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  #11  
Old 04-27-2009, 12:21 PM
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So you're saying that the scheduled date might differ from what actually happened ?? That seems most reasonable and possible (I am aware of the saga of Greg's car and information)

But you're agreeing with me that the date on the data plate and the date on the upper left hand corner of the ROT sheet will always agree, regardless of when the car eventually got built?

John
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  #12  
Old 04-27-2009, 12:26 PM
Hawkrod Hawkrod is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnG View Post
So you're saying that the scheduled date might differ from what actually happened ?? That seems most reasonable and possible (I am aware of the saga of Greg's car and information)

But you're agreeing with me that the date on the data plate and the date on the upper left hand corner of the ROT sheet will always agree, regardless of when the car eventually got built?

John
It has always been my understanding that the build sheets and data plates are generated at the same time so the date should match on the data plate and the build sheet but the actual build date will often be different. I will also add that the scheduled date versus actual date thing is something new to me as later build sheets are not listed that way so it may be that the earlier cars door tags may be closer to the actual build date than they tend to be on the mid 60's cars where we have already verified that they can be off by months. Hawkrod
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  #13  
Old 04-27-2009, 12:43 PM
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thanks...that helps.

Do you have a sense of when a data plate got created in the process and when it got attached?? I have never seen a TBird with original paint but I assume it got rivetted on over the paint (as opposed to being masked off).

I would be guessing that the "Scheduled Date" was someone (Plant Manager or assistant's) estimate of when he hoped things would happen. We know reality sets in and can change that. Mistakes in assembly, parts shortages, and so on. In the 60s and 70s, when quality was on the decline, I have read that a car would be found defective and hauled off the assembly line to some area and left until a later shift could deal with whatever its problem was and eventually get it out the door. The area was said to get to the size of a football field and the silent costs high. Reasons might be anything from paint runs to body parts not fitting. (source: David Halberstam's book The Reckoning, which developed the histories of Ford and Nissan in parallel).

Conversely, if one line were slow due to problems, people and equipment might become available for another line to speed up (thinking of how Greg's car might have been days ahead of its scheduled date of Sept 13). If I am a plant manager, the last thing I want is idle time.

John

Last edited by JohnG : 04-27-2009 at 12:47 PM.
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  #14  
Old 04-27-2009, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnG View Post
thanks...that helps.

Do you have a sense of when a data plate got created in the process and when it got attached?? I have never seen a TBird with original paint but I assume it got rivetted on over the paint (as opposed to being masked off).

I would be guessing that the "Scheduled Date" was someone (Plant Manager or assistant's) estimate of when he hoped things would happen. We know reality sets in and can change that. Mistakes in assembly, parts shortages, and so on. In the 60s and 70s, when quality was on the decline, I have read that a car would be found defective and hauled off the assembly line to some area and left until a later shift could deal with whatever its problem was and eventually get it out the door. The area was said to get to the size of a football field and the silent costs high. Reasons might be anything from paint runs to body parts not fitting. (source: David Halberstam's book The Reckoning, which developed the histories of Ford and Nissan in parallel).

Conversely, if one line were slow due to problems, people and equipment might become available for another line to speed up (thinking of how Greg's car might have been days ahead of its scheduled date of Sept 13). If I am a plant manager, the last thing I want is idle time.

John
The scheduled assembly date is generated when order is processed and accepted. This has nothing to do with the assembly plant and is done at the order department at Ford headquarters not at the assembly plant. The scheduled date is based on a lot of factors such as anticipated line volume, when parts are expected to be available for delivery to the assembly plant, and also batch building volume. The data plate is attached at serial number stamping which is down the line after paint but before very much assembly has really begun. What you are describing about cars pulled from the line is called sidelining and is a normal part of the process even today. As the cars are assembled there are inspections done at quite a few points on the line. Any vehicle that does not pass an inspection gets pulled and sidelined. The side line is basically a repair shop within the assembly plant where specially trained personel work to fix mistakes. After the car is repaired it is reinserted in the assembly line. Depending on how long the sideline took a new set of build sheets may be generated as the cars ROT number may have to be changed (anything more than a few days can cause this). There are documented cases of cars with multiple build sheets reflecting different ROT numbers. Also, because paint is done at a seperate line, the bodies have a different ROT number for paint than the one used on the assembly line (paint ROT numbers are often found during restoration as a three digit grease pencil number written on the sub structure). Hawkrod
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  #15  
Old 04-27-2009, 03:07 PM
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Hawkrod, That's interesting.. I happened to find this section of another ROT sheet in my car. Same date, same AC and Radio options, but a different ROT number. I wish I had the rest of it... Could've even been from a nearby car...
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  #16  
Old 04-27-2009, 07:46 PM
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An original shop manual came with my new 60 T-bird. It is dated "First Printing 1959". In describing data plate codes this manual states that "the date code shows the day and month when the Thunderbird was completed". It would seem to me that the date on the upper left of the ROT sheet and the data plate should be the date our cars were completed most of the time. I'm sure things went awry, such as sidelined cars, that occasionally threw that off. The data plates could have been made real time, as cars neared the end of the assembly line. I remember in the service watching my dog tags being made. A Yoeman sat at a typewriter keyboard typing my information and just as fast as he typed the letters and numbers were punched into the metal dog tags. I can easily see this process being used on the assembly line.

