS

No EB number on the certificate either. I assume that the Body number listed is what is sometimes referred to as the Muliner's number.

I have an spare original EB plate but from a much later car, post 60K series.

Don Elliott
05-28-2007, 02:48 PM
They didn't know about "Just in Time" back in 1958. When Mulliners built and painted the bodies, the last one into the paint shop was the first one out and vice versa. THey would paint a lot of red ones, then a lot of blue ones and so on. Then the bodies were trucked to Canley for final assembly. There they sat for a while - again it was "last in, first out". Also if a lot of buyers all asked for a red TR, the sales force asked for 100 red TRs and the factory would line these up and so the numbers really got mixed up. But the painted EB number put on by Mulliner's stayed with the body.

Standard-Triumph attached the lower brass number and these, I have been led to believe from Alan Robinson, the TR2 to TR3B registrar at the TR Register before Bill Piggott took it over (last year after about 15 years or more, Bill resigned this post and Mike Ellis is the new registrar) - that S-T used the lower number (unpainted brass) on all of the Triumphs (all types and all models - not just TRs). So the numbers that seem to be missing may have been used on Mayflowers or on Vanguards that day.

05-28-2007, 03:02 PM
Then the TR-2's and 3's were not the only one's with the brass tags?

Geo Hahn
05-28-2007, 03:50 PM
Another data point... TS47905L = EB 1053677. But I too doubt that the correlation is inadequate to more than get you w/i 10000 or so.

These numbers were used in a orderly fashion but not in lock-step, e.g. at the end of the day on 4/15/59 they built the last TR3A with the 'bomb' starter, I believe it was about TS48000... the next car built was TS50000 or TS50001 just because it made a nice distinctive change point for the various mods intorduced. Add to that bodies shipped w/o chassis & engines shipped w/o cars and stocks being used in orders other than FIFO and almost anything could happen.

05-28-2007, 05:05 PM
Here's mine:

TS44864LO (Comm. #)
TS45628E (engine)
TS45658 (gearbox)
TS45557 X10X41 (rear axle; 4.1)
EB45165 (painted brass)
1050383 (bare brass)

I'm not the original owner, but it was an 80K car when I bought it in 1980. Numbers match the ones on the BMHT certificate.

Good info Geo.


05-28-2007, 10:58 PM
George, Is that EB # correct? It looks more like an unpainted brass tag #

Geo Hahn
05-29-2007, 10:32 AM
George, Is that EB # correct? It looks more like an unpainted brass tag #

Of course you're right. I started the message then realized I didn't have the EB number with me (it's 48nnn) but did have the other number.

I'm carrying it in my wallet so I will have it handy the very second Frank says he's ready to take orders.

05-29-2007, 03:25 PM
Another anecdote I've heard (and read) is some owners are surprised to see their factory red car with a blue, green or even white chassis. When the orders came in Triumph used whatever color chassis was available at the time to help speed production. The painters at Triumph often used whatever color was left in their paint guns to paint the chassis.

My friend has a Wedgewwod Blue TR3 with a red chassis as it came from the factory.

06-04-2007, 12:17 PM
Update! /bcforum/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/banana.gif

I now have an ad in the classified section of this forum.

Thank you for your support.


06-05-2007, 08:58 AM
Due to a misunderstanding my ad was pulled. (my mistake)
If you have any questions regarding this project, please contact me at: trtags@comcast.net

Thank you /bcforum/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/wink.gif

06-06-2007, 08:01 PM
Some variations





Don Elliott
06-07-2007, 05:22 AM
Frank - They look super. I'll send you a photo of mine after I get it installed.

May I suggest you look at the following photos and you'll see that you need to make full half-rounded ends to be like the originals. I know you said you would leave the holes to be done by the buyer and if you left enough extra end material, the buyer might also round it as well. But I would have though that the total length with fully rounded ends would have been the same for all original brass blanks.

Which ever way you decide, you might want to have a simple sketch included with each shipment detailing what the buyer will have to do to make them fit and so they look original.

06-07-2007, 07:35 AM
The 1, 3, 5 fonts are incorrect anyway so it will stand out to the judges with a keen eye. Overall though, a very nice job and my order will be coming soon.

Don, the numbers in the black car picture are way off, the painted EB number looks to be early '58 but the shiny brass chassis number is much later '59?

Also the original holes are punched through, not drilled, so there is a metal tit on the backside of the hole. If that matters to anyone.

I have an original spare brass tag EB73504 that I would like to TRADE with an original plate in the range EB29500 - EB 30500. If anyone has one, PM me please.

here https://mysite.verizon.net/kentech0822/triumph/eb73504.jpg

Don Elliott
06-07-2007, 08:58 AM
Peter - You have a keen eye. I hope you are not a concours judge at TRA ! The black one is my 1958 TR3A TS 27489 LO. Because my lower number got corroded in its first life, a friend gave me the brass lower number plate for show. See my correct number. I have a new correct one from Frank which will be attached when I get my car back from the paint shop.

Don Elliott
06-07-2007, 11:44 AM
Take a close look at both the above original brass plates. The numerals 3 and 7 on my corroded plate have shart upper right top corners. The 3 and the 7 on the EB plate from Frank has these top right corners squared off. Which proves that there must have been more than one machine stamping out these number plates.

06-08-2007, 03:16 PM
Don: Thanks for the great suggestions. I took these photos for "promotional" reasons. What you see here are examples right off the machine. To begin and finish a tag, the machine has a special (Start/Finish) die that partially rounds off the end and punches two very small holes. The blank material I use is 0.020 engraver's brass. I order it in 0.875-inch wide strips to fit the machine. However, as you have pointed out, originally the tags were 0.75 wide and had completely rounded ends. So, after the tag comes off the machine, I trim it to the proper width and round off the ends. Hereís another trial, which I believe is a bit more authentic. The holes are approx. 174 mm apart, which is the same as my original tag. As far as the manner in which the holes were made, you will also get the mushrooming effect if you use a dull drill. I donít think the originals were punched. Perhaps dull drill and no backing which would push material out as shown in Peteís photo. We may never know for sure. Isnít this fun?