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  • #16
    This business of manufacturing cars has a definite order that is always followed. Each car is purchased before it is made. Ford takes sales orders from dealerships then submits that to their Scheduling Dept. Cars are immediately identified in the Body Shop at the Bucks (an articulating fixture that positively locates and puts strategic spot welds on a 'toy-tabbed' body to hold it together for later re-spot welding).

    Simply put, if a body was constructed in the Body Shop, it got a VIN number from the Scheduling Dept. That number is NEVER re-issued or reused. All VIN numbers and all units are accounted for whether they are destroyed, scrapped, used in-company or sold.

    Ford only sells cars through dealerships. Holman was a Ford dealership and as such, would have first crack, through the Scheduling Dept., at rejected bodies that were destined for the crusher. I'm sure they got a very attractive price for each one but they all had VIN numbers and a binding agreement with Ford for the off-road use of those bodies.

    Ford randomly pulls a body off the line for Quality Control's weld checks. They completely tear down and separate all the spot welded parts and mark each weld so they can be counted and matched against a 'standard'. In the case of Squarebirds, believe me, Ford's QC department did this in Wixom and generated reports, aside from any testing Budd did in Detroit.

    Testing happens every day. When it does, the Scheduling Department MUST be notified so the forecast can be changed. Conversely, sometimes a body is pulled later in the line, then it is REentered BACK into the line. This is rare but it does happen. Again, the forecast must be changed for all the subsequent operations otherwise colors will be mismatched and options will be wrong on many cars.

    Sometimes, a customer is notified that his car build was re-scheduled. This can happen because; the paint ovens were too hot (over 250-degrees F), the car was left in an oven too long which ruined the sealant and baked the paint into a different color, they used that random body for the QC salt-corrosion test, it was torn down, etc. Ford simply assigns a different VIN number to that customer's order.

    Notice here, where every aspect is closely controlled by World Headquarters including Sales, Production Scheduling, Manpower and vehicle delivery. Assembly plants co-ordinate line speeds with manpower and each department is interdependent on the others to satisfy World Headquarter requirements. Nobody hides the weenie.

    Assembly plants usually have ~1,000 cars in-process, spread out over all the departments. I've seen times when we simply lost power and nothing can be done about it. All the conveyors stopped, the plant went dark and everyone was sent home. After ten minutes, no more compressed air and the whole place is eerily quiet and lifeless.

    The Paint Dept., doesn't have one oven, they have one for Primer/Sealer Deck, another after Basecoat/Clearcoat and the Driveaway Garage has a repair oven. Except for 'repair' each holds about 20 cars on moving conveyors. All the cars in those ovens would literally be warped toast if baked too long from a power failure and under-cured if 'under baked'. When power resumes, production cannot restart until all services are up and the ovens normalize, which takes time. We go through a scheduled shutdown procedure at the end and a startup of production every day.

    Some cars are kept in-company, never to be sold to the public. Even so, they all go through a dealership. This happens with many pool cars. In The Rouge which is 2-1/2 sq. miles, many departments have F-150 trucks that never get a license plate because they spend their life inside Ford Motor Company for various maintenance departments such as railroad maintenance, powerhouse maintenance & construction, Grounds, inter-steel operations, etc. Ford self-insures these vehicles and yes, they do get destroyed every day from heavy/industrial use.

    So, this business of manufacturing vehicles is precise and well-managed from the top to the bottom to keep tight control over cost, quality and liability. It's unusual, Ford used Budd to manufacture Thunderbird bodies for a very short time before Ford brought the Body Shop back home. - Dave

    EDIT: I am including the VIN locations in the following picture. The 1960 Squarebird has one of its VINs stamped inside the cowltop. That had to be done before spot welding. Other locations could be done at Wixom but have much easier access before the body was fully assembled.

