Hood Molding Label – What is it and how do I use it?

The hood trim tag was used on Chevrolet cars during the classic car era to record descriptions and options installed. The hood trim tag is a thin aluminum plate that was riveted to the firewall or “hood” of classic GM cars.

The hood edge tag is often mistaken for the holy grail of classic car identification. Sorry to say, you won’t reveal all the details about your classic car.

WELL. So who needs to know these things? Anyone who knows which classic car series was a hot item, like an SS, would want to check out an SS series classic car if they were restoring or buying one. If a classic car were to be drastically modified over the years, you would need this information. Considering that the sale prices of some hot classic muscle cars are now higher than new cars, you’ll want to be sure you’re getting what you pay for.

Picture this… You recently purchased a 1964 Impala that appears to have seen better days. Someone in the car’s past thought it would look better in white paint with a crushed red velvet interior…with dingle balls. Just go back to the original, they wouldn’t see you dead in that interior.

So let’s take a look at the cover trim tag on this ’64 Impala and see what it says. Note that the hood edge label format is different for other year ranges. This format only applies to the years 1964 to 1967.

  3. STYLE 64-1847 AT013173 BODYSUIT
  4. FINISH 874 975 PAINT
  5. ACC E 2KS

Line 2 on this hood trim tag has the production date code. This is important when Regular Production Option (RPO) codes may have changed at some point during the model year and you need to be sure which option belongs on your car.

Line 3 is the model year: body style, assembly plant, and chassis number. The body style number says it was a v8 model 2 door sport coupe. AT means the car was assembled in Atlanta. The chassis number would only mean something if it was something special like the first 64 Impala produced. The chassis number is also in the VIN.

Line 4 is for the trim code that tells us about the interior, and then the paint code. In this case we want to know that the interior was done in red cloth with a split front bench. The paint was 2-tone, Desert Fawn on top and Sunfire Red on the bottom half. Hmm, that sounds like a nice color combination!

Line 5 is the accessory code. This line is made up of 1-5 groups of codes. This hood trim tag only has the first 2 groups. If the cover trim label does not have codes in the other groups, you should assume those options were never installed. The E in group one tells us that it has factory tinted windows around it. Number 2 describes group 2, K is air conditioning and S is manual rear antenna.

How would we use this information from the cover edge label? If we needed to replace any glass, we’d look for tinted glass, or if the rear antenna was missing, we’d know to replace it.

This doesn’t reveal anything fantastic about the car, except that it would be useful information if the car was missing the indicated parts. The option codes would be in group 4 of line 5 if the car was an SS. Since there aren’t any, we know we have a red and beige 2-tone 2-door v8 sport coupe with factory air. In this case, this information helps a lot!

I would use the information found on the hood trim tag in addition to the Suffix Code Guides, and in conjunction with the Factory Parts and Casting Number Guides to get a complete picture. Paired with the Factory Workshop Manual and Assembly Manual, taking your classic car apart and putting it back together is almost like paint by number.

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