Originally Posted by Sgt RedMan
I have a conundrum. I would like to see what the popular take on a numbers matching car is. My father-in-law, an ol' skool hotrodder, once explained to me that a numbers matching car was a car built in the very late sixties to present and represented the start of automobile automation. Matching numbers is the product of preplanned automated vehicle production and the muscle cars of the late sixties and all cars through present fall under this category. I believed this for a long time and I am finding out that this is not a popular theory, although there others who also believe this to be true.
So lets lay it to rest once and for all and give me the scoop on what matching numbers really is. I know this generally starts a few disagreements, but this is to find the most popular definition for my own knowledge.
Thanks guys for bearing with me on this matter.
I believe your FIL has it right as far as the federally mandated vehicle VIN that is used to track ownership of a vehicle. The VIN also has other uses, it can tell a number of things about the originally installed equipment like the drivetrain, etc. This first came along in the '50s-'60s and consisted of 14 numbers and letters, later (in the '80s) it got 17 places instead of 14.
But when car enthusiasts talk about a vehicle being "numbers matching" (NM), they are basically saying the car is as it was originally produced, that the originally installed equipment is still intact.
There are shades of gray in all this, too, namely "correct vs. original". Many parts do not carry a partial VIN on them, only a casting number (c/n) and date code in most cases. To be NM, the parts have to have the correct c/n as well as a date code that precedes the build date of the vehicle by the appropriate length of time. So obviously this leaves open the possibility that the "correct" parts (right date and c/n) might not be the "original" parts that actually originated w/that particular vehicle.