Why does the description on my Marti Report for (paint, trim, axle, option, etc.) not match a (window sticker, reference book, sales brochure, etc.) I have?
Because Ford Motor Company is (and was) a very large organization, different departments within Ford used different terminology for the same thing. For example, the 1970 paint color that was associated with the paint code "1" was known by several different names. It was called Vermilion, Calypso Coral, and Competition Orange. The first description was even spelled two different ways by different departments at Ford - Vermilion and Vermillion!
Now, it isn't correct to say who at Ford was "right" about their term. There wasn't a department that trumped other departments.
In general, when Marti Auto Works makes a choice about which term to use, we use the description that was used in the Engineering Broadcast Handbooks since these were the books produced by the Data Processing people that we received the data from. But keep in mind, that is an arbitrary choice. There still is not a right term any more than calling a device that projects from the wall and dispenses water a faucet, tap, or spigot. Each term is as valid as the next and we doubt silly arguments arose at Ford about "who was right!"
In extremely rare cases, your car or items on your car may actually be different from what is recorded in the database, but there are good reasons for this. I am actually hesitant to admit this because I know there are opportunists (read cheaters and liars) out there who will take advantage of this information and, therefore, take advantage of a buyer or seller. And when I say 'take advantage,' you should read that as cheat.
These cars were, when all is considered, the product of a large bureaucracy that was mass producing automobiles. At times, substitutions would occur to keep the assembly line going. Having said that, think common sense. Ford did not say, 'we're out of six-cylinders, stuff a 428 Cobra Jet in the next one!' But they might have put a tinted windshield into a car because there was a shortage of clear windshields. At the beginning of a production year, spot shortages are more common. Very low serial number cars will, on occasion, have items substituted from the original order. These substitutions may not get updated in the system if someone wasn't methodical.
At the end of a model year, there was a process known as 'balance out' that means what it says. As Ford is winding down the production line, they don't want a lot of extra parts and materials. Substitution became a lot more common. If they ran out of black paint, they might actually not paint a car black. You can't paint with what you don't have. If there were 20 cars left and they only had 14 radios, the other six cars would be built without radios, even if they were ordered with radios. This idea applies to upholstery, dash pads, bumper guards, etc.
Returning to the idea of painting, certain body panels were painted off the car. Fenders and hoods are a good example of this for production in the 1960s. Now, if they were getting to the end of assembly and it turns out there was a red car, but only a green fender available, someone actually took the green fender, scuffed the paint, and shot red paint right on top of the green paint. Imagine the quandary someone restoring the car forty years later has.
To repeat, the building of millions of vehicles is a process conducted by humans beings. Generally, things go according to plan. But there can always be exceptions. Just bear in mind some will try to take advantage of you because of that possibility.
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Last updated February 16, 2011