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Old 07-13-2018, 09:43 PM   #1
dean from bozeman
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Default Month assembled question

After many years being only interested in Model A's I have taken a liking to Ford V-8's. I have two V-8's:

1. 1939 Standard Coupe (title says '38)
VIN 494975XXX
Vehicle Number 330XXXX

2. 1936 Standard Tudor
VIN 182919XXX
Vehicle Number 3949XXX

What month were these cars assembled? Where do I find this information?
What is the cutoff between early and late models for each year?

The '36 is very original except for the coil setup. When I bought it, the coil was on the "wheelwell" where the hood closes.

I want to get an original NOS/excellent coil. The car is very original except for being repainted along the way. So I would like to return it to the original setup. Suggestions on where to look?

Thanks,
Dean
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Old 07-13-2018, 10:06 PM   #2
deuce_roadster
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Default Re: Month assembled question

If you do find an NOS coil, send it to Skip Haney in Florida to be rebuilt. New doesn't = good, especially where coils are concerned. If you have a correct coil, just send that to Skip.
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Old 07-13-2018, 10:47 PM   #3
swoopNZ
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Default Re: Month assembled question

1939 standard - March 1939.
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Old 07-14-2018, 09:47 AM   #4
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Default Re: Month assembled question

On the 1939 V8 it should have an 18- number prefix unless it is a 60 Hp which should begin 54-. The 1936 has the 18 in it as should be. The vehicle number is also confusing. Ford of Canada had a different numbering system but their numbers were shorter and began with an alpha prefix. Either H-XXX or O-XXX for 38 & 39 respectively.
here is MacVPs list, http://www.vanpeltsales.com/FH_web/f...ialnumbers.htm


Are the numbers on the frame or just the title document? Ford put them on the transmission bell above the inspection cover then that number was stamped on the frame when the engine was dropped into the frame on the assembly line.

Last edited by rotorwrench; 07-14-2018 at 06:02 PM.
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Old 07-14-2018, 11:30 AM   #5
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Default Re: Month assembled question

You should be able to decode the "glass bugs" on the windshield, side or back windows.
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Old 07-14-2018, 11:45 AM   #6
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Default Re: Month assembled question

Things like glass dates and even the serial number will only allow an approximate build date of your vehicles.

Glass was made in huge batches and installed upon the assembly line, in some cases, for months prior to another batch being produced. That is precisely why most cars have glass with dates that vary as much as three months. that's my experience anyway - others may have witnessed even larger gaps.

The engines and transmissions were built and assembled as a "unit" whereupon a serial number was affixed. Those assemblies were then sent to various plants / assembly lines all over the country.
There are no positive records that tell us how quickly they were installed.


As far as 'early" and "late"... those are simply terms tossed around by folks in the hobby and have no real definition.
Some design changes occurred nearly the day the first of a model rolled off the assembly line. Others occurred weeks, even many months later.
The best you can hope to do for "correctness" is attempt to determine approximately when your car was assembled and when noticeable changes occurred.
Referencing engineering releases may possibly be the best (most accurate) way to determine when changes occurred. But even then, some plants didn't make the changes as quickly as others. And, it's been documented that some changes occurred prior to an engineering release being signed off upon.
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Old 07-14-2018, 12:21 PM   #7
DavidG
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Default Re: Month assembled question

dean from bozeman,


With all due respect to swoopNZ, as Kube intimates, there is no surviving record of when vehicles were assembled, only when engine/transmission assemblies were manufactured and serialized with their sequential numbers with the appropriate prefix as rotorwrench indicates. Depending on how far away the assembly plant at which your vehicles were assembled was from where the engine/transmission assembly was manufactured (Dearborn in the case of U.S. manufactured vehicles) and the level of the inventory of engine/transmissions on hand at that assembly plant, it likely would not be less than three weeks ("just-in-time" inventory control was invented several decades later) and could easily be months later.



The best you can hope for is an approximation and the certain knowledge that it could not have been prior to the engine build date.
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Old 07-14-2018, 12:56 PM   #8
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Default Re: Month assembled question

"As far as 'early" and "late"... those are simply terms tossed around by folks in the hobby and have no real definition."

Dean,

With your '36, early/late are most frequently applied to 1. distributors, 2. engines.

Kube is, of course, correct that they can be cloudy terms. Distributors in '36 came in two designs, and it's only a guess which one your car, which seems to be sorta mid-year, would have. Even further, it's only a "guess" which distributor is on it now since a number will fit.

First thing is to identify your current distributor before working on it or replacing anything especially the coil ... there are different coils including later designs which may be installed.

A '36 should have a helmet distributor with a coil that is attached with 3 screws OR one that is attached with 2 screws that are set diagonally from each other. Your '39 should have a coil with 2 screws set on a line parallel to the front axle, but not diagonal.

(You could even have a "crab" or "pancake" later distributor.)

http://philbingroup.com/fhcatalog.htm

(Conversion to late 11A advance would be a separate discussion.)

The other early/late area is the engine. Ford built both babbitt engines and insert engines in 1936. Contrary to a lot of information, they were both built during the entire production year. Early vs Late means nothing. Identifying them without pulling the pan is difficult and unreliable. As far as originality, either is correct for the entire year.

(I have a spare 3 screw distributor core, have to see if I have a rebuildable coil. Family coming for visit early Aug. Can send it back with them. Yours if you need it.)
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Last edited by Hoop; 07-16-2018 at 07:12 AM.
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Old 07-14-2018, 02:54 PM   #9
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Default Re: Month assembled question

Kube and David g are correct in saying that March 1939 was only the date of the engine and transmission being mated to the frame.
Also reading from the service updates, March 1939 does appear to be a period of transition from " early " to " later " styles with regards to front fenders, grille latches, rear fender attaching methods etc.
This may have been bought about when due to labor unrest problems at Murray and Briggs, ( the body suppliers ), Ford bought the body manufacturing back " in house "
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Old 07-21-2018, 09:58 AM   #10
dean from bozeman
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Default Re: Month assembled question

Thanks to all for your insight and information.

Joe, that's a great offer. However, could you ship yourself north with the part. I really could use a skilled mechanic.

So I looked at the distributor/coil assembly and I thought that there must be a better way to access it. I started taking off the pan below the grill. No such luck. Who decided to put the distributor/coil way down there? Fortunately I have long arms...but I can be short in patience at times.

I really enjoy these V-8's but I am a bit overwhelmed by what I need to learn. Eventually....

By the way, no information on the glass. It must have all been replaced along the way.

Thanks, guys.
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Old 07-21-2018, 10:14 AM   #11
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Default Re: Month assembled question

swoopNZ,


With respect, it is not the date of when the engine and transmission were mated to the frame, but rather the date of when the engine/transmission assembly was serialized at the end of their manufacture. When it was mated to a frame would have been weeks or even months later depending on where that mating to place (at an assembly plant) and what level of engine/transmission assemblies existed at that plant.
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Old 07-21-2018, 11:13 AM   #12
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Default Re: Month assembled question

Regarding the window bugs - all five windows on the 1940 tonner are dated 1939. I have a warranty repair ticket from the Ford dealer showing a 500 mile warranty service done on the tonner that is dated October 16, 1940 which suggests that the truck was delivered late Summer or early Fall of 40. This further supports the observation that the use of the bugs to determine the vehicle manufacturing date isn’t useful.
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