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What Does My DSO Mean?

Talladega Data Plate
Talladega Data Plate

We recently received the following question from a new Talladega owner:

“Can anyone help with the DSO code ..mines listed on Marti as 15 but the door and build sheet say 89 ( transportation services). I know basically what that is but exactly what it was used for is what i’m looking for.


Frank Durso”

As usual, this is a great question for our “Talladega Guru”, Rick Ochs. Here is an edited response to Frank’s question.

This may be a longer answer than you expected and also a little more complicated. To start with let’s look at the whole DSO thing.


Ford states that the ”DSO” is short for “Domestic Special Order”. Units built on DSO Foreign Special Order or other Special Orders will have the complete order number in this space.

If the unit is a regular production unit, only the two digit District Code will appear. Most regular cars you see will only have the two digit DSO. There are over 40 two digit DSO codes for Ford in 1969 and over 20 for Mercury.

For example if you look at a 4 door Torino that was person ordered from the Newark area, the DSO would be 15.  However, if you look at a Talladega that was ordered or shipped to a Newark area Dealership the DSO would be 892500 or it could be 152500.

If the DSO is 892500, the “89” portion of the DSO tells us this was a Special handle unit in transporting from the plant to dealership or other special destination. The “2500” portion of the DSO tells us it is a Talladega.

If the DSO is 152500  the “15” portion of the DSO tells us this was a unit shipped to the Newark area and again “2500” portion of the DSO tells us it is a Talladega.

It should be noted that Ford had its own DSO codes and they were sometimes different than Lincoln-Mercury. Ford of Canada also had its own DSO’s.

Most early Talladega’s had 89 as the first two digits of the DSO because they were special build units. The early cars were driven off the assembly line and stored in the holding plant yard. Later they were shipped to special dealerships by rail or truck. Don’t forget, Talladega’s were put into production before dealerships even got word that these cars existed! Units later in the production run were, in most cases, an order from a district office or dealership so those units received a district code. As a result, when they came off the production line they were taken and put in that “codes” holding yard for shipping to the dealership.

89 or Transportation Services was used in most cases for Special cars that Ford built on a Special Order like the Talladega that Ford needed on the street to satisfy NASCAR homologation rules. The 89 was also used on 1967 Fairlanes which went to a dealerships with the 427. I sold a 1969 Mustang with an 89 DSO that the Marti Report stated was not sold to a dealership but Ford itself. Was it taken from the plant to the test track?

When you see 89 in the start of the DSO you know it was some kind of special order unit.

As for a Spoiler II things are a little different. Let’s look at Richard Fleener’s Dan Gurney Spoiler II car, VIN: 565427 and DSO 527024. This tells us the car was shipped to Los Angeles from the plant, in this case Lorain, Ohio. Without paper work from the 1st buyer, invoice, or Marti Report we would not know this car was sold at a dealership in Honolulu Hi. This mean the car shipped to Los Angeles and then the dealership picked up the car and transported it to Hi.   The “52” portion tells us it was shipped to LA and the “7024” it tells us it is a Spoiler II. The “7024” is the equivalent to the Talladegas’ “2500”.

One more example, let’s say Hill Ford in Fremont, Ohio wants a Cyclone 2 door fastback for inventory or a customer but it is not a Spoiler or Spoiler II; the DSO would read just 33. If they had ordered a 69 Torino Cobra, the DSO would most likely be 32. Both cars were built at the Lorain plant and shipped to Cleveland for dealer pick-up or trucked to the dealership. The difference in the DSO numbers is because one car was from L/M and other from Ford.

Thank you to Rick for his explanation. If you need help with your DSO or other information on your Data Plate please send an email to me, Richard Fleener at rfleener@comcast.net



Some of my first and strongest memories from my childhood relate to cars. I still remember when things happened based on what car I was driving at the time. I grew up and lived in Iowa for nearly 40 years before moving to Southern California and now live in Tennessee. I was a Corvette fanatic for years but then re-discovered vintage American Muscle. My wife, Katrina, and I decided we wanted to focus on unique and rare muscle cars. After a lot of research we fell in love with the Ford Blue Oval Aero Cars. These were only built in 1969 and and aerodynamics became an important part of winning races. The only purpose of these limited production cars was to win NASCAR races using the Boss 429 and 427 power plants complimented with a special, wind cheating, aerodynamic body. The Ford Talladega and Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II are terrific and historic cars. This site is devoted to these car and their owners past and present. We provide an Online Registry for recording the long term history and ownership of every remaining Talladega, Spoiler and Spoiler II.

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