If you are fortunate enough to have any original factory documents with your car you are in the minority. If a car has even one of these documents it raises the desirability and even the value of the car. Only a very small percentage of 1966–1970 Plymouth and Dodge B-Bodies are lucky enough to have some of these documents and even fewer have all of these important papers.
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The broadcast sheet, Certicard, window sticker, dealer invoice, owner’s manual, warranty manual, and original receipts are all forms of documentation for these classic cars. Their importance cannot be underestimated when establishing the pedigree and history of your car.
Always inquire about the original paperwork before purchasing your dream machine. When your car left the dealership the original owner probably had a packet of original paperwork. How many of these documents survived over the years varies. This chapter helps you understand and decode these documents.
The broadcast sheet, or build sheet, can be the most important document for your car. The data listed on these sheets is very similar. Every part used to manufacture the car is on the broadcast sheet. The fender tag has some of the options listed depending on the plant that built your car, but without the original broadcast sheet many options cannot be proven to be original.
Assembly line workers used these sheets to determine which parts to install on a specific car. Build sheets changed from year to year and have minor and even major differences in appearance. Make sure you are referencing the correct codes for your car’s specific year. The codes could indicate different parts in different years.
Every option is listed on this sheet. The codes under each option tells everything about the car and needs to be examined. You can find lists of these codes in the widely known “White Books” produced by Galen Govier, which can be purchased at a variety of places, including eBay and Mopar shows. Even the earliest assembly lines used a build sheet to assemble each car. They were not left in the cars until somewhere around the late 1950s or early 1960s. The line workers placed these sheets in the car in various locations. The first place to look for your broadcast sheet is under the backseat tucked into the springs. In Mopars they can also be found in the springs of any front or rear seat back or seat bottom, under the carpet, in the headliner, taped to the top of the glove box, and sometimes taped to the top of the heater core.
Many cars left the factory without a broadcast sheet and others might have left with a build sheet from another car. Some cars even have more than one broadcast sheet. Numerous other explanations can be made as to why your car doesn’t have a broadcast sheet. Someone may have found it and discarded it years ago when no one really cared about these sheets. A previous owner may have removed the sheet for safe keeping and then lost it. Mice love to eat these sheets and owners have often found a nest made of a pile of little numbers on pieces of paper.
All is not lost, however, if you do not have the original broadcast sheet for your car. You may be tempted to have one made from someone who reproduces these sheets. We strongly recommend you do not do this because no matter how good it may look, it is still only a copy. Fake broadcast sheets, Certicards, and fender tags lead to doubt and suspicion, and devalue your car.
Another important part of your car’s documentation is whether or not it has the original Certicard. These cards were issued on the Plymouth and Dodge B-Bodies only during the years 1965–1968. The Certicard, or as other manufacturers called it, a warrantee card, had the VIN, select option codes, the owner’s specific information, and date of delivery of the vehicle to the dealer. The dealer used this card to help identify the car when it came in for service. They were easily lost and very few cars actually have their original card.
The Certicard came in different forms over these short four years. It evolved from being a plastic card in the glove box, to an aluminum card stored in the engine compartment in a black plastic holder, to a pocket in the back of the owner’s manual for 1968 models. In 1969 this information was hand written in the owner’s manual by the dealer.
As you can imagine a loose card that was mounted in the hot engine compartment in a plastic holder and finally in the glove in the owner’s manual didn’t last very long. You are very fortunate if this card comes with your car.
Window Sticker or Dealer Invoice
In 1959 a window sticker was required by law to be prominently displayed in the car’s window for the customer to see. This sticker included information about the dealership and prices of the base model equipment and options. It also included the very important Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price. Even today when a potential customer walks into a new-car showroom, the first thing they look for is the window sticker.
The window sticker is often lost. Even if the original owner received the window sticker with the car, often it was lost or discarded as the car changed owners. You can have a window sticker created for your car, but again, it can be spotted as a reproduction.
If you are fortunate enough to have the original dealer invoice for your car you can learn important dealer information from it.
What Is Numbers Matching?
Many ads state: “This car is numbers matching.” Just what exactly does that mean and why is it so important? Opinions vary regarding how much of the car has to be original to make it “numbers matching.” When a car comes off the assembly line it is truly numbers matching. Or is it really? Chrysler, especially, built these cars with many parts that do not fall into logical expected date ranges or correct part numbers.
There is always room for “exceptions to the rule,” but, to be accepted, these exceptions must be documented and proven. The majority of the cars came with all of their numbers matching. That includes VIN, data plate, build sheet, Monroney label (window sticker), date codes, part numbers, bolt markings, correct finishes, and plating. The closer a car is to having all of its “original” as-delivered parts, the more valuable it is. That is why an original 5,600-mile 19691 ⁄2 Super Bee is worth something in the six-figure range.
The title of the car includes the complete VIN, and must match the car you are purchasing. It is attached with two special black rosette rivets. These rivets are available today if you need replacements. The dry Chrysler corporation logo found on the plate is also available.
It is a federal offense to transfer the VIN from one car to another, so don’t do it. Some say that it is an offense to remove the plate from the dash for restoration purposes.