Vern
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  #17  
Old 04-27-2009, 08:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vernz View Post
An original shop manual came with my new 60 T-bird. It is dated "First Printing 1959". In describing data plate codes this manual states that "the date code shows the day and month when the Thunderbird was completed". It would seem to me that the date on the upper left of the ROT sheet and the data plate should be the date our cars were completed most of the time. I'm sure things went awry, such as sidelined cars, that occasionally threw that off. The data plates could have been made real time, as cars neared the end of the assembly line. I remember in the service watching my dog tags being made. A Yoeman sat at a typewriter keyboard typing my information and just as fast as he typed the letters and numbers were punched into the metal dog tags. I can easily see this process being used on the assembly line.

Vern
Unfortunately the date on the tag can't be the the date the car was actually completed unless everything went smoothly and as expected. The build or ROT sheets were actually printed prior to the car ever being assembled. The purpose of the sheet is to pull parts from inventory to actually assemble the vehicle. These sheets are what the parts people got so that they made sure the right parts were at the right point on the line for assembly. For example, at a vehicle assembly plant you have various storage areas. These are actually quite large due to the number of vehicles being assembled. The guy at the upholstery warehouse gets one of these build sheets noting which interior the car will have so he pulls those components and puts them in a basket which gets transported to the line for use (with one of the many copies of the build sheet taped to teh basket). The problem is the interiors are not all the same so he uses the sheet to determine exactly which parts to pull. Does the car have power windows or not? That means two different sets of door panels. Power or manual seat assemblies, how about one power and one manual? The thing is these sheets are generated BEFORE assembly begins which is why they have to be changed if there is a problem. Hawkrod
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  #18  
Old 04-28-2009, 03:56 AM
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Default Data Plate versus actual build dates

Here are some comments received from Alan Tast regarding this subject.

2. I think you're wrong about the date in the upper left corner. My understanding is that this date is when the ROT was created, i.e. when information from the invoice was passed on to the people in charge of production and the teletype machines that spat out the ROTs.

3. My understanding is that the data plates were stamped out at the same time that the ROTs were proudced, and held for installation toward the end of the final assembly line - when they were installed I have not narrowed this down yet. The VINs were stamped into the body prior to painting of the shell.

4. What I have found on ROT codes can be found in VTCI's 1958-1960 Original Factory Specificatons Manual in part 8 - there are pages dedicated to code breakdowns for each of the three years of Squarebird production. I've been researching this topic since the '80s and still do not have closure as to what all the codes mean.

The best that can be done in figuring out what the Misc boxes referenced is to compare cars against the ROTs assigned to them to determine what options were installed: however, the problem still exists in determining some of the miscellaneous items such as may be related to preparation, financing/leasing codes, or other production scheduling information. Without invoices to comapre against, it's virtually impossible to know what these codes are unless there is something that can be uncovered in Ford's archives.

I have been seeking production information for '58-'60 in order to update breakdowns that were used in my first book as well as in VTCI's '58-'60 OFS, as production by month for '58, '59, '60 and early '61 was not published in trade publications.

Alan H. Tast, AIA
Past President, Vintage Thunderbird Club Int'l.
Author, "Thunderbird 1955-1966" & "Thunderbird 50 Years"

I have been reading the VTCI OFS. (Official Factory Specifications). If you have the OFS you might want to read 07-7-2-4-id.pdf It has the breakdown of the data plate and the ROT sheet on it and many of the explanations we wonder about regarding those blocks. They dont know what all of them are used for but have identified many of them. We know it was used for both Lincoln and Tbird production. One thing it says off the bat for the '58-'60 Tbirds is that the date next to the ROT # at the top left hand on the form is this. DATE: Month and date on which production order was made/invoiced-NOT production date......
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Last edited by YellowRose : 04-28-2009 at 04:39 AM. Reason: Addtional comments
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  #19  
Old 04-28-2009, 11:04 AM
vernz vernz is offline
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So, applying Alan's description of data plate and ROT sheet codes to my 59 leads me to the following:

The data plate and ROT sheet were created November 10th
The car was scheduled to be built on November 13th (Friday the 13th)
There is nothing anywhere to tell me if it was actually built on the 13th. I can assume that most cars were built as scheduled and call the birthday for mine 11/13/58.

In the case of the "last 60 T-bird" the grease pencil marking inside the panel is better than the ROT sheet or data plate to identify the actual production date...........except for those darned Ford production records.

Vern
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  #20  
Old 04-28-2009, 12:09 PM
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Everything in Alan's comments confirm what I have said except for when the serial number was stamped. He may be correct as I am not an expert in regards to Wixom by any means but other Ford lines such as Dearborn, Metuchen, San Jose, Atlanta etc... all stamped the serial numbers in the bodies later, after paint, based on firsthand commentary. I would question Alan's note that the date on the sheet that it is when the ROT was created, I rather believe it was the anticipated completion date when the ROT was created not the date the ROT itself was was created. If you could get clarification on that from him it would be great. I say this only because I know it was done differently at other plants and I would be surprised to find out that one plant did it differently than the others. Hawkrod
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