When it comes to documenting muscle cars, Ford guys have it good. Not only does every VIN tag identify the original engine that was installed in the vehicle, but a vast wealth of information is available from Ford’s own computer database, which is now exclusively licensed to Marti Auto Works. While a Marti Report is familiar to many Ford fans, even some Dearborn faithful may be foggy as to the genesis of the data, as well as some of the findings through the years.
In a nutshell, a Marti Report identifies a multitude of specifics about an individual car and is available for all FoMoCo products from 1967-2012. The Deluxe Report is the midrange of the three available levels of documentation, and the most popular. (A Standard report costs $18, Deluxe $46, and Elite $275.) The Deluxe Report identifies such things as a complete list of options, scheduled and actual build dates, selling dealership, and how many similar cars were built. The information is not only a gold mine for current owners but also a fantastic resource for potential buyers. The latter may find the Standard Report adequate for their needs. It includes a complete list of original options, colors, and drivetrain specifics. The Standard Report is sent as a PDF file in 7-10 days, and rush/same-day service is also available.
Far beyond the individual stats that the Ford/Marti database can provide is the potential to research information more broadly applicable to the hobby. Ever wonder how many 1971 Mustang convertibles were built with the 429 Super Cobra Jet and four-speed? The answer is five. Care to know the breakdown between 3.91- and 4.11-geared cars among them? Marti can do that as well. In short, the Marti data has transformed the Ford collector car scene with an incredible amount of factory documentation and accurate production numbers, enabling buyers to purchase with confidence and dispelling years of false information, myths, and rumor.
Marti Auto Works’ owner and driving force, Kevin Marti, is actually a Mercury Cougar fan. “When I was 16, I was looking for my first car and was primarily interested in a Chevelle or Camaro,” he says. “While looking through newspaper ads I stumbled across a listing for a 1967 Cougar. I went and looked at it, fell for it, and the rest is history. I still own that same Cougar today.”
It’s from Kevin’s enthusiast core that Marti Auto Works initially sprang, offering concours-quality wear items such as radiator hoses, fan belts, and sparkplug wires, which remain a big part of the business today. As a participant in the hobby, Kevin developed a curiosity for understanding the rarity of FoMoCo products. Through contacts he made over a period of 15 years, he came to realize there was a good chance that Ford computer data still existed from the 1960s. Eventually he connected with the right people at Ford, determined that the data was still there for cars built from 1967 on, and was able to exclusively license the database.
In an indirect way, Ralph Nader played a role in the existence of the Ford/Marti database. Nader’s famous auto safety campaigns led to the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966. Among other things, the act required manufacturers to retain detailed production data for the purpose of potential recalls. “This same sort of data was produced by Ford beginning in about 1957,” says Kevin, “but unfortunately it was erased each year prior to the 1966 Safety Act requiring it to be kept.”
Myths and Revelations
One of the great things that the Ford/Marti data has done is dispel a number of myths, some literally decades old. Chief among them? The 1967-1968 427 Mustang. In short, none were ever produced at any of the Ford assembly plants, despite reports of the contrary coming from various magazine articles, owner’s manual references, and the old-timer who swears that he saw an original 427 Mustang back in the day. The conjecture is understandable, as Ford frequently offered the same drivetrain options in its intermediates and ponycars. Fairlane had a 427 option in 1967, and the Cougar GT-E had a 427 in 1968, but it turns out that neither crossed over to the Mustang. The same holds true for 1968 Torinos. None were built with the 427, despite early FoMoCo sales brochures listing the 427 as an option.
Another myth revolved around 428 Cobra Jet Mustangs. A popular book reported production breakdowns of these cars that were later proven to be erroneous. The book identified 1970 as the year that the fewest number of 428 CJ Mustangs were built, followed by 1968 1/2 and then 1969. At the time it was a head scratcher, as 1968 1/2 CJ production lasted just four months while 1970 production spanned the model year. Nevertheless, the book numbers were picked up as gospel. It took the Marti data to reveal the legit numbers: The fewest CJ Mustangs were built as 1968 1/2 models; 1970 had about three times as many; 1969 was the most popular 428 CJ Mustang.
Closely related to the busted myths are the numerous revelations that have come to light. For instance, it has long been understood that while Ford offered the 427 as a production option in 1967 Fairlanes, the engine was strangely unavailable with the sporty GT package. Marti has uncovered that there was one legit exception, a 427 GT that appears to have been built for a Ford executive.
Another revelation: When the 428 CJ was introduced to ponycars and intermediates in the spring of 1968, an oddity occurred in which CJ Torinos and Cyclones were not available with a four-speed. You could get a four-speed in a CJ Mustang or Cougar, but not in an intermediate, with one Marti-documented exception. That’s right, a single 1968 428 CJ Torino was built with a four-speed transmission.
These “one-of-one” examples turn up somewhat regularly in Marti’s reports, due to the way production data is broken down and because of the myriad option combinations offered by all manufacturers, not just Ford, in the 1960s. But not all one-of-ones have the same significance. You can’t really compare the collectability of, say, a 1968 Mustang coupe that’s one-of-one because it’s yellow, has a bench seat, a 390, and a three-speed stick with the Fairlane and Torino mentioned above. The latter two are truly noteworthy, unusual, and desirable cars.
Outside the Box
There are other ways to use the Marti data, such as the reverse search. Jim Chism hoped he might someday find the original 1968 Ford XL GT that was given to him as a high school graduation present by his parents in 1968. He says, “I knew the dealer where it was sold and the equipment that was on it [including a Q-code 428]. Kevin was able to reverse-search it and come up with the original VIN. Now I’ll know for sure if I ever find it, even though I admit the chances are small. The Deluxe Marti Report I had done on it makes me feel like I have some small token of the car still with me.”
These examples scratch the surface as to what the Ford/Marti database has to offer. A Marti Report will continue to be enviable proof for buyers, sellers, and enthusiastic owners of Dearborn iron, while new discoveries are perhaps limited only by the man-hours necessary to uncover them. Already known are the VINs of numerous famous movie cars (Kevin was instrumental in documenting what turned out to be the long-lost 1968 Mustang from the movie Bullitt), a non–GT-E 1968 Cougar with a 427, the identities and unique equipment of prototype Torino Talladegas sold to private parties, and more. It all makes us grateful that Kevin fell for that Cougar all those years ago, rather than a Chevelle. If the latter had happened, it’s quite possible the Ford community would still be living without this godsend of detailed production data.
The post A Marti Report Is a Birth Certificate for Your Ford Muscle Car appeared first on Hot Rod Network.
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