This tag is critical in documenting a numbers-matching car. It served as production information for the assembly line and was attached on most cars before they were even painted. At most assembly plants this tag was attached to the inside driver-side fender shelf with one screw and then bent up so paint reached under the tag. It was then screwed down with the rear screw. This is the reason the front screw is painted the body color and the rear screw is natural. This factory bend as well as various punched-out inspector marks and additional stamped markings from the top down are found on original tags. There are major differences between the pre-1969 fender tags and the 1969 and 1970 tags.
The Lynch Road assembly plant fender tags included the least information and had a different layout of the codes. They are usually not painted and are natural in appearance because they hung inside the car during painting instead of being attached to the fender. Consequently, they are not bent on the corner and neither attachment screw is painted.
If a car has a very rusty fender tag you can find a company to remake the tag with enough documentation. If a car does not have a fender tag one can be re-created if you have the car’s build sheet. Without the build sheet a correct tag cannot be produced. “Fake” tags can be spotted, and a bogus tag usually makes the entire car suspect. If the tag is missing it is preferable to just leave the car without one. But a missing fender tag makes the car worth at least 25 to 40 percent less than the same car with the original tag.
On pre-1969 fender tags the VIN does not appear on the tag, but the Shipping Order (SO) number does. This number is on the body of the car instead of on the VIN such as those on the 1969–1970 cars.
The VIN is found on the dash on the driver’s side stamped into a metal plate on 1968–1970 models. For 1966–1967, the VIN is attached to the front of the doorjamb. The VIN is found on the dash of all 1966–1970 B-Bodies.
Where else are the vehicles’ VINs located? On Plymouth and Dodge B-Bodies you find them stamped in the following places: engine, transmission, radiator support, and trunk rail lip. Pre-1969 cars have a Shipping Order number instead of a VIN.
Engine and Transmission
On the 1966 and 1967 B-Bodies you don’t find VIN stamps on the engines or transmissions; only cast numbers and date codes. It is important to know the history of the car to ensure original equipment.
On 1968 cars the SO number is stamped on the top of the engine where the engine and bellhousing or transmission case meet. It is also stamped on the passenger-side pad of the transmission. These two numbers need to match because the same stamp was used on both.
On 1969 cars produced before January 1969, the entire VIN is stamped on the engine pan rail. After January 1969 and through 1970 cars, the partial VIN of the car is stamped on the engine’s pan rail on the passenger’s side of the car. It is also stamped on the passenger-side pad of the transmission. These numbers match because they were stamped at the same time with the same stamping mechanism. You can compare these numbers by taking a piece of paper and a pencil and rubbing the pencil over the paper while it is placed on top of the stamped number.
Cast date codes are also found on all transmissions and all engines on the passenger’s side of the block. You also find stamped date codes indicating the assembly date of the engine, on a machined pad, located on the front of the engine. The pad for the 440 is on the driver’s side; for the 383 it is on the passenger’s side.
Radiator Support and Trunk Rail Lip
The numbers here are of a different font than the numbers stamped on the engine and transmission. Usually stamped upside down on the radiator support you find either the SO number or the partial VIN, depending on the year of the car.
Federal VIN Label or Door Sticker
In 1969 only on the Charger Daytona, and in 1970 on all cars, an additional sticker that has the full VIN was attached to the driver-side door. On 1966–1967 cars a chrome plate is attached to the front driver-side door frame. These can be reproduced so check the tag for signs of wear to determine if it is original.
Now the question is, Do you have a numbers-matching car if all of these numbers match your car’s VIN or SO number? The answer is yes! But, you must also verify that the cast and stamped date codes of each of these areas precede the build date of the car. Watch for engine and transmission pads that have grind marks different from the factory machine marks, and make sure the stamps use the correct font.
Some people say that the date codes for the rear end, radiator, wiper motor, etc. must match for the car to be “numbers matching.” It is our opinion that these other parts may be date-code correct, but could come from other cars. They did not have the vehicle’s unique identification number issued at the factory and therefore are not required to make the car “numbers matching.”
Date codes and part numbers provide an opportunity to determine just how original the car is and further establish its value. Almost every component of these cars is date coded and/or has its original part number. These date codes always precede the car’s build date and can also help when you do need to replace non-original parts during the restoration.
In the case of the engine and transmission it is normal for the casting date to precede the build date by 60 days and the assembly date by 30 days. Other parts can precede the build date by as much as six months. The major exception to this rule is with the 19691 ⁄2 6-barrel and 6-Pack Road Runners and Super Bees. They only have two build dates on their fender tags, either 3 29 or 4 26. However, these cars were built as late as July and, therefore, to the inexperienced the date codes of their parts are in fact after the build date on the tag, but still correct for that car depending on when it was actually produced.
You may know many things about a vehicle before you buy it. But you must inspect the car in person. Many cars exchange hands over the Internet and across many miles. If you cannot inspect the car in person before you buy it hire a professional to inspect it for you. If that is not financially feasible ask for as many detailed pictures as possible from the seller. Specifically request the items you want to see and focus on the numbers-matching areas first. The closer to original the car and its parts, the easier the restoration.
The word restoration is used very broadly in the classic car hobby. It means to return a car to its original condition when it left the dealer. Unfortunately, not many enthusiasts take that to heart with their project.
Variations to the original condition that are acceptable to you are usually based on finances and what you really want to do with the car to fully enjoy it. By applying the information in this chapter you know what you are buying up front, and its value, so that a fair price can be agreed upon.
Written by Mike Wilkins & Mike Wilkins and Posted with Permission of CarTechBooks
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