    Last edited by simplyconnected; January 6th, 2018, 07:19 PM.
    My latest project:
    CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

    "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
    --Lee Iacocca

    From: Royal Oak, Michigan

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    • #17
      1960 Squarebird Daily/Monthly Production Info

      Dave, first of all, thank you greatly for the terrific overview of how they handled the Squarebird production process and VIN # stamping locations across the 3 years of production. I had not seen that by date breakdown before. I have saved that in my personal 1959 Squarebird folders with a title on it that makes if very easy to find, when the question comes up again from someone asking where to find those locations... I will, in the future, use this one, instead of the one I have had for years that does not show when and where they stamped the VIN #, depending on which of the 3 years it was...

      Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
      The Terminator..... VTCI #11178
      Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or Call (Cell) 210-875-1411

      https://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

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      • #18
        You're welcome, Ray. The business of using Budd to build an entire body is risky for Ford. Think of it... Ford tries to keep close tabs on their parts for many reasons. I'm sure 'pirated' parts is a huge concern, that's why the auto makers don't farm out all of their manufacturing.

        Quality is another concern. So what happens if Ford rejects body panels and sends them back to Budd? Who can be sure those genuine Ford parts don't filter into the aftermarket? In Ford's stamping plants it's a given. Scrap parts go directly to the hydraulic cube machine.

        Also, remember that Budd serviced all of the big three with plants all over the US. 'Purchased parts' like Bendix brakes or Motorola radios are not the same as a second or third party assembling a complete Ford body. Highly unusual for Ford.

        In 1958, Ford must have been strapped for an assembly plant. Dearborn Assembly was reassigned to produce full-size Ford cars (up until the new '64 Mustang) after the T-bird went to Budd. Wixom was new but their Body Shop only produced low-production Lincolns.

        Normally, all of the car companies keep new models a tight-lipped secret until Launch Day is near. It surprises me how the Squarebird was handled so differently.
        My latest project:
        CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

        "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
        --Lee Iacocca

        From: Royal Oak, Michigan

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by YellowRose View Post
          Dave, first of all, thank you greatly for the terrific overview of how they handled the Squarebird production process and VIN # stamping locations across the 3 years of production. I had not seen that by date breakdown before. I have saved that in my personal 1959 Squarebird folders with a title on it that makes if very easy to find, when the question comes up again from someone asking where to find those locations... I will, in the future, use this one, instead of the one I have had for years that does not show when and where they stamped the VIN #, depending on which of the 3 years it was...

          I'll second that Ray, a great read and a keeper in the file . One thing I would like to mention and wondered if either of you have ever seen this . Quite a few years ago my brother owned a " Gold Top " and had it totally stripped down . When I was going over the body I noticed under where the passenger seat would be there was a small plate welded to the floor and, to my surprise, had the VIN stamped into it . Either of you ever seen this and may it only have applied to Gold Tops for some reason .

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Bill VE View Post
            ...None of those had VINs stamped on them as they were rejected before they went down the assembly line? It would have been almost impossible after the bodies had been dropped off to keep them straight.
            Here's how it works... The Scheduling Department supplies a TRAY of VIN plates to the Body Shop. They never hand the line worker a plate and say, 'here, make this one next.'

            A few factors are involved. Convertibles are made on a separate body shop line that doesn't always run because they comprise maybe ~25% of production. Convertibles are usually every third or fourth car in Final, Trim and Chassis.

            So, your VIN has an approximate build date. The rotation sheet is the REAL build sheet which is generated between the Paint Dept. (which is the first place Squarebirds land at Wixom) and Trim.

            Paint has holding areas before and after the paint line. In a typical assembly plant, Paint also has earlier starting times than the Trim shop because it takes time for cars to come out of the ovens and cool. Some car bodies must be repainted. It makes sense that Trim cannot work on hot cars fresh out of the ovens so there is a lot of cars waiting but still in-process.

            Ford tries to 'batch-paint' cars to save a ton of money. We use an ASRS (automatic stack and retrieval system) to accomplish this, to hold in-process bodies.

