Recently I was contacted about a Talladega for sale. The car was a long ways from my location and a short trip to inspect it was not realistic since it was a parts/project car. The owner who had inherited the car gave a good detailed description but one item puzzled me. The owner insisted that there was a second plate under the VIN tag that also had numbers on it. I had heard one fleeting comment like this in the past but shrugged it off as just bad info. However, anytime a new discovery or comment comes from a completely different source I try to chase down a little more information. Could this be some special production car, is it common or is it simply a mistake?
I ordered up a Marti Report for the car just to see what it might have to say. Once I received it there was no hint of anything out of the ordinary with this Talladega.
I also requested a detailed photo of the plate from the seller but never received one. After several weeks of additional emails back and fourth I agreed to purchase the car. I certainly didn’t buy it because of this strange tag but it was one of the first things I looked for when I went to pick up the car. The seller had said that the tag had a series of numbers and letters stamped into it which could be read from the inside of the car once the dash pad was removed. The markings were “C9OB”.
I have attached a couple of images to show you what the plate looks like. As it turns out it is part of the VIN plate. The VIN plate is not a flat piece of metal like the driverside door Data Plate. The VIN plate is actually a “V” shaped piece with one arm of the “V” much longer than the other. The short side is the VIN tag and is visible from outside of the car and is on the outside of the “V” shaped piece of metal. The longer side of the “V” is where the stamping C9OB is found. It is stamped into the longer arm part of the “V”. This would be considered the inside of the piece of “V” metal and readable from the inside of the car but only with the dash pad removed.
According to Talladega Guru Rick Ochs this could be the Body Buck Tag or a Body Code Tag that was attached in the body shop area of the factory. He states that he has seen them before but in most cases they were on the front core support. He went on to say that most of the time Talladega’s lost them due to the added front sheet metal. The C9OB would be for:
“9” = 1969;
“O” = Fairlane/Torino line;
“B” = Body Code which was Fairlane/Torino.
Note: In a lot of the Ford books we do not see body codes like is common on some other brands like Mopar. For example a 1969 Dodge Dart is an “A” body or a 1969 Roadrunner or Charger would be a “B” body. It is very common for Mopar folks to talk in terms of A and B body cars when referring to their mid-sized muscle cars. For Ford a “B” body is a Fairlane/Torino bodied car.
I just happened to have a 1969 Ford Cobra front clip in my parts area with the VIN still attached to the cowl and it is identical to the one in these pictures including the C9OB stamping. I remember having a 1968 Cyclone and the VIN plate was identical in shape but I was not sure of a stamping on the back side of it.
I checked with Alan Miller who now has the car and he confirmed that the stamping on the back of the VIN plate is C8OB. This would tend to validate Rick’s belief that the Body Code Buck number is stamped on the back of the VIN plate on all Fairlane/Torino and Montego/Cyclones for 1968 and 1969.
If your 1968 or 1969 VIN plate is visible and the dash pad is removed does it also have these or similar characters stamped on it? They are very light and difficult to read.