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Thread: Original cars, owners, documentation

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodsterh
    Interesting info..thanks!

    I've seen quite a few 1983-1985 "A" Atlanta VIN cars so I wonder what the ratio of Atlanta cars is to Lorain cars?

    I have one of each (83's TBirds) and the Lorain car has a buck tag and build sheet under the seat, and the Atlanta car does not. Where was your 84 built? Did you find a build sheet or have a buck tag?

    I also found some paint stamps on the Lorain car but not the Atlanta car. I know in the Mustang world Ford operated differently in different plants so I'm sure that holds true for Thunderbirds/Cougars too.

    Another weird thing to remember about the VIN is the consecutive unit number does not necessarily relate to a production date.

    I have not looked at my build sheet yet so I 'm not sure if it lists a build date but I find it odd the data plate on the door jamb only has a month and year, no date.

    Any info any one has to offer, including pictures and documentation, would be helpful.
    Well, you have to remember that I live a little over an hour away from the Lorain, OH plant so I tend to see nothing but Ohio-built cars. Atlanta cars are very rare here. But not just for that reason, I still believe Atlanta cars are pretty uncommon. My guess is about a 15- or 20-to-1 ratio. Obviously you're going to find more in the southern U.S. than anywhere else. And visually they look the same, so there's really no way to check until you see the VIN plate. Hard to do on the freeway LOL.

    I never did get the full story about why there were two plants building our cars during one model year, although according to the books that I have, the most aero-Fox Cougars and T-Birds were built in 1985. With two plants building them, that's not really hard to do! Apparently there was a lot of demand for them. That was a little before my serious interest in these cars, unfortunately, so I don't know much about that.

    For the record, my '84 is Lorain built and I have both the build sheet and the buck tag for it. Same with the '86. Build sheets were in the passenger seat frames as in Jerry's photo.

    Some people have reported finding build sheets under the rear seat cushion or behind the rear seat panels. An old, old Ford custom was to place them on top of the gas tank although I don't think that happened with our cars. I suppose it's even possible to find the build sheet underneath the carpeting, for the adventurous.

    For the build date, there are a few places on the car where you might find something dated, especially with the 1983-84 cars: rear quarters inside the trunk lid lip; top of the cowl, under the hood; side aprons in the engine bay; sometimes on the K-member. I've found that those dates are generally within a month or two of each other. This indicates how fresh the parts were and gives a good, general timeframe that usually coincides with the door tag build date. I think the reason why a specific date isn't found may be because Ford scheduled the cars to be built during a particular week sometime. Back then they weren't as optimized with their computers as far as scheduling builds. Today, with modern techniques, more computerization, and robotics, it's probably standard practice to narrow down a car's build date. Back then, not so much.

  2. #22
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    My step-mother was the original owner of mine. She bought it new in 1984 in Sumter, SC and kept it all this time. It's definitely a Lorain car because it has the "H" Vin code. I do have the original window sticker, the owners manual, bill of sale and a virgin front license plate bracket complete with screws that has never been used. It was $13816.00 new. The buck tag is on the radiator support, however the build sheet disinigrated under the seat into a million brown pieces and it had to be cleaned out from the springs.

  3. #23
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    Well, you have to remember that I live a little over an hour away from the Lorain, OH plant so I tend to see nothing but Ohio-built cars. Atlanta cars are very rare here. But not just for that reason, I still believe Atlanta cars are pretty uncommon. My guess is about a 15- or 20-to-1 ratio. Obviously you're going to find more in the southern U.S. than anywhere else. And visually they look the same, so there's really no way to check until you see the VIN plate. Hard to do on the freeway LOL.
    http://www.tbirdregistry.com/ has a small sampling of cars and it seems to be about 2 out of 3 cars are Lorain, but the database size is so small who knows how close it might be. Of course Ford probably has the numbers somewhere!

    I never did get the full story about why there were two plants building our cars during one model year, although according to the books that I have, the most aero-Fox Cougars and T-Birds were built in 1985. With two plants building them, that's not really hard to do! Apparently there was a lot of demand for them. That was a little before my serious interest in these cars, unfortunately, so I don't know much about that.
    No surprise 85 was a big year. Remember Bill Elliot, Bob Glidden and all the coverage the Aero birds and Cougars were getting by that time? I also remember very well how much excitement there was for the new body style and the push Ford had going on for these cars. I really think Ford did their homework on design and quality.

    For the record, my '84 is Lorain built and I have both the build sheet and the buck tag for it. Same with the '86. Build sheets were in the passenger seat frames as in Jerry's photo.


    Some people have reported finding build sheets under the rear seat cushion or behind the rear seat panels. An old, old Ford custom was to place them on top of the gas tank although I don't think that happened with our cars. I suppose it's even possible to find the build sheet underneath the carpeting, for the adventurous.
    Same for my Lorain car but nothing for my Atlanta car and I have it apart, carpet out, etc. Maybe a build sheet is still hiding somewhere but I didn't find it yet.


    For the build date, there are a few places on the car where you might find something dated, especially with the 1983-84 cars: rear quarters inside the trunk lid lip; top of the cowl, under the hood; side aprons in the engine bay; sometimes on the K-member. I've found that those dates are generally within a month or two of each other. This indicates how fresh the parts were and gives a good, general timeframe that usually coincides with the door tag build date. I think the reason why a specific date isn't found may be because Ford scheduled the cars to be built during a particular week sometime. Back then they weren't as optimized with their computers as far as scheduling builds. Today, with modern techniques, more computerization, and robotics, it's probably standard practice to narrow down a car's build date. Back then, not so much.
    Actually, my 65 and 68 Mustang have a build date (month and day) so I'm not sure why Ford went to month/year on the 83 to ?? cars. As you said, many parts are still date stamped, usually a 2-3 week window before the actual build date. I need to check these on my cars.

    For starters, I'll be curious to see if anyone else with an Atlanta car has a buck tag and/or build sheet.
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  4. #24
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    The build sheet for my car, or I should say what was left of it, was on top of the gas tank. I found it when I dropped the tank to change the fuel pump. There was a piece of tape and one very small corner of it left. There was just enough of the printing on that corner that you could tell it was the build sheet but it was useless other than that.

    I have 99% complete build sheet that I recently acquired from another member here that is from a 1986 XR-7 and he said it was also found on top of the gas tank so they did still put them on top of the tanks at on at least some of the cars.

    As far as build dates go, there was a build date that was “ink stamped” on the car when it went down the line. I have found that most ’85-’86 cars have it on the driver side shock tower and that most ’87-’88 cars have it on the radiator support. It is a yellow number with the month and day. Most likely though it will only still be there if the engine compartment was never thoroughly cleaned as it doesn’t take much effort to wipe it away if any kind of cleaner/degreaser was used.

    Here are a couple of examples. The first is from an ’85 XR-7 that was built on June 25th (6 25).

    The second is from an ’88 Turbo Coupe built on June 28th (0628).

    Note that the date stamp on the ’85 car has a single digit for the month of June “6” and the there is a space in between the month and day.
    Where on the '88 car it is a two digit for the same month "06" and there is no space between the month and day.

    Brent
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    Last edited by BCA; 08-22-2009 at 10:23 AM.
    1985 Mercury Cougar XR-7 - 5-speed
    One of 1,246 built

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCA View Post
    As far as build dates go, there was a build date that was “ink stamped” on the car when it went down the line. I have found that most ’85-’86 cars have it on the driver side shock tower and that most ’87-’88 cars have it on the radiator support.

    Brent
    The '88s also havre the date on the buck tag...


    The '87 Sport I junked had the build sheet inside the left rear interior trim panel... I dunno if I kept it, I'll let you know if I still have it...

    As far as production, I'm guessing Lorain was also building vehicles other than Birds & Cougs prior to '86... I know they built Econolines, but that was a totally different line... Anyway what I'm saying was there wasn't any great difference in amount of cars produced from year to year... Actually there were almost as many built per year after all production shifted to Lorain... Remember they are only going to build what they can sell...

    From NATO

    Turbo Coupes:
    1983: 12,566 of 121,999 Total Thunderbird production
    1984: 14,744 of 170,551 Total Thunderbird production
    1985: 20,804 of 151,852 Total Thunderbird production
    1986: 21,315 of 163,965 Total Thunderbird production
    1987: 23,833 of 128,123 Total Thunderbird production
    1988: 35,271 of 139,411 Total Thunderbird production
    TOTAL TC's: 128,533

    Turbo Cougars:
    1984: 6,171 of 131,190 Total Cougar production
    1985: 7,860 of 117,274 Total Cougar production
    1986: 6,504 of 135,904 Total Cougar production






    My other rides (that actually do run & drive)

    1969 Fairlane Cobra 428CJ 4-Speed << New 49th Birthday Picture

    1972 Comet GT - 306 C4

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCA View Post
    As far as build dates go, there was a build date that was “ink stamped” on the car when it went down the line. I have found that most ’85-’86 cars have it on the driver side shock tower and that most ’87-’88 cars have it on the radiator support. It is a yellow number with the month and day. Most likely though it will only still be there if the engine compartment was never thoroughly cleaned as it doesn’t take much effort to wipe it away if any kind of cleaner/degreaser was used.



    Brent
    Actually...mine has this same thing, on the shock tower. I cant remember if it's on the radiator support or not, but its definitely on the tower in that same exact spot. I was so excited to see it once I figured out what it was.
    1987 20th Anniversary Cougar, 302 "5.0" GT-40 heads (F3ZE '93 Cobra) and TMoss Ported H.O. intake, H.O. camshaft
    2.5" Duals, no cats, Flowmaster 40s, Richmond 3.73s w/ Trac-Lok, maxed out Baumann shift kit, 3000 RPM Dirty Dog non-lock TC
    Aside from the Mustang crinkle headers, still looks like it's only 150 HP...
    1988 Black XR7 Trick Flow top end, Tremec 3550
    1988 Black XR7 Procharger P600B intercooled, Edelbrock Performer non-RPM heads, GT40 intake AOD, 13 PSI @5000 RPM. 93 octane

  7. #27
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    My son and I do 87/88 TCs, so we may be able to help with those. We've got original Ford "87 & 88 Color Trim Selections" books and all "87 & 88 TSBs". I am sure some weird combos may have slipped by, but we know what was supposed to be built and how it was supposed to be serviced....
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    1987 Turbo Coupe - Son's car
    1987 Super Coupe - Son's project car
    1934 Ford - My project car

  8. #28
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    This is the window sticker for my car, an 88 XR-7 built at Lorain in November 1987.
    The build sheet was found under the rear seat cushion.
    And the buck tag.
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    Last edited by hwy73; 08-23-2009 at 12:48 AM.

  9. #29
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    Default Build Date ???

    Does the buck tag show an 11/30 build date?

    The back of the window sticker shows 11/20/87
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  10. #30
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    Warranty I D Card and Wheel Lock registration card
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