            After every color change, the spray guns must be cleared with thinner. If you can paint a dozen white cars (for example) the guns only need to be cleared once in twelve cars. So, Paint looks at the forecast then they pick as many color batches as practical. Now you can understand why the VIN is assigned in the Body Shop but the rotation sheet is generated just after the car is painted. Data plates are mounted after Paint. Those numbers match the VIN already stamped in the sheet metal parts.

            After the cars are painted and cooled, it's easy for rotation sheets to comply with, no more than one convertible in every four units so trim shop workers can keep up with the line speed.

            It's funny to see a fleet of 20 or 30 green cars going down the line because they are all going to a rental company, or yellow taxi cabs, etc. Michigan State Police cars get their 'special' blue paint that is never in Ford's color options.
            My latest project:
            CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

            "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
            --Lee Iacocca

            From: Royal Oak, Michigan

            Comment


            • #21
              Floor plate vin #

              Originally posted by OUR5T8BIRD View Post
              I'll second that Ray, a great read and a keeper in the file . One thing I would like to mention and wondered if either of you have ever seen this . Quite a few years ago my brother owned a " Gold Top " and had it totally stripped down . When I was going over the body I noticed under where the passenger seat would be there was a small plate welded to the floor and, to my surprise, had the VIN stamped into it . Either of you ever seen this and may it only have applied to Gold Tops for some reason .
              Correct.... When I completely stripped my 1960 T Bird (0Y71Y119158) the vin stamped sheet metal plate was held down by two sheet metal screws under the passenger seat to the floor seat ribs. Exact same character font & size as other two locations.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by 9310alloy View Post
                Correct.... When I completely stripped my 1960 T Bird (0Y71Y119158) the vin stamped sheet metal plate was held down by two sheet metal screws under the passenger seat to the floor seat ribs. Exact same character font & size as other two locations.
                Thanks for that confirmation Mike . Now I at least know it was not a one off . You may be right on the screws instead of it being tacked to the floor . Was quite a few years ago when I noticed it on the 'Golde Top' and memory is fading . Really enjoy reading all these posts by Dave .

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                • #23
                  1958 To 1960 Squarebirds - General Technical Discussion

                  Wowww! The things ya learn by making a some comments on this Forum! Again, Dave, thank you so very much for further educating us as to how Ford did and does things. As for that Golde Car VIN plate under a '60 car seat, I had NEVER heard of that before. No one has ever mentioned it in their postings on the Forum before that I know of, or their conversations with me. Perhaps because not to many ever had the occasion of completely stripping their Golde Top down to that point to see it. So now we know of two instances regarding this. I wonder if "Fuz" or Alan Tast ever came across this information before? I do not remember it ever being mentioned in the Squarebirds Official Factory Specifications (OFS) in the past. It would be interesting to know. Thanks for the comments posted by both of you confirming what Martin had posted regarding his brother's Golde Top... Dave, thanks for confirming the information regarding which was the determining factor in the actual building of the car. The ROT/Build Sheet and not the Data Plate...

                  Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
                  The Terminator..... VTCI #11178
                  Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or Call (Cell) 210-875-1411

                  https://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    I've also seen the VIN number stamped on the metal plate that goes between the driver seat and the rocker panel. It's covered by the carpet so it's not always visible.

                    John
                    John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

                    Thunderbird Registry #36223
                    jopizz@squarebirds.org 856-779-9695

                    https://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

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                    • #25
                      Will only add one piece of info here as the info supplied is amazing and hope it is saved for future generations as most of those that made these cars have passed away.
                      The 58 has one other place the vin number is stamped and not noted here. The one noted is on the passenger frame rail but there were many 58's that had the number also stamped on the drivers side frame rail. Was not seen as the steering gear box obscured seeing it.

                      Tanx
                      Fuz
                      58's&64's
                      Sun Prairie, Wi.

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                      • #26
                        I have heard of the vin numbers being stamped into the plate next to the driver seat. This came up because I have a 58 body that I cannot find a vin number stamped into the body anywhere so far. Still have to body. The data plate on the drivers door pillar was gone when I got the parts car.

                        Would luv to see pics of the vin stamped into the plate next to the driver seat and the one under the drivers seat. Would hope to include these in the next VTCI squarebird rules/production info.

                        Fuz
                        58's&64's
                        Sun Prairie, Wi.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by tmjsong1aolcom View Post
                          I have heard of the vin numbers being stamped into the plate next to the driver seat. This came up because I have a 58 body that I cannot find a vin number stamped into the body anywhere so far. Still have to body. The data plate on the drivers door pillar was gone when I got the parts car.

                          Would luv to see pics of the vin stamped into the plate next to the driver seat and the one under the drivers seat. Would hope to include these in the next VTCI squarebird rules/production info.

                          Fuz
                          58's&64's
                          Sun Prairie, Wi.
                          Fuz: As noted in post 27, both Mike and I found them under the passenger seat in the '60 Gold Top and His Hardtop .So could be on either side if at all . As for the '58 , never saw them in my convertible and parts car. Only on the right side frame member as shown in Dave's illustration .

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                          • #28
                            Squarebird Production Info

                            I took the liberty of passing on what has been posted regarding finding these VIN plates in 1960 Squarebirds in places we did not know about, on to "Fuz" and Alan Tast. You see "Furz" has responded here in this thread, and Alan replied to me in email and gave me permission to post what he said to me. Note that in my phone conversation I just had with him, he states that he has known these VIN plates being placed where they are being found in the 1960 Squarebirds only. Regardless of the model. He said they were placed in ALL 1960 Squarebirds, not just the Golde Tops. However, he has never found any in 1958 or 1959 Squarebirds. It is probably something that was initiated after the 1959 and prior to the 1960 Squarebird production runs (and I gather, ALL Ford & other makes of cars). I gather that this is something that had been discussed between major auto manufacturers and national law enforcement forces to put into effect, in 1960, in ALL cars being manufactured, as a means of further identification methods. Below is what he said and also what he explains as to why these should be found in every 1960 Squarebird ever made!

                            "Ray: The VIN plate screwed to the floor pan under the front passenger seat was used for all '60 T-birds and was regarded as one of the "hidden" places used by law enforcement to help ID a car that had its data plate or "visible" numbers altered or removed. This is regardless of whether the body were sent to ASC for the sunroof installation. It's not a sunroof-only thing.

                            When we assembled VTCI's '58-'60 OFS manual over 13 years ago I may have neglected to include information on this ID location, but if memory serves me correctly it's been discussed over the years in other places, and I've know about it since the late '80s. Someone out there with connections to law enforcement and vehicle theft recovery/identification documents may be able to source literature that points out where inspectors can find "hidden" VINs for a specific year/model of car and point out where other "hidden" numbers can be found on a car's body or frame, such as somewhere in the rear understructure or some other obscure part of the body.

                            Alan H. Tast, AIA, LEED AP
                            Technical Director, Vintage Thunderbird Club Int'l.
                            http://www.vintagethunderbirdclub.net
                            Author, "Thunderbird 1955-1966" & "Thunderbird 50 Years"
                            Last edited by YellowRose; November 23rd, 2019, 01:36 AM.

                            Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
                            The Terminator..... VTCI #11178
                            Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or Call (Cell) 210-875-1411

                            https://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

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                            • #29
                              1960 floor vin plate

                              The passenger floor plate with the vin # on my 1960 (0Y71Y119158). The plates are on both sides. They were filler plates between the seat box rails and rocker. They keep the carpeting from being pushed down into the gap between the seat box rails. They are formed so there is a right and left plate. Had to be vin # stamped before being fastened to floor with two #8 short sms. I added the vin# in yellow....

                              Mike
                              Attached Files

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                              • #30
                                Mike,

                                Thanks for posting the pics. Mine was on the driver side. I guess there was no rhyme or reason which side the plate with the VIN was put on.

                                John
                                John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

                                Thunderbird Registry #36223
                                jopizz@squarebirds.org 856-779-9695

                                https://